By Ian Dipple Thursday 24 October 2013 Updated: 25/10 07:54
A PURGE on prisoners’ perks has been pledged by the Justice Secretary on a visit to Redditch.
Chris Grayling said some of the privileges prisoners enjoyed people would look at and think were “not quite right” and would be scrapped.
They include an end to Sky television subscriptions, games consoles in youth offenders institutes, allowing violent DVDs to be watched in prisons and from next month prisoners will have to earn the right to wear their own clothes. Mr Grayling said that meant more than just behaving but being actively involved in training or work inside prison.
Speaking during a question and answer session with students at NEW College in Redditch last Thursday (October 17), Mr Grayling also branded overcrowding figures “nonsense”. He said it was not unreasonable to ask two people to share a cell.
“My view is it’s a prison it’s not meant to be comfortable,” he said.
“The environment is purely humane it’s not like in some European countries who have ten people sharing a cell, it’s a totally different ball game.”
He said there was a renewed focus on cutting re-offending rates including making it easier to prepare and support people on their release by moving them to a prison closer to their home towards the end of their sentence.
“There is some good work being done but it’s not nearly good enough,” he said.
“No one is even asking have you got anywhere to live and that’s got to change.”
He added: “There are some Mr Bigs in our prisons but also some people whose lives have gone off the rails because of a lousy upbringing and we need to try and help them turn it around.”
Afterwards Mr Grayling told the Standard they were working hard to improve standards at HMP Hewell after a report by HM Inspectorate of Prisons branded it ‘dirty, dangerous and drug ridden’ highlighting the fact prisoners felt it was easy to get drugs and alcohol into the Tardebigge based prison.
“It’s a constant battle for us both with drugs and mobile phones, some of the new mobile phone products are so small they are easy to conceal and the problem with drugs is a constant struggle we are working on,” Mr Grayling said.
“Every time we get the inspectorate raising concerns we will always look at how we can tighten up our systems and we are looking at all kinds of ways to make those improvements.”
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