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Xbox and Sky TV perks for British prisoners axed by Chris Grayling

Sam Loveridge


Xbox 360 controller

Prisoners could have their access to game consoles like the Xbox 360 and to Sky television revoked as part of the Justice Secretary’s new regime for British jails.

Due to be announced in the next couple of months, Chris Grayling, the Justice Secretary, is finalising proposals for plans to make British prisons stricter, especially after right-wing criticisms.

Currently, British prisoners enjoy automatic access to entertainment options like games consoles, Sky TV and gym equipment. Under Grayling’s new plans though, prisoners may have to earn the right to enjoy such luxuries.

Inmates could be required to enrol in educational courses or work to earn good behaviour bonuses, allowing access to such desirable perks.

The news comes after the recent revelations that British taxpayers have forked out £8.3 million on gym equipment for prisons in four-and-a-half years since 2008/2009, with each jail housing more than £63,000 worth of kit.

“Every perk given to prisoners is an insult to their victims and an unacceptable cost to the taxpayer,” said MP Priti Patel, who discovered the shocking figures.

“Inmates should be given the chance to exercise, but taxpayers shouldn’t have to rob a bank to pay for it,” said Matthew Sinclair of the Taxpayers’ Alliance.

However, the removal of such perks could see prisoners forced to spend more time in their cells, which some prison governors believe could lead to increased tension among the inmates.

British jails are already suffering from overcrowding and budget cuts, so further changes could result in huge unrest in prisons.

“I think there is potentially a danger there could be a reaction from prisoners depending on how this is implemented,” said Peter McParlin, National Chairman of the Prison Officers’ Association.

Do you think British prisoners should be allowed access to such perks as videogames consoles and gyms? Give us your thoughts on the TrustedReviews Twitter and Facebook pages or the comments below.

Via: The Independent


April 15, 2013, 2:05 pm

I don't see why prisoners should have automatic access to things that many free people cannot afford to buy for themselves on the outside. It's a perversion of justice.

I don't object on principle to prisoners having access to perks, but they should have to earn that access through hard work and good behaviour. And that's apparently what the Justice Secretary is proposing. So good for him. It's not exactly a draconian return to Victorian prisons or mediaeval dungeons, is it?


April 15, 2013, 4:05 pm

I'm thoroughly against prisoners having perks like this readily available - prison should be a thoroughly miserable experience.

I am all for rewarding them for good behaviour and giving them access to such niceties for a period of time (but they have to keep performing well to continue getting the perk). In my view, if the soldiers out in Afghanistan can't readily get it then someone sitting in prison shouldn't either.

They are there because they broke the law in a way severe enough that they got put away - it shouldn't be enjoyable.

Matthew Salmon

April 16, 2013, 10:13 am

They should have access to old functional gym equipment and Freeview - and only based on showing long term good behaviour. Why on earth should they get premium things a lot of working people can't afford - its ridiculous


April 17, 2013, 12:53 am

Behaving well and attending courses, as ways to earn privileges, sounds like a great idea to me. I am surprised it is not that way already. It would teach the inmates the important relationship between sustained effort and reward, something that could be of benefit to them when they return to the community.


April 17, 2013, 1:14 pm

As usual, treat the criminals better than the victims.
Gym equipment? Really? Let them run around a yard if they want to excerise, do press ups in their cell.

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