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Deport foreign criminals more quickly, govt urged

Foreign nationals make up 13% of the total prison population, the PAC said. Credit: Reuters

A public spending watchdog has demanded action to speed up the Government's "frustratingly poor" record on removing from the UK foreign criminals who are costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of pounds.

Too many overseas inmates are still being locked up at public expense as the rate they are sent home has dropped by 14% over the past four years, the Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said.

The committee's chair, Labour MP Margaret Hodge, said: "While more than 1,000 foreign national offenders are deported each quarter, a similar number are convicted, so the overall number of foreign national prisoners stays at the same level of around 11,000 - 13% of the total prison population."

"The agency should work with the Home Office to understand why there are delays in removing foreign national offenders, and tackle the barriers to their removal."

Prison guitar ban questioned by MP

Guitar playing prisoners have been ordered to return their electric and steel-stringed guitars after the Government banned them.

Kevin Brennan, MP for Cardiff West and a guitarist, questioned why the coalition had ordered the return of the guitars despite the potential benefits of music and guitars in rehabilitating offenders.

Kevin Brennan has questioned the ban. Credit: PA Wire

Mr Brennan said: "I don't know about you but I'm quite a big fan of the late Johnny Cash who performed in prisons and Billy Bragg who started the initiative Jail Guitar Doors to provide guitars to those using musical instruments as a means of rehabilitation in prison.

"So why has the Government banned the use of most of these instruments by ordering prisoners to return steel-stringed and electric guitars?"

Responding to the query, Prisons Minister Jeremy Wright said the specific reasons of why the guitars were banned were beyond his level of expertise but said he would ensure the restrictions were appropriate.


'Public money wasted' on prisoners' property redress

Taxpayers' money is being wasted on compensating prisoners over damaged stereos and missing socks, a prison watchdog said, as it urged prison staff to accept responsibility for prisoners' property.

Nigel Newcomen, from the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (PPO), said:

Most property complaints concern small-value items, but these can still mean a lot to prisoners with little.

Unfortunately, too many of the issues involved could and should have been dealt with more quickly and efficiently by the prisons concerned.

Instead, despite perfectly sound national policies and instructions, prisons too often refuse to accept their responsibilities when property has been lost or damaged.

This leaves prisoners in limbo, creates unnecessary frustration and tension and leads to complaints, too many of which require independent adjudication.

Mr Newcomen added that using up "scarce staff resources" was not a good use of public money.

Prisoners compensated for 'damaged stereos'

Prisoners have been awarded compensation over damaged stereos and missing socks, a watchdog has revealed.

A prison watchdog have urged prison staff need to pay greater attention to prisoners' property to avoid complaints. Credit: PA Wire

Taxpayers' money is being wasted on redress paid to prisoners for lost or damaged property and called, The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (PPO) claimed, who urged prison staff need to pay greater attention to prisoners' property to avoid complaints.

Around 57 per cent of property-related complaints received in 2012/13 were upheld in favour of inmates.

Among the examples given by the PPO was the case of "Mr H" who received a compensation settlement and apology after complaining that his stereo was damaged as he was transferred between prisons.

Cameron vows to retain life sentences for murderers

David Cameron has promised to ensure murderers can be kept in jail for life amid suggestions that the Government could introduce 100-year-sentences.

The Prime Minister's comments follow a long-running confrontation with the European Court of Human Rights, which has declared life sentences in England illegal because they offer no "right to review".

Ministers believe they can sidestep the ruling by letting judges sentence for hundreds of years, the Telegraph has reported.


Inmate movie ban to end 'easy life' prison boasts

The Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has said privileges that allow prisoners to boast about their "easy life" are "not right and cannot continue".

For too long the public has seen prisoners spending their days languishing in their cells watching TV, using illegal mobile phones to taunt their victims on Facebook or boasting about their supposedly easy life in prisons.

This is not right and it cannot continue.

The changes we have made to the incentive scheme are not just about taking TVs away from prisoners, they are about making them work towards their rehabilitation.

– Justice Secretary Chris Grayling

Prisoners banned from watching 18-rated films

Movies with a certificate 18 rating have been banned from jails in England and Wales as part of a clampdown on perks behind bars brought into force today.

Prisoners are to be banned from watching violent and sexually explicit films. Credit: PA

Prisoners are to be banned from watching violent and sexually explicit films, such as Hostel and Reservoir Dogs, under changes to the Incentives and Earned Privileges (IEP) scheme.

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