Over 36,000 prisoners are allowed to own videogame consoles in the UK. According to The Independent, this accounts for one third of all the prisoners in England and Wales. Junior justice minister Crispin Blunt emphasized that no public money had been used to purchase consoles or games since 2008. The privilege is part of an incentives program to encourage good behavior from inmates.
However, it’s not clear how many of the 36,202 eligible prisoners actually own consoles. “To establish how many of those eligible actually had a games console of their own would necessitate asking each prisoner individually at disproportionate cost,” explained Blunt. “Since July 23,2008, no public funds have been used to purchase games consoles for adult prisoners. They must be purchased by the prisoner or his/her family or friends.”
Above: We don't think these guys would qualify for the good behavior privileges
News of prisoner privileges didn't sit well with Member of Parliament Philip Davies. “It’s just further evidence that prisons resemble more of a holiday camp than a place of punishment,” said Davies. “When people reflect on the reasons that inmates are in prison they will be appalled that prisoners are allowed to do this kind of thing. Prison should be a punishment for committing either serious or persistent offences. Most people will conclude that prison has completely lost sight of what its purpose is – punishing or even rehabilitating people.”
A 2008 audit revealed that 12,948 game consoles were purchased for use in prisons with taxpayers’ money. The cost of the consoles and games totaled £221,726. In 2009, it was revealed that over 4,000 prisoners had satellite TVs in their cells. Under the current incentives program, 83,017 prisoners are also allowed to rent televisions for their cells as a reward for good behavior.
Source: The Independent
Nov 10, 2010