Call to make ex-addicts magistrates
Herts and Essex Observer 17 DEC 2013
select for full details Former drug addicts should be appointed lay magistrates to sit in specialist courts dealing with substance abuse-related crimes, a think tank said.

Policy Exchange said the experiences of individuals who had turned their lives around could not be put to good use because of a ban on ex-offenders.

It also called for magistrates to be forced to step down after ten years in a bid to reduce the average age of a group which remained "overwhelmingly white, middle class and old".

An expansion in the number of "problem solving courts" dealing with drug addiction, alcoholism and mental health would form part of a reform agenda published next month, the think tank said.

They would provide a "personalised approach" for non-violent minor offenders - seeing them regularly to check on compliance with drug treatment, alcohol monitoring and community service requirements.

And allowing ex-addicts who had become "respected role models" by not offending for five years and carrying out voluntary work or other public service to sit in the courts would make them more effective.

Under the present rules, criminal convections including minor traffic offences are a bar to becoming a lay magistrate, potentially included crimes committed by a would-be candidate's partner.

Among other reform proposals are ending the default of magistrates serving to the age of 70 in favour of a 10-year maximum term to " inject greater innovation and dynamism into the courts system".

Max Chambers, the head of crime and justice at Policy Exchange, said: "Magistrates could be the key to making it happen. They've been the pillars of our communities since their creation 650 years ago, but in today's world whether you're allowed to become a magistrate has got to be about more than whether you move in the same social circles as other magistrates.

Doors close at Dorchester prison for final time
Dorset Echo 18 DEC 2013
select for full details THE DOORS of HMP Dorchester have officially closed.

It was with ‘heavy hearts’ that hundreds gathered yesterday in North Square to mark a ‘sad day’ in the history of the county town.

Staff members joined former workers and a host of local dignitaries as the prison’s flag was lowered for the last time

They were reassured that the closure had ‘nothing to do’ with the performance of the prison, which is one of four to be axed across England.

Governor Carole Draper said staff should be proud of their achievements and leave HMP Dorchester with their ‘heads held high’.

She said there would never be a good time for the closure but was grateful it ‘came at a time when other alternatives were available for staff’.

She added: “Dorchester was a high-performing jail and the decision to close had absolutely nothing to do with its performance.

“The decision was made at a time when other alternatives were available for the staff and an awful lot of them have stayed within the prison service. That means that all of their skills and expertise has been retained.”

She said she was touched that so many people had come to the public closing ceremony, which followed a private service for staff.

She said: “This is a significant day in the history of Dorchester.

“The jail has been part of the town for many, many centuries and now staff will never take the walk up to North Square again.”

It is believed that 90 percent of staff have been allocated other jobs while 10 percent have taken voluntary redundancy.

In a statement read out on behalf of staff they said their time at Dorchester would ‘always be in our hearts’ and they were proud to work in a prison where ‘people can be appreciated for who they are, not what they have been convicted of’.

Dorchester became the county town of Dorset due the jail.

Dorchester Mayor Stella Jones said the date of the first prison – 1305 – is ‘so important’ that it is featured on the mayor’s badge.

She added: “Dorchester prison has been at the heart of Dorchester.

“The people welcomed the prison here and the people who worked in the prison were part of the community. It is a sad day when we no longer see them walking to North Square to do their jobs.”

After the lowering of the flag, the procession travelled to the town pump, where town crier Alistair Chisholm gave the last ‘Oh ye!’ for HMP Dorchester.

Dundee may send excluded pupils to prison
Jamie Beatson 16 DEC 2013
select for full details UNRULY children at schools in a Scottish city could be sent to a maximum security prison in an attempt to “scare them straight”, education bosses have revealed.

Dundee City Council’s education convener said the authority was “very concerned” by new figures that reveal it has the worst exclusion rate in the country.

In the city, 96 children in every 1,000 were excluded from lessons in 2012-13. That is almost double the second worst performing area – Aberdeen City Council’s 54 per 1,000 – and nearly three times the national average of 33 per 1,000.

Now council chiefs say they could implement a programme piloted in one Fife school that sees excluded pupils taken to maximum security Perth Prison – which houses murderers, drug addicts and other violent offenders – in an attempt to get the schoolchildren back on the rails.

Dundee City Council has launched a three-year, £1 million “Inclusion Plus” programme at four secondary schools in the city in an attempt to prevent exclusions.

And education chiefs say the scheme may take the next step of sending schoolchildren on trips to the Perth jail.

Stewart Hunter, Dundee City Council’s education convenor, said: “Inclusion Plus have taken kids to Perth Prison and said, ‘You don’t want to end up here’.

“They are just trying to identify issues with the kids, find out why they are misbehaving all the time and find out what can be done to turn them around.”

Dundee had 1,661 exclusions in the 2012-13 period. Across Scotland, there were 21,936 for the year. Almost a third involved either violence or a threat of violence, including the use of weapons or threat of sexual attacks.

Mr Hunter added: “We are very concerned about it. Any time there are exclusion cases there is a disruption for the pupil themselves. If they are not at school, they are not learning.

“There is concern for the pupils in class because if you have got a group of pupils that causes disruption to the teachers, that causes disruption to the kids.”

The programme proposal comes after a pilot scheme at Dunfermline High School which saw at-risk pupils taken to Cornton Vale and Perth Prison

French border chief says UK 'a magnet for illegal immigrants'
James Legge 17 DEC 2013
select for full details Philippe Mignonet, the French port town's deputy mayor, claimed up to 40 migrants a night were getting through to the UK, despite the UK and French border agencies' efforts to stop them.

He also accused Britain of hypocrisy for talking tough on immigration whilst allowing migrants to stay in the country, and called for border controls - a fundamentally "British problem" - to be transferred from Calais to Dover.

He told the Daily Telegraph: "The quickest, most radical and easiest solution would be simply to shift the border from Calais to Dover and Folkestone and then the problem wouldn't be handled in France but Britain.

"The ease with which illegal immigrants can work on the black market in Britain, coupled with the fact that migrants' family members can more easily join them, means that Britain is a magnet for illegal immigrants."

French interior minister Manuel Valls last week pledged police reinforcements for Calais, where many migrants make or attempt the Channel crossing, to deal with migrants.

He also said he had invited Home Secretary Theresa May to visit the town next year to renegotiate an arrangement under which Britain pays towards the policing of migrants in Calais, with British police and border officials operating on the French side of the Channel.

The Public Accounts Committee last week charged the Border Agency with failing to meet eight of its 19 performance targets.

A decision to prioritise passenger checks last year meant that illegal immigrant checks on freight had been suspended, the committee said.

Committee chairwoman Margaret Hodge said: "The Border Force prioritised passenger checks on arrival at the expense of other duties and weakened the security of our borders.

"The force neglected to examine freight for illicit goods, neglected to check lorries in Calais for concealed illegal entrants, and failed to check passengers coming into Britain on private planes or boats, potentially letting billionaire gangsters off the hook."

Transexual murderer moved from women's prison
Daily Star 18 DEC 2013
select for full details Paris Green was convicted for a vicious torture kiling just five weeks ago.

The 22-year-old, who used to be known as Peter Laing, was transferred from Cornton Vale prison, Scotland, after claims he was sleeping with other cons, reported the Daily Record.

Green has been moved to Saughton prison in Edinburgh.

He was allowed to go to a women’s prison as he was waiting for a sex change operation on the NHS.

A Scottish Prisons Service source told The Daily Record: “Every word that comes out of his mouth is filth. He’s disgusting

“It was claimed that there were ­inappropriate incidents with women in ­Cornton Vale. This was put to the prisoner and then there was a transfer agreed.”

A second source added: “He was warned several times about his behaviour.”

Green was convicted after torturing Robert Shankland to death following a disagreement about a bag of chips.

Green, with Kevin McDonagh, 23, and Dean Smith, 20, kicked him, battered him, tied him up and tied a plastic bag over his head.

They were each sentenced to at least 18 years in jail after what was described by the judge at Glasgow’s High Court as a “gruesome” and “depraved” murder.

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Will prison video chat one day replace family visits?
BBC NEWS 17 DEC 2013
We've all heard about making a phone call from jail, but what about a video call? Similar to Skype, video visitation allows inmates to see their friends and family while they talk.

Prisons and jails in the United States are increasingly adopting the technology, but there are significant concerns about the cost to inmates' families and fears video chat will eventually lead to the elimination of in-person visits.

The BBC's Laura Trevelyan travelled to Portsmouth, Virginia to see how it works.

Produced by Ted Metzger; filmed by Allen McGreevy; edited by Bill McKenna

Living Online is a series of video features published every Tuesday on the BBC News website which look at how technology converges with culture and all aspects of our daily lives.

Prison Efforts To Cut Re-Offending 'Not Working'
SKY NEWS 17 DEC 2013
Efforts made by prisons in England and Wales to cut re-offending are not working, according to an inspection report.

The damning report also claims the majority of prison staff do not understand what is required to meet the targets set under the Government proposals.

select for full details A study of 21 prisons by Liz Calderbank, chief inspector of probation, and Nick Hardwick, chief inspector of prisons, found little progress has been made in offender management and a fundamental review is needed.

It comes as the Government rolls out its Transforming Rehabilitation reforms, including plans for a nationwide "through the prison gate" resettlement service, which would see most offenders given continuous support by one provider from custody into the community.

In a joint statement, the chief inspectors said: "We have come to the reluctant conclusion that the offender management model, however laudable its aspirations, is not working in prisons.

"The majority of prison staff do not understand it and the community-based offender managers, who largely do, have neither the involvement in the process or the internal knowledge of the institutions to make it work.

"It is more complex than many prisoners need and more costly to run than most prisons can afford."

They said the pressures facing the Prison Service mean it would be unlikely to deliver future National Offender Management Service (NOMS) expectations.

"We therefore believe that the current position is no longer sustainable and should be subject to fundamental review."

Offender management involves the assessment, planning and implementation of work with offenders in the community or in custody to address the likelihood of them reoffending and the risk of harm they pose to the public.

Community-based offender managers and staff in prison Offender Management Units have joint responsibility for work with prisoners to address the attitudes, behaviour and lifestyle behind their offending.

The inspectors found organisational changes to offender management units failed to address a culture of poor communication or mistrust between prison departments.

It is the third report to be published from the joint Prisoner Offender Management Inspection programme and draws on findings from inspections undertaken between April 2012 and March 2013.

Juliet Lyon, director of the Prison Reform Trust, said: "When two highly respected independent chief inspectors of prisons and probation reveal evidence of failures in offender management across 21 prisons and seek a fundamental review, this

Two charged over Twitter ‘abuse’
Joe Curtis 17 DEC 2013
select for full details Man and woman charged over apparently offensive tweets sent to feminist.

A man and woman have been charged over allegedly abusive tweets sent to feminist campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez.

John Nimmon, 25, from South Shields, and Isabella Sorley, a 23-year-old from Newcastle, were charged with improper use of a communications network and will appear in court on January 7, according to the Crown Prosecution Service.

Criado-Perez claimed she suffered abuse on the social network site after her successful campaign to have a woman featured on a banknote, which culminated in the Bank of England stating that Regency era author Jane Austen will appear on the £10 note, likely from 2017.

The CPS had consulted police over charging five suspects who are alleged to have sent offensive tweets to Criado-Perez and MP Stella Creasy.

The evidence on one suspect was not believed to be enough to charge them with, while mitigating circumstances including young age and personal circumstances ruled out charging another, said the CPS.

A fifth suspect will face further police investigation before a decision on charging them can be made, it added.

Let criminals 'become JPs'
select for full details Steve Doughty 17 DEC 2013
Criminals should be allowed to sit as justices of the peace for the first time in more than 700 years, a prominent think tank said yesterday.

They should win the right to apply to become magistrates five years after committing their last crime, according to the centre-right Policy Exchange group.

The organisation, which has close links to David Cameron, said that appointing former offenders would ‘overhaul’ the magistrates’ courts which deal with 19 out of every 20 criminal cases

More than half of all JPs are over 60 and the magistracy is ‘overwhelmingly white, middle class and old’, a report by the think tank said.

It also recommended that, to help with the turnover of JPs, no magistrate should serve for more than 10 years. This will ‘inject greater innovation and dynamism into the courts system’, the Policy Exchange said.

The scheme would sweep away the rule which since the reign of Edward l has insisted that magistrates must be ‘good and lawful men’.

But critics said that opening the criminal bench to recent offenders would undermine trust in the honesty of magistrates and introduce the possibility of criminal sentencing motivated by corruption or revenge.

Magistrates have wide powers to set fines and community punishments and to hand down shorter prison sentences. They regularly deal with offences such as burglary and they can impose maximum jail terms of six months.

But Policy Exchange said former offenders would be especially well-suited to working in the ‘problem-solving’ specialist drug courts set up under the last Labour government, because they will understand ‘complex issues faced by those with addictions and mental health problems.’

The report said that ‘there needs to be an overhaul of the magistracy, which presides over more than 90 per cent of criminal cases. This should be driven by the involvement of ex-offenders who have turned away from crime and become respected, positive role models in their communities

Police officer crashes patrol car into £250,000 Ferrari in U-turn fail
M E T R O   10 DEC 2013
select for full details Police car crashes into £250,000 Ferrari

You might have thought a bright yellow Ferrari would be hard to miss – particularly for someone with a line in detective work.

But it proved too much for one police officer, who crashed his patrol vehicle into a £250,000 supercar while attempting a U-turn on Edgware Road, west London.

He was estimated to have caused about £2,500 damage after failing to notice the 458 Spider reversing, according to onlookers.

One said: ‘I have been filming supercars for many years around Europe but it’s the first time I have seen an unfortunate incident like this involving the police. It created quite a scene.

‘It was an amazing combination of a supercar involved in a crash with the police.’

The police car reverses, taking part of the supercar’s bumper with it (Picture: YouTube)

Footage of the aftermath of the embarrassing accident shows the silver BMW police car having locked bumpers with the back of the Ferrari.

As the officer reverses, a chunk of the supercar’s bodywork is torn off.

Now thousands have watched the mishap after witnesses uploaded videos to the internet.

One YouTube viewer wrote: ‘Kill your speed, not a Ferrari!’

The Metropolitan Police confirmed there was an incident on Sunday but said no arrests had been made

Transsexual PC's case against Essex Police rejected
BBC NEWS 16 DEC 2013
select for full details An employment tribunal has rejected claims of harassment and discrimination by a transsexual police officer, the BBC has learned.

PC Emma Chapman complained she had to "out" herself over a police radio system when working for Essex Police.

But the tribunal said her reaction had been "extreme" and she had been "unreasonably prone to take offence".

PC Chapman, 44, was born male and underwent gender reassignment surgery 14 years ago.

BBC home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw said the case brought against Essex Police was thought to be the first of its kind.

PC Chapman underwent gender reassignment while serving as a volunteer officer with Essex Police in 1999.

Four years later she became a full-time constable and now works on the force's response team. It is thought she is the only transgender officer in the force.

'Very distressed'

Legal documents seen earlier this year by the BBC showed her claim centred on three incidents when she had to speak to the police force's control room via her radio handset.

PC Chapman said that on the first occasion, in October 2012, the operator did not believe who she was, saying she had a "male voice".

She then replied that she was a transsexual.

PC Chapman said she was left feeling "very distressed" that she had been forced to "out" herself over a radio channel that was listened to by hundreds of officers and staff.

She reported what had happened, but claimed Essex Police failed to carry out a full investigation and interview the control room operator.

Two further incidents occurred in June 2013 when the officer was again challenged by control room staff who questioned her identity, according to legal papers.

Sussex Police set to employ 60 PCSOs
West Sussex County Times 11 DEC 2013
select for full details Sussex Police is accepting applications for 60 police community support officers (PCSOs) from Wednesday (December 11).

The search for the new officers starts as Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne reinforces her pledge to increase the visibility of frontline policing in Sussex.

It is hoped that the recruitment drive will see the new recruits join the Force by the summer of 2014 - providing the vital link between the police and the communities throughout Sussex.

Katy said: “I am very pleased to see recruitment open for 60 PCSOs, which will maintain the number of visible frontline officers in Sussex.

“PCSOs are the heart of neighbourhood policing teams and residents constantly tell me they value these officers in their communities. PCSOs work closely with local authorities, the business community and Neighbourhood Watch to ensure local issues are tackled effectively and knowledge and best practice is shared.

“I hope this opportunity attracts applicants from a wide range of backgrounds who want to make a difference in the communities they serve. It is important that PCSOs reflect the diversity of our local communities so that Sussex Police can continue to improve its policing response.”

Joining one of the Force’s neighbourhood teams, the new PCSOs will be the face of local policing. Patrolling on foot or by bicycle, they’ll fulfil a number of important roles - from dealing with low-level nuisance and anti-social behaviour, to forging links with the public and businesses. Providing reliable support to frontline police, they’ll help to reduce crime and reduce the fear of crime.

They’ll have the authority to remove vehicles and issue fixed penalty tickets, and to conduct other duties that do not require the powers of a police officer, such as directing traffic and guarding crime scenes.

select for full details Friends star backs ex-offenders to sit as magistrates
Richard Ford Home Correspondent
Published at 12:01AM, December 17 2013

Former offenders should be allowed to sit as magistrates in specialised courts dealing with drug and alcohol-related crimes, according to a paper published by a think-tank today.

The plan is aimed at revitalising the system by giving younger people more opportunity to join the bench and inject dynamism into the courts system.

It would be a huge change to the criminal justice system as current .......

My prison officer Grandad never forgave himself
Tom Parry 18 DEC 2013
select for full details Mirror reporter Tom Parry on how his grandfather predicted the fugitive would eventually come scuttling back to Britain for free healthcare

My grandfather John Taylor was one of the four prison officers on duty in the yard when Ronnie Biggs escaped from Wandsworth jail in 1965.

On that day Biggs, 35, got out by scaling a 30ft wall with three other prisoners when a rope ladder was thrown over from the outside during the afternoon exercise session.

The escapees lowered themselves into a waiting van on the other side.

A proud man, Grandad was embarrassed to be called to give evidence at Lord Mountbatten’s inquiry.

Like his fellow wardens, he was not at fault.

Scores of prisoners got in the way to prevent the warders intervening.

But the scandal prevented further promotion, and while Biggs enjoyed a life of exiled luxury in Brazil, Grandad was bitter

After retiring to the Midlands, I remember him bristling every time the myth of Biggs and his crew as folk heroes gained momentum.

He had known Biggs before the Great Train Robbery when the South London thug was in and out of jail.

Of one thing he was sure.

“You wait,” he would say. “When he gets old and grey, he’ll be back. You don’t get hospital care paid for in Brazil.”

He was right.

Granddad had to sell his house to live in a retirement home before his death.

Biggs had his fees at a care home in Barnet paid for by the state.

Volunteer PCSOs welcomed into force by Lincolnshire police and crime commissioner Alan Hardwick
Lincolnshire Echo 12 DEC 2013
select for full details The first Volunteer Police Community Support Officers (VPCSO) in the country have been welcomed into 'the Lincolnshire Police family' by police and crime commissioner Alan Hardwick.

Twelve volunteers will work alongside PCSO mentors as they work towards becoming VPCSOs and help the force police an area of more than 2,000 square miles.

During a ceremony at police headquarters in Nettleham, Mr Hardwick said he had every confidence that the scheme would work and that it was not policing on the cheap.

"This is not a new idea but nobody has ever brought that idea to fruition," said Mr Hardwick.

"They are the first of what I hope will be maybe as many as a couple of hundred volunteer PCSOs within the next two years.

"The scheme is being watched very closely by government and other police forces. I have absolutely no doubt that when it is a success other forces will decide to recruit their own VPCSOs.

"It is not policing on the cheap. These people will enhance the policing of the county and are not replacing anyone. They are in addition to the warranted officers and special constables that we have."

Mr Hardwick went on to say that the volunteers, although not paid employees, will be getting something in return.

"We will be benefiting from having volunteers but it is important that they get something out of the experience too," he said.

"It is a case of what is in it for them and that will vary for each volunteer.

"Some will be looking to help communities and offer support while some will be looking to build a CV.

"We will help them with that.

"I am immensely proud. I am proud that Lincolnshire is a force that has always punched above its weight and that we are going to be the first force to have VPCSOs."

VPCSOs will have the same powers of PCSOs and the initial twelve volunteers will start their training in February.

It is estimated that the cost of training and kitting out a VPCSO will be around £1,200 and police bosses say that investment will be repaid within 10 months with the hours they will patrol the streets.

One of the volunteers, student Lilly Collins, said she signed up for work experience.

"I am studying forensic science and I really wanted to get some hands on work experience," said the 19-year-old.

Police loaned Lotus for drink driving campaign
Police officers in the region have a new weapon in the fight against drink driving this Christmas.

The Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire forces are being loaned a Lotus Battenberg Evora sports car, in full Police livery, to help reinforce their campaign to promote safer driving.

Throughout December officers will be stopping and breathalysing as many drivers as possible.

I T V   9 DEC 2013

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Bristol's 'drunk tank' open for festive season
BBC NEWS 12 DEC 2013
select for full details Drunks considered a danger to themselves will be able to sober up and receive medical treatment at a secret location in Bristol.

It is hoped the 12-bed alcohol recovery centre (ARC) will help the emergency services by freeing up resources.

People in need of help will be taken to the "drunk tank" in a non emergency ambulance staffed by care assistants.

The centre, which opens on Friday, will initially operate just over the festive season.

'Not a hotel'

It is hoped the facility, staffed by three paramedics and three support staff, could eventually be rolled out on a more permanent basis.

The scheme, which is funded by the NHS, is run as a multi-agency partnership with police, the ambulance service, health organisations and the National Licensed Trade Association.

Peter Brown, from South Western Ambulance Service said: "The idea is to free up ambulance crews, hospital beds and police time by providing somewhere for people to go where they can be looked after," he said.

"The ARC is not a hotel or a B&B - you cannot check in for the night.

"This is really a place of safety until we can get somebody back to a position where they can look after themselves or indeed there is a relative or friend who can look after them," he added.

Efforts to cut reoffending 'not working'
BBC NEWS 17 DEC 2013
select for full details Efforts to stop prisoners reoffending are "not working" and should be the subject of a major policy review, two senior inspectors have said.

A joint report by the chief inspectors of prisons and probation said the lack of progress on offender management in England and Wales was "concerning".

It said its findings from 21 prisons cast doubt on the Prison Service's ability to deliver required standards.

Justice minister Jeremy Wright said "ambitious" reforms were under way.

The inspectors recommended a fundamental review by the chief executive of the National Offender Management Service (NOMS), which commissions and provides services for the Ministry of Justice.

Chief Inspector of Probation Liz Calderbank and Chief Inspector of Prisons Nick Hardwick said they had reached the reluctant conclusion that offender management in prisons was failing.

'No longer sustainable'

"The majority of prison staff do not understand it and the community-based offender managers, who largely do, have neither the involvement in the process or the internal knowledge of the institutions to make it work," they said.

"It is more complex than many prisoners need and more costly to run than most prisons can afford."

Offender management involves the assessment, planning and implementation of work with offenders in the community or in custody to address the likelihood of them reoffending and the risk of harm they pose to the public.

Community-based offender managers and staff in prison offender management units have joint responsibility for work with prisoners to address the attitudes, behaviour and lifestyle behind their offending.

The Prison Service is required to make changes under the government's Transforming Rehabilitation strategy, which includes an extension of "through the gate" help where most offenders should be supported by one service provider as they move from prison to the outside world.

But the inspectors said they doubted whether the Prison Service could meet these and other NOMS expectations.

select for full details

Coroner calls for review after Cumbrian rapist killed in prison
News & Star 16 DEC 2013
A coroner has called for the prison service to review the way it shares information after a Cumbrian inmate was killed by two prisoners.

Mitchell Harrison was butchered by two other men, one of whom had written graphic descriptions in a diary discovered by prison staff, and in a letter had said he planned to commit the ‘goriest killings ever’ to force a move to a segregated wing.

Harrison, who lived in Cockermouth and Whitehaven, died when Nathan Mann and Michael Parr hacked him to death on October 1, 2011.

He was jailed in 2009 for raping a schoolgirl in south Cumbria.

At the end of the inquest, coroner Andrew Tweddle said he had ‘major concerns’ over the way information about Mann had been shared prior to the attack.

He said: “I suggest the prison service carry out a further review to ensure the best information is given to the right people at the right time.

“It might not have made a difference here but it might on another occasion.”

The hearing was told that Mann felt he had ‘nothing to lose’ as he would not be eligible for parole for more than 20 years.

He said: “I don’t have the guts to kill myself but I do have the guts to kill someone else.”

Mann’s claims had been reported to Durham’s prison security department but were not disclosed to the officers on C wing where the two were housed, the hearing was told.

One officer told the coroner he wished he had known about Mann’s claims so he could have kept a closer eye on him.

The 11-strong inquest jury found that Harrison was unlawfully killed

Dorchester Prison waste scandal will be discussed by MPs
Emma Walker 16 DEC 2013
select for full details CONCERNS over the amount of taxpayers’ money wasted at Dorchester Prison have been taken to the top.

Members of the Prison Officers’ Association (POA) secured talks with MPs at Westminster Hall about the millions of pounds spent on the North Square jail ahead of its announced closure.

The doors of the prison will finally close tomorrow.

A total of £23m has been invested in the capital projects in the last 15 years, according to union official Mike Sear.

This included a new healthcare suite, gate complex including roof, windows and bars, a new gym, a refurbished chapel and reconditioned education block.

Dorchester is one of four prisons being closed in England to save money.

The Echo revealed in September that more than £7.3m has been wasted on refurbishing the prison in the last three years.

Mike Sear, of the Prison Officers’ Association, said: “My continuing concern is the waste of taxpayers’ money in closing the prison.

“Over the last 10 to 15 years about £23m has been invested in the establishment in capital projects.

“Far from being an old Victorian edifice the prison is essentially completely refurbished.

“We met various MPs, mainly from the Labour Party, to highlight our concerns over this and also about the increasing problem of overcrowding in the prison service which has been exacerbated by these closures.

“Sadly, no MPs from Dorset turned up and I doubt very much than anything will come of it but I’m glad we went.”

He added: “We needed to raise concerns and inform MPs about this situation.

“These closures are a misguided way of saving money and creating additional stress on the problem of overcrowding.”

He said that 90 per cent of staff at the prison had been allocated other jobs while 10 per cent, including Mr Sear, had taken voluntary redundancy

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