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Inmates to pay for damage to prison property from next month

NEW POLICY: Inmates who damage prison property will be made to foot the bill for repairs

INMATES WHO damage prison property will be made to foot the bill for repairs under a new policy that has been announced.

Justice secretary Chris Grayling said taxpayers have been made to pay for too long and "from now on, if you willfully break it you will pay for it."

The policy is to be introduced on November 1 and will cover jails and young offender institutions in England and Wales.

Governors from public sector prisons and directors from privately managed prisons will have the power to take money from prisoners’ accounts to cover the cost.

Prison accounts contain money sent from family and friends for things such as cigarettes or other treats. Money made from jobs inmates take on while in prison such as kitchen work or laundry is also paid into the account, according to the Ministry of Justice.

Under the new plans, if an offender is found guilty of an offence an adjudicator will impose an award to recover money. They will also be able to decide on an appropriate punishment for the offender.

The compensation will be for the damage caused up to a maximum of £2,000 unless there are circumstances to make a lesser award. Debts will last for a maximum of two years or until a prisoner’s sentence expiry date.

In 2012 there were 6,881 proven cases of willful damage in jails. Currently a prisoner makes no contribution to the repairs.

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said: "It is clearly not right that prisoners can willfully cause damage in prisons and not be held financially accountable.

"For too long the hard-working taxpayer has had to foot the bill for offenders' malicious acts, and this cannot continue."

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