18/10/2006

Prisoners 'paid to play Scrabble'

Violent prisoners in British prisons are being paid to participate in activities such as playing Scrabble, learning guitar and looking after fish tanks, it has emerged.

The schemes, which are used at prisons such as Whitemoor in Cambridgeshire and Wakefield prison in Yorkshire, enable prisoners to earn credits through the participation in such "constructive activities."

The credits, which are obtained by completing at least 30 minutes of such activities, can then be used to obtain personal items such as toiletries and tobacco.

Other activities through which prisoners can earn credits include playing ping-pong and other sports, going to the gym or library, cleaning, attending classes or visiting a psychologist.

The scheme was revealed in a report by the Chief Inspector of Prisons, Anne Owers on jail segregation.

Ms Owers said: "This was a positive initiative that places a degree of responsibility on prisoners to structure their day and to sustain a pattern of constructive activity."

(KMcA/EF)


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