3 Apr 2009 11:17:41

Mark Pritchard: Let prisoners pay for their lodgings

Markpritchard95 MP for The Wrekin Mark Pritchard had an interesting suggestion at questions to the Solicitor-General yesterday:

"But is it not the case that for every crime committed, all of society suffers? In particular, there is the huge cost of feeding, housing and guarding criminals. Will the Solicitor-General consider extending or perhaps reviewing existing legislation to ensure that wealthier criminals actually pay for their time when they are in prison?

The Solicitor-General: That is a very interesting point and I shall spend a lot of time dwelling on it over Easter, although it is not actually the responsibility of my department."

Mr Pritchard later added:

"This is not a pay if you go scheme – but a ‘Pay If You Stay Scheme’. Perhaps if more criminals, who could pay, did pay, then the added deterrent might reduce re-offending rates and reduce the burden on hard-pressed taxpayers."

He also said that there needs to be a root and branch review of how society pays for criminal justice to "improve the link between the criminal and the overall costs of their crimes". Growing white collar crime, Mr Pritchard argued, means that contributions from prisoners could be re-channelled to pay for the education and rehabilitation of other inmates.

This is excellent creative thinking.

Tom Greeves