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Naked protest for prisoners near Eccleshall?

By Kerry.Ashdown  |  Posted: July 05, 2014

Drake Hall Prison sign

1188853-X3_020205-Drake Hall Prison-01

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The HMP Drake Hall inmate, who has not been named, spoke out this month against the changes to incentives and earned privileges (IEP) brought in by the Ministry of Justice in November 2013.

These include the restriction of items sent in to prisoners by their family or friends, although governors can allow a one-off parcel of clothes to be sent or handed in following conviction.

Female prisoners are permitted to wear their own clothes in jail, as are male inmates who have earned the right through good behaviour, helping others and working towards their rehabilitation.

But the women are restricted in how much clothing they can have while behind bars. Regulations include limits of seven bras, 14 pieces of other underwear, 10 pairs of socks or tights, 13 tops, nine bottoms, three pairs of shoes and one coat.

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Concerns have been raised that if their own clothes wear out, inmates will have to rely on a limited supply of prison-issue clothes and bedding.

In a letter, titled HMP Commando, to this month’s edition of prison newspaper Inside Time, a Drake Hall inmate said: “Can anyone tell me how much extra the prison service has had to pay for prison clothing, footwear, underwear and bedding since the new policies regarding hand-ins and IEP status were implemented?

“And how are prison workshops managing to increase production of these items to meet the higher demand? Or are prisons simply telling inmates to go without as stocks have been used up?

“Perhaps we should have a 'day of protest' where we all walk around naked?”

A Ministry of Justice spokeswoman said the department had not heard of any plans for such a protest.

The IEP scheme was launched in 1995 to allow prisoners to earn extra privileges through good behaviour and doing work or constructive activities. In 2012 a full review – the first in a decade – was ordered, to address re-offending issues and boost public confidence in the scheme.

Other new measures introduced last year include the banning of 18 certificate DVDs and subscription channels from all prisons and TVs being turned off at times when prisoners should be working or involved in other productive pursuits.

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