HC Deb 01 December 1997 vol 302 c58W
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the Prison Service's policy on the taking of books and magazines into prisons for inmates. [16181]

Ms Quin

The taking of books and magazines into prisons is covered by Prison Service policy on prisoners' property brought in on reception and visits, or sent in by post. Books or magazines of a category allowed by the local establishment may be handed in and then checked by the prison authorities before giving it to the prisoner. The Governor of each establishment has discretion to restrict the handing in of any property within the powers given by Prison Rules 41, 42 and 85 and Young Offender Institution Rules 45 and 69 (Copies available in the Library) to avoid, for example:

(a) undermining the incentive and earned privileges scheme; or

(b) compromising the security of establishments.

The Governor of each establishment has complete discretion over the handing in of property. If, for security reasons, a particular prison restricts the handing in of property which prisoners may normally have in their possession, facilities will be made for prisoners to purchase these items either through the prison shop or through approved mail order arrangements by suing their private cash and/or earnings.

It is planned to review existing policy on the handing in of prisoners' property during 1998–99.

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