A letter in the May issue of Inside Time recently asked how NOMS justified the value of the fines issued to prisoners for damaging prison property. In response NOMS said “The standard charge for a replacement TV is set at £57. When a TV is destroyed, regardless of age, a replacement is required which involves such costs”. So the prisoner would be charged the full £57 regardless of issues such as ‘wear and tear’.
That doesn’t sound too unreasonable. At least until you discover that the same principle does not apply to prisoner’s property that is lost or damaged by the prison service.
I personally know four different prisoners who have all had property lost, damaged or destroyed by prison staff in the past year and, in each case, when they have complained and asked for compensation, they have been offered between just 10% of the original cost to 20% of the cost of replacing the items at current prices. This is justified as ‘age’ and ‘wear and tear’!
If NOMS’ principle is that age and wear and tear have no bearing on damages for destruction of property, the full cost of replacement must be paid, then why is that principle only applied in one direction?