For the first time, Governors will be able to impose “payback punishments” on prisoners who behave badly in jail, such as damaging prison property or being disrespectful to staff.

  • Community payback-style punishments to be imposed for the first time in prisons.
  • Repairs, cleaning and litter-picking among new penalties for bad behaviour.
  • Tougher penalties, including additional prison time, remain for more serious offences.

Prisoners who break the rules while behind bars face new community payback-style punishments like repair work and litter picking, under tough prison rules to be set out this week. 

Punishments will vary from prison to prison, but could include repairing broken items, clearing shared or disused spaces, and litter picking. Offenders who refuse to carry out their payback punishment could have their prison work earnings blocked or privileges forfeited.

These new powers will build on the action Governors can already take if an offender commits a crime while behind bars.

It will remain the case that in the most serious incidents, for example sexual assault or selling drugs, tougher prison punishments could be handed out. In these cases, the crime will be reported to the police and perpetrators face the prospect of new convictions and time behind bars.

Prisons and Probation Minister Ed Argar said:   

Discipline is the cornerstone of a prison that is safe for staff and where offenders are put on track to become law-abiding citizens. 

Unruly behaviour is not tolerated and these new punishments will help force prisoners to realise their disruptive actions have tough consequences.

These punishments are inspired by the community payback schemes running in communities up and down the country where offenders are forced to clean up graffiti or fly-tipping and visibly atone for their crimes.

Source: Ministry of JusticeHM Prison and Probation Service, and The Rt Hon Edward Argar MP

Photo credit: UK Gov


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