Society Magazine

Chamber Pots and Sky Sports – £15,000,000 in Payouts for Prisoners

Posted on the 27 September 2011 by Minimumcover @minimumcover

There are aspects of life that are a right, and those that are a privilege. Freedom from torture, a right to privacy and the right to life are three such rights. A car, house, a big TV and money in your pocket are privileges. Despite it’s failings and its gross misrepresentation the European Convention of Human Rights protects these to some degree.

The Act has been used in many landmark cases over the years and now another is on the horizon.

Prisoners at HMP Parc in Bridgend are threatening legal action against the Prison and its chiefs over the fact that they only get one Sky Sports channel available in their cells. It has been confirmed by staff at the prison that prisoners get Sky Sports One in their cells as a reward for good behaviour. However, the lack of coverage of matches shown on the other Sky Sports channels has been cited by inmates as a breach of their Human Rights and, as such, will no doubt be the basis of a future case, funded by the taxpayer.

This case follows a successful appeal by Scottish prisoners which has allowed them to claim for being forced to use chamber pots in their cells at Barlinnie prison in Glasgow. Legislation was passed in 2009 meaning that three claims made five years after the original case in 2004 were barred for being made more than 12 months after the incident occurred. However, this month Scotland’s top judge, Lord Hamilton, ruled that they should still be able to claim under the ECHR despite their case being previously refused.

Chamber pots and Sky Sports – £15,000,000 in Payouts for Prisoners

The original payout in respect of the Scottish case was more than £11,000,000 and this ruling means a further 1,700 claims could be made with a total compensation payout of up to £3,500,000 and result in individual payouts of thousands of pounds per inmate. Those claiming for their lack of Sky channels could, it is reported, share a payout of £1,000,000 if their case were to be successful. This cost does not include the fortune that will be paid out in Legal Aid and court costs.

Putting that in perspective, the payout of £15,500,000 plus a moderate level Legal Aid and Court costs could equal the annual savings being demanded of some UK Police Forces in light of the recent Winsor Review of Policing budgets.

I would rather the ECHR legislation was used for the protection of those who have been subjected to horrific and inhuman treatment; those that cannot stand up for themselves and have no hope of achieving a respectable quality of life. I would rather the millions of pounds already spent in compensation and put by for future claims was available to be spent on preventing these prisoners offending in the first place.

Those benefitting from the Scottish case included rapists, paedophiles and murderers. Some would say that these people should be considered to be outside the scope of ECHR protection in the first place. I am tempted to agree!


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