31 October 2006

Financial Illiteracy At The Top Of The Prisons Service

The report into the prison murder of Zahid Mubarek was presented to the Commons at the end of June. Now, the Home Office has set up this website which contains far more information than the report itself. I recommend a viewing if you have an interest in the UK criminal justice sytem.

I wanted to share some extracts from the main body of the report that highlights financial illiteracy at the top of the Prison Service. At Feltham, where the murder took place, the governor from December 1998 to April 1999 was Clive Welsh. From May 1999 to October 2000 Niall Clifford was in charge and Nick Pascoe was governor from October 2000 onwards. The report states that

"Mr Clifford did not regard Feltham’s budget as a constraint on the incurring of such expenditure as he thought was necessary. He regarded keeping within the budget as a secondary consideration. His policy was to spend what was needed to improve the regime. He did not think his job was at stake if he exceeded his budget. Mr Pascoe said much the same thing."

The following table shows the cost per prisoner at Feltham in three consecutive years.

£18,992 in 1998/99
£24,030 in 1999/00 (Zahid Mubarek died on March 28th of this year)
£37,507 in 2000/01

The spiralling spending corroborates the comments on Mr Clifford's and Mr Pascoe's financial priorities or lack of them. I'd like to contrast this with the situation before their tenure;

"In the late 1990s establishments were having to make efficiency savings. Their annual budgets were marginally lower in real terms in the financial year before Mr Clifford arrived at Feltham than in previous years"

Not that the authors of the report itself seemed very financially literate. For example take this quote -

"Such was the paucity of funding that the Inspectorate noted in 1997 that Feltham actually had the largest cost per prisoner of any young offender institution in the country." Source

Of course, the report highlighted other serious failings, but I thought I would bring out this example to demonstrate the financial illiteracy at the top of the Prison Service. Finally, it is noted that Feltham was considered a failing establishment so it jumped the queue for funding. Rewarding failure?


Ellee said...

Well done for flagging this up.

Buster George said...

£37,500 to keep some shoplifting piece of shite in three star luxury with colour TV and playstations.

We should violate their human rights and make them work on a chain gang, preferably along the M6 during rush hour.

Bob Piper said...

£37,500 to keep some shoplifting right wing reactionary piece of shite in three star luxury with colour TV and playstations.... may I add. The tories had a much better idea. Privatise the prisons under Group 4 and let them play with their playstations from home and then go out and mug a few people at night time.

Praguetory said...

I didn't realise that you had to be a right-wing reactionary to go to a young offenders' institute. Is this one of Labour's latest emergency measures to keep prisoner numbers below the system's capacity?

CityUnslicker said...

This spending increase most liekley reflects the real inflation that we are suffereing from, rather than the lie labour peddle about 3% and whatnot...