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Saturday, November 05, 2011

Robbed by ‘victims’!

Robbed by ‘victims’!

From Mark Holey HMP Wolds

This 40% deduction from wages currently some five hundred prisoners have to pay out of their wages to put into victims of crime fund is not only an injustice to those convicted but also another kick in the teeth to our families. I am currently in a Cat-C but hope to be in a D-cat next year, out of the £10 per week I currently get. I save a third of it to send out to my young family, a third goes on weekly phone calls to them and the last third goes on items such as toiletries and to help towards buying presents for my children (both catalogue purchases and the items I make myself through a craft club which I pay for materials used) this leaves nothing to save for my future.

This government does not take into consideration the plight that prisoners families are currently suffering and there is little or no help for them whilst we pay our debt to society which I must add is supposed to be the loss of liberty and nothing else! I am not saying victims of crime isn’t a worthy and worthwhile cause but there is help already out there for them yet prisoners families still suffer not only the stigmatism of having someone incarcerated but the financial burden due to the loss of weekly wages and financial security that was once there. Not all of us in orison were drug dealers, con-men, thieves, or robbers, some of us used to work and support our families legally and enjoyed doing so.

This 40% deduction will not go directly into the pockets of our victims as with all government departments a massive chunk goes on administration costs and if the victim is on benefits then they will see little or none of this money.

I am asking you and your readers if there is any legal action or angles for us to fight this added torment and punishment.

Related content:

The Victims Levy and the Prisoners Earnings ACT 1996

From Andrew Sperling - Consultant Solicitor-Advocate (Higher Courts Civil)

I am issuing an application on behalf of one of my clients for judicial review of the recent Prison Service Instruction 48/2011 which has brought into operation the Prisoners Earnings Act 1996 (the ‘victims levy’). The effect of this Act and the PSI is that, from 26.9.11, prisoners who undertake work in the community and earn over £20/week will be subject to a levy of 40% of their remaining earnings (ie: the excess over £20). The levy is paid to Victim Support with a view to the support of victims and communities.

I am trying to map out the ways that the 'victim levy' is affecting different types of prisoners - female, disabled, young and elderly, as well as the majority male indeterminate and determinate population. I would be very grateful to hear from any prisoners who have been affected by this measure, with information about:
• whether or not any compensation has already been paid to the victim in their case
• the financial situation of the prisoner - including whether the levy will make it impossible for them to travel to work or to take home leave
• the consequences for the prisoner and his family in terms of preparing and saving for release
• Any other information about the effects of the levy.

Please contact me at the address below.
Andrew Sperling
Consultant Solicitor-Advocate (Higher Courts Civil)
Scott-Moncrieff & Associates LLP
Office 7, 19 Greenwood Place, London NW5 1LB

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