Prisoner wins right to hot tea
5 July 2012
A prisoner has won the right to keep a Thermos flask of hot tea in his cell at night.
The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman, Nigel Newcomen CBE, said that it was good for his health and that he deserved “decent treatment”.
The prisoner complained to the ombudsman after being denied hot drinks in his cell by the prison governor, after which it was deemed that this denial was in violation of the rules on how criminals should be detained in prison.
The recommendation made by the ombudsman has been accepted by the National Offender Management Service (NOMS), who agreed that tea making facilities should be available to prisoners at night if requested.
Mr Newcomen said: “He complained that he was not able to make a hot drink when he was locked up overnight (for 12 to 15 hours depending on the day of the week).
“This was out of line with the Prison Service’s own policy and the practice in most prisons. In my view, both health and decent treatment required that prisoners should be able to make a hot drink when they are locked up for long periods.”
He also revealed that he had unsuccessfully campaigned for the family of a prisoner serving a life sentence to receive extra financial support in order to make the long trip to visit him.
An unnamed prison source told the Telegraph: “It's all very well to be a friend to the prisoner, but surely it's hardly a human right to have a cup of tea at night.
“Prisoners aren't meant to be in hotel rooms with room service, they are there to be punished.”
Regarding the second case he added: “As for the prisoner's family getting increased petrol money to visit him inside, that it a non-starter from the off – I don't even know why it was looked into.
“I can barely afford to run the family car and taxpayers would not be happy paying the petrol money for a family outing to prison.”