THOUSANDS of working prisoners have handed over £8 million in wages to those left traumatised by crime, we can reveal.
The victims’ levy is made up from a forty per cent ‘tax’ on inmates’ income – but they still hang on to £846 for a month’s work.
The windfall last year came from around 572 inmates who are registered each month as working outside prison who have included builders’ merchants or energy firms.
Each inmate paid an average of £237 per month through the Prisoners’ Earnings Act levy which started in 2011. Since then, there has been a contribution of more than £8.4 million to victims’ groups.
The rest of the cash is given to the lags in wages. They earned £7.4 million last year before the levy was applied.
Alison Elderfield, assistant director at Victim Support which benefits, welcomed the money.
17.1 MILLION HOURS OF WORK
She said: “Every year millions of people are affected by crime and for many the impact can be great, whether emotional, physical or financial.
“Vital services exit to provide support to victims of crime to help them recover and provide advocacy, and the money received from the Prisoners’ Earning Act levy goes towards these services.”
The levy is on low risk prisoners who work outside jails and earn a wage as preparation for their release.
The report also reveals that 12,100 inmates did employed work in 2018/19. That is equal to 17.1 million hours of work.
In 2016/17, 11,200 were in jail employment. They include up to 600 inmates working in DHL workshops based at a number of jails.
They produce ‘canteen’ packs for prisoners and then deliver them. Other posts include chefs at restaurants linked to prisons.
The Clink, based inside Brixton prison in south London, provides lunches. Many thousands of cons also work inside prison, such as cleaning or library work.
A Prison Service spokesman said: “These deductions were introduced in 2011 and force prisoners to take responsibility for their crimes and give something back to victims.”
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