A clampdown could be due in relation to the compensation claims made by prisoners following announcements that this has cost the taxpayer £28.8 million in handling last year’s claims (including legal advice, representation and damages) and £9.3 million in compensation and costs for claims involving inmates. The government has ordered an audit of personal injury claims made to the Prison Service in order to identify where costs could be reduced. Justice Minister Dominic Raah has stated that this is to ensure that “…we are not being taken for a ride” and that the public purse is used to protect the public and rehabilitate offenders rather than to fuel the compensation culture. He also commented “…the Prison Service must be accountable, but taxpayers will be staggered to learn that the costs of litigation against it reached £29 million last year”.
One of several recent high profile and controversial cases is that of Michael Adebolajo, who was one of the men convicted of the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby. His on-going case involves a compensation claim for £20,000 following an incident at Belmarsh prison where Adebolajo’s two front teeth were knocked out. He claimed that five prison officers assaulted him. The prison officers will not face charges.
Another claim was made by convicted terrorist Abdul Miah who claimed for £2,000 for racial discrimination after he was searched by a female prison officer. The government dismissed this claim.