Sunday, 14 November 2010

Privilege Television

The Scottish Prison Service is ordering 1,600 19 inch flat screen televisions for use across the service.  The televisions are for inmates and are being purchased in order to meet energy efficiency targets.

The Scottish Prison Service (SPS) said the television sets would not cost the taxpayer any money as prisoners were charged for television access.  Prisoners pay £1 a week for their in-cell terrestrial and satellite televisions but, according to the SPS, they are not a right and can be taken away at the prison governor's discretion. Remand prisoners do not pay the fee.  PlayStation (PS2 or other console) is provided free of charge in prisons.

A TV licence costs £145.50 a year and a Sky starter pack is £19.50 a month.  Therefore for the average home, the basic annual cost of satellite television is £379.50.  That excludes the cost of the television itself. 

Prisons will be able to negotiate prices for televisions and satellite receivers but is £1 a week a fair price?  The top websites which provide bedside televisions do not give prices online but even a standard Freeview TV will cost far more than £1 a week.

Our prisons have rooms with extra large television screens for inmates' use.  The taxpayer pays for those.  Should we also be subsidising personal televisions?  What saving will low energy televisions make to the prison estate energy costs?  We really need some detail and not just to be told that there will be no cost to taxpayers.

The SPS said televisions had been a 'feature' of prisons since 1999 when Labour began it's eight-year term at Holyrood yet Richard Baker, Labour's justice spokesman, is jumping up and down with indignation at the purchase of these new televisions.  He should have checked out the history of personal televisions in prisons before protesting.


Anonymous said...

Why is this being pumped out, on the labour Broadcasting Corporation in very news bulletin, in all the newspapers when it was first published some 3 or weeks ago by the Sunday Post and died a death because it was not accurate?

OK, I know that Labour are so bereft of joined up thinking that they have to steal everything from everybody, everywhere but, the BBC. Oh I forgot, the BBC is the Labour PR machine.

Defenestration called for, and soon.

Can you hear me Aunty BBC?

Your boys are going to take a helluva beating.

Joe Public said...

Someone's priorities are wrong:

Hospital patients are being charged £5-a-day to watch TV in hospital.

Will an official from the SPS publicly confirm that the only British TV channels will be available?

i.e. channels such as Al Jazeera must be banned.

Mark MacLachlan said...

That this poorly researched Labour press release was BBC Scotland's online lead story on both Friday and Saturday beggars belief. It follows Johanna Lamont's attempt to tar Anne McLaughlin with the 'bullying mental health' brush after she tweeted about the need for anti-depressives after listening to Labour MSP's in committee. All part of the Scottish media's happy-clappy-let's-take-whatever-shite-Labour-throw-our-way-to-pan-the-Nats broadcasting needs.

I don't begrudge prisoners the privilage of paying to watch mindless pap on television. As prison is priomarily about rehabilitation, if watching 'Britain's Got X-tra Chromosomes, helps turn them into the drooling behomoths that litter our streets, then so be it.

At the very least if they do have access to Al Jazeera at least they'll be getting something that approximates to 'unbiased' news, compared to the Beeb, SKY, CNN, FOX, MSNBC et al.

Key bored warrior. said...

Newsnet Scotland have a good expose on this very story, unfortunately they have also put up a phtograph of the child Baker on the article, which makes it difficult to view, excellent piece never the less. I have blogged on it and the Soames/ Foulkes diversion also.

Dramfineday said...

Yon Richard Baker on about replacement TV's in prisons when labour put them there in the first place - he's a bit of a tube is he no? Or should that be L.C.D? I'll leave your discerning viewers to interpret the initials as appropriate to them SR

subrosa said...

Tell me Bugger, how do you access the Sunday Post? I can't.

The main point of the post is should prisoners be allowed to rent a TV for £1 a week I suppose.

subrosa said...

Joe, I couldn't find anything but I thought it would be far more than £1. It's strange the two top hospital suppliers don't give a price online isn't it.

subrosa said...

I missed that about Anne McLaughlin Mark, then we know Labour play really dirty so it's not that much of a surprise.

I'm certainly not that chuffed that prisoners get satellite TV for £1 a week and hospital patients have to pay much more.

You're so optimistic. I very much doubt there are many who watch Al Jazeera in prison. You had it right in your second paragraph.

subrosa said...

Thanks KBW, I will come and read it. I did think about a photo of Baker myself but it was only a fleeting thought.

subrosa said...

I'll stick with tube Dram in an effort to be polite.

Anonymous said...

You have to click enter!

That is to say ENTER (the word) on the home page.

There have been a couple of articles recently that people have been talking about on blogs which are accessible on the web edition.

I see mow they are asking for a subscription to go beyond the initial couple of featured cloumnists.

Anonymous said...

rent a TV for £1 a week?

Is it cheaper than the aftermath of them popping pills to pass the time of day?

subrosa said...

For the past couple of months I've been unable to access a current page on the SP Bugger. Tried everything.

I think 'medication' will continue to be supplied freely.

Anonymous said...

Has it occurred to you, that you could be barred?

Anonymous said...

One final word on the hospital vrs prison price of rental.

The Hospital one is a business price based on a return on capital invested and servicing costs. They would also have to add an on-cost for a proportion of the TV sets going walkies and of course they would pay a weekly fee plus key money to the hospital for the rights to the franchise.

In prison the cost is initially borne by the Prison Service, and there would be no requirement to make a profit as it is probably viewed as a way of reducing mischief and drug taking(?)

Finally, there is a lower chance of the sets going walkies; where are the inmates going to take them?

The sets probably can be bought for about £120 and at £52 a year would cover the capital cost in 2+ years. Cabling and provision for communal Freesat would say it make it breakeven in say 3 years. The sets would last say 5 years?

The Screws, that is another problem?

Surreptitious Evil said...

Just remember that prison prices are biased by the deliberately low pay rates for prison work.

I would have no real problem with prisoners being charged for TV (assuming you accept the premise that prisoners should be allowed the privilege of personal TV under certain limitations) at a cost+admin rate, but you would then need to rebalance their earning opportunities. I don't know nearly enough about prison management to comment on the rights or wrongs of the current pay rates.

NHS pay-TV rates are, of course, a hideous artifact of the insidious horrors of poorly specified PFI contracts.

Sunday Post? Try this link.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

It won't cost the taxpayers anything because the prisoners pay?

Christ on a bike.

Where do they think the prisoners get "their" money from? Henry Kissinger?

subrosa said...

Well well Bugger, that'd be a first - barred from the Sunday Post.

I'll try access on the iPad.

subrosa said...

So the moral of your story is that folk who are sick should pay more to watch TV than those who have committed crime Bugger?

The £1 the inmates pay is taxpayers money which is given to them in earnings let's not forget.

I understand the maths and have my doubts about too many hospital TVs going walkies.

subrosa said...

Thanks for the link SE. It takes me to a page 3 months old, although the date on the LHS is today's date.

I've tried everything to get the current copy. May email them I think as Bugger thinks I'm banned.

subrosa said...

Oh Weekend Yachtsman, first laugh of the day. Aye sometimes you despair at such stupid comments and yet there are people who believe them aren't there.

Anonymous said...


TVs going walkies. Are you kidding?

Ask anyone in the NHS, it is rife.

Everything from consumables to fixtures and fittings. It is in in-house joke.

Prisoners,I would rather flay the miscreants but, given that they have to be released sometime, better that hey are lobotomised on mindless pap rather that poppers. Safer for the staff too.

remember the statement by the SPS it is not a right but is a privilege, one that can be withdrawn for not conforming to the rules. I bet withdrawl symptoms from the X Factor would be feared more than cold turkey?

subrosa said...

In my local hospital Bugger, most TVs have been donated. In some other large hospitals I'm told bedside TV can't be stolen as they're solidly bracketed to walls.

I've no doubt theft goes on though in the NHS.

Delphius1 said...

One hospital at least lists prices on their website, the Princess Alexandra:

One day of TV costs £2.90.

Hospital TV services aim to be provided at no cost to the hospital, so it gives a benchmark for the cost of a commercial service and the sort of charge the SPS should be making. That's of course if it was the prisoner's own money. However, its still taxpayer's money being given to the SPS, to be given to prisoners to spend on TV usage.

subrosa said...

Thanks for that link Del. Kind of you to find it.

I just wondered if TV for prisoners was more important in our society than TV for those who require hospitalisation.

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