PAS successfully defends prisoner’s right to keep legal reference book

PAS recently won an Ombudsman’s judgement on behalf of a prisoner at HMP Wakefield

, who was being refused possession of a book he had bought because it was not obtained from an approved supplier. The book – ‘Prisoners – Law and Practice’ – had been purchased via an advert in a prisoners’ newspaper by means of a cash disbursement, as agreed beforehand with the prison, but when it arrived it was placed in stored property. There was, however, nothing in the book’s contents that made it inappropriate for the prisoner to own, and it was also freely available in the prison library.

The Ombudsman upheld the complaint. There was nothing inappropriate in the content of the book, and the prison’s decision was unnecessarily bureaucratic. Given that there was no objection to the book in principle, it was recommended that the prisoner should be allowed to keep it in his possession.