Films ban amid jail perks clampdown

Prisoners are to be banned from watching violent and sexually explicit films as part of a clampdown on perks behind bars.

Certificate 18-rated movies, which include Saw, Hostel and Reservoir Dogs, will no longer be screened at jails in England and Wales under changes to the Incentives and Earned Privileges (IEP) scheme.

The changes, announced by Justice Secretary Chris Grayling, will also see subscription channels removed from private prisons, and inmates will have to earn the right to wear their own clothes.

The IEP scheme allows prisoners to work up specific levels of privileges through good behaviour and, in turn, lose the perks if they fail to meet acceptable standards.

Following a review of the scheme, prisoners will have to earn privileges by working and taking part in education, not through the avoidance of bad behaviour.

Mr Grayling said: "It is not right that some prisoners appear to be spending hours languishing in their cells and watching daytime television while the rest of the country goes out to work. For too long, there has been an expectation that privileges are an automatic right, given simply as a reward for staying out of trouble. This cannot continue."

Other major changes include a new privileges level - entry - for all prisoners in their first two weeks of sentence where perks, including access to private cash, will be restricted.

At the end of the entry level period, prisoners who do not co-operate with the regime will drop to basic level, those who do will progress to standard.

All male prisoners will be required to wear prison uniform while on entry level, the MoJ said. Prison regimes are also to change so inmates work a longer day and will not be allowed to watch television when they should be working.

Labour leader Ed Miliband, asked to comment on ITV Day Break, said: "Let's look at the Government's proposals. What worries me about what is happening in the prison system, though, is that while the Government has a lot of rhetoric, actually the examples of prisoners doing work - for example - meaningful work, which I think people would be in favour of, that is going down, not up. You are finding prisoners just locked in jail for longer, not doing the useful work which is good for society and good for them."