In an attempt to re-balance the public finances, the government have announced plans to help ensure crime does pay. Prisoners who finish serving their time in all UK jails, will be released from prison, into an ‘HMP gift shop’
‘The idea came to us during a cabinet team building trip to Alton Towers’ Home Secretary Teresa May told us. ‘We were all waiting for Nick Clegg to come off the ‘teacups’, and noticed that people were being led off the ride and straight into a gift shop. Then the idiots would spend their money on overpriced tat. Nick came out with three teddy bears, a t-shirt that exclaimed ‘I took on the teacups and won’, and an oversized pencil.’
The scheme uses the principles of a captive market that have been used by entertainment venues up and down the country, and as the governor for Wormwood Scrubs told us this is the perfect model for a prison. ‘You don’t get more captive than jail’, he explained. ‘the only issue we had during trials was the lack of available cash the released inmates have. So we decided to start accepting items that are rife in prison as currency. Last week we took some tobacco, a Playstation, and half a kilo of Cocaine’.
However critics of the scheme have said the HMP gift shop is nothing short of extortion. ‘Selling over priced gifts to remind those being released of their visit is one thing,’ civil liberties campaigner Shami Chakrabarti complained, ‘but selling a £10 souvenir photo from the showers is against their human rights. It may be the only ride they have, but that doesn’t make it right’.
Criticism has also come from released prisoners. Robert Goods, who has just served 6 months for shoplifting, described his experience. ‘I was given my belongings in a bag in one hand, and an empty shopping basket in the other. The prices of the items was so expensive it was criminal. I don’t know how they sleep at night, they should be locked up. That said, as a persistent offender, I am glad they started giving nectar points. Three more stretches and I’ll have enough points for a holiday.’
Prime Minister David Cameron has backed the plans and said he thinks the experience for prisoners will be a positive one. ‘Not only are the being released from prison, but they also get the chance to spend money and help the economy’ he told a press conference. ‘And as someone with close friends from News International and the Banking sector, I know they’ll welcome the chance to remember their sentences’.