The Prisoner Communication Service Policy: The Prisoner Communication Services Policy

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The Prisoner Communication Services policy came into force on 1st October 2011 and replaced PSO 4400 Chapter 4 and PSI 06/2011. It is concerned with matters of prisoners’ communications and includes the prohibition of prisoners’ from accessing social networking sites. There are several forms of domestic legislation which grant power to the Secretary of State to pass policies regarding prisoner’s treatments and rights, including statutes and case law. The Human Rights Act 1998 and the European Court of Human Rights mean that this legislation is now more widely interpreted to make it compatible with Europe’s convention on human rights. There are advantages to the policy in PSI 49/100, for example it can protect public order and security and the …show more content…
In R v Deputy Governor of Parkhurst Prison and Others, ex parte Hague and Weldon v The Home Office, one prisoner argued that he had a right to sue where conditions were broken, which in this case was that the prisoner alleged mistreatment by guards as he was placed in solitary confinement. In his judgment, Lord Bridge concluded in this case that the rule ‘is purely preventive measure… it is inconceivable that the legislature intended to confer a cause of action on the segregated prisoner’. His claim for judicial review was allowed but not his claim for damages. It has therefore been recognised that it’s not enough for a claimant to show that a provision was designed to protect prisoners and that not every duty in a statute can give rise to a cause of action.
A case specifically related to prisoner communications is R v Secretary of State for the Home Department, ex parte Simms and another. In this case it was held that there could not be a blanket ban on prisoners’ communication. It was believed that this would contradict Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights regarding Freedom of Expression, which states ‘Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of
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As mentioned above, article 10 states that ‘Everyone has the right to freedom of expression’. Banning prisoners from using social media could be considered a restriction of their freedom of expression as it takes away their ability to ‘receive and impart information and ideas’ which the Article states humans are entitled to. Steve Foster talks about the ‘fundamental principle that prisoners enjoy their basic rights unless they are taken away expressly or by necessary implication’. Therefore, unless it is necessary to take away a prisoners’ freedom of expression, placing a blanket ban on their use of social media goes against this fundamental principle. This is a disadvantage as it means that the government could be seen to be ignoring people’s basic human rights, which would not be well received with the

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