Criminals on licence are purposely getting sent back to prison for 28 days to make thousands of pounds selling drugs they bring in from the outside, an MP has said.
Shipley MP Philip Davies said criminals were “laughing all the way to the bank” with the lax attitude to reoffending in the country.
He demanded that Fixed Term Recalls - where a person breaks the terms of their licence or in many cases commits a further crime are only sent back to prison for 28 days - be scrapped.
He said: “This weak response to reoffending is becoming so well-known in the criminal community that some people are taking their chances of getting recalled, knowing that the punishment will be pathetic. It is like a 28 day all-inclusive mini break.
“Worse still, some prisoners who have been released on licence are deliberately trying to get themselves back into prison for 28 days, as that is just enough time for them to make money from dealing drugs and committing other crimes on the inside before being released again. This is an absolute farce. The criminals are laughing all the way to the bank whilst nothing is done to stop this nonsense.”
Mr Davies made the comments during a Commons opposition day debate on prisons.
According to research published in the International Journal of Drug Policy by Manchester Metropolitan University prisoners had reported being able to earn £3,000 in the 28 days they spent back in jail by bringing in synthetic cannabinoids. The research also quotes prisoners claiming to do this and prison recovery workers saying prisoners tell them they will be coming back in to sell drugs.
Mr Davies said the Fixed Term Recalls were “one of the biggest outrages of our current prison system” and cited figures from 2014 showing 7,486 prisoners were recalled for a further four weeks – with 3,166 having been charged with a further crime.
He added: “Perhaps the icing on the cake in this whole sorry state of affairs is that, in 2015, 816 offenders were allowed more than one Fixed Term Recall for another breach or offence.
“This is a total failure of a policy in my opinion and completely indefensible.”
The Fixed Term Recall was introduced in 2008 to reduce the prison population.