Clause 1 — Power to destroy or otherwise dispose of property

Part of Mental Health (Discrimination) (No. 2) Bill – in the House of Commons at 11:49 am on 30th November 2012.

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Photo of Stuart Andrew Stuart Andrew Conservative, Pudsey 11:49 am, 30th November 2012

I am pretty sure that that is absolutely correct, but I am looking to my hon. Friend the Minister for clarification; perhaps she can give a more definitive answer.

Most mobile phones now have cameras, and these have been used to take photographs of prison officers so that those on the outside can target and intimidate them. That is clearly unacceptable in this day and age.

The taunting of victims from prison is also unacceptable. We all heard about the tragedy of the killing of 16-year-old Ben Kinsella. One of his killers, Jade Braithwaite, used Facebook to taunt the victim’s family from behind bars, boasting that he was “down but not out.” For his profile picture he mocked up a T-shirt emblazoned with his face and the slogan “Free Jade Braithwaite”. It is horrible for the families to be taunted in this way.

I have had a personal experience of this through a dear constituent of mine, Lorraine Fraser. Four of the people who killed her 16-year-old son are in currently prison, but one of them escaped to Pakistan and has been taunting her via Facebook. I know the impact that that has. It is bad enough that she knows he is on the run in Pakistan, with the torment that that causes her, so imagine what it must be like to know that the person is in prison and able to taunt the family in this way. It is simply unacceptable.

There have been ridiculous examples where people boast about the criminal activities that they are taking part in while in prison. David Wibberley was an inmate who used his mobile phone, which had been illegally smuggled in, to boast on Facebook of smoking cannabis in prison. He posted updates on the social networking site from a prison in Cumbria, where he is serving time for the possession of the class B drug. In the posts that could easily be seen online, he boasted about “chilling” in his “pad”, “skinning up” cannabis joints and being stoned or, as he called it, “whiffed out me ’ed”. Such examples are totally unacceptable. That is why it is imperative that we do everything that we can to help those who work in the prison system.

Prison officers often report that the inmates know their rights. When officers confiscate unauthorised items, there is nothing more frustrating than the prisoners demanding that they be stored for them until their release. That is why the Prison Officers Association was very keen to support the Bill. I have received a message of support from it. I have also received messages of support from support groups for victims and their families, because they find it unbelievable that this anomaly exists. That is why I believe that the Bill is crucial.

I am grateful to Members from all parts of the House for the support that they have given the Bill so far.