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Prisons (Property) Act 2013


5.As discussed in paragraph 3 above, there are restrictions on the property that prisoners may bring into and possess in prison. Although provisions in the Prison Act 1952 and in rules made under that Act provide for the confiscation of unauthorised property, they do not provide for the destruction of confiscated property.

6.This means that, at present, unauthorised property found in the possession of a prisoner and which is subsequently confiscated must be stored by the prison authorities and may be returned to the prisoner on release. The cost of storing property until a prisoners release is met by the National Offender Management Service (NOMS).

7.One of the most commonly confiscated items is mobile telephones, of which a large number are currently stored by NOMS. Many of the phones held in storage are not attributable to individual prisoners and, in any event, very few prisoners have sought the return of these items upon their release. Other commonly confiscated items include authorised items which have been adapted for unauthorised uses and items of property which have been smuggled into prison or stolen or coerced from another prisoner.

8.When controlled drugs and other illegal items such as weapons are found inside prisons, these are generally referred to the police (and are not therefore stored by NOMS). However there is currently no express power for the destruction or disposal of other property of the types described. The Act is designed to address this situation and to ensure there is a clear legal basis for the destruction or other disposal of unauthorised or unattributable property.

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