Prison service refuse to answer my FOI request
How long does it take the prison service to answer a freedom of information enquiry? Indefinately it would seem. I asked the following question in early November:
"Can I have the following information for Holmehouse Prison?: How much is spent on digital TV (Sky, Freeview, NTL etc), and games consoles (Xbox, Playstation and games etc) between January 2002- October 2006."
Holmehouse Prison is the closest prison to where I live. I asked the prison service for all the prisons in the country but they gave me a reply saying something about it costing too much money to find out so I narrowed it down to one prison. In November they said that it was going to take a little longer than expected and I would have to wait until mid December. In Mid December they said it was still causing problems and I would have to wait until 18th January which is today. Today they email me and said:
I had anticipated being in a position to reply to your request today, but unfortunately this has not been possible, as I am waiting to receive advice from our legal advisors. As stated previously, we are considering the application of the exemption contained section 43 of the Act, relating to information which may prejudice the commercial interests of the National Offender Management Service.
I have therefore extended the deadline to 1 February.
In real world speak they are saying that telling me this information could show them in a bad light so they are going to wait as long as they can without telling me and hope I will forget about it. I will not forget about it and if I don’t get the information by the 1st February I am going to complain to the Information Commissioner and get him to sort it out. Infact I have emailed them and told them that.
How bad could it be inside our prisons if they are unwilling to tell us information about the amount of games consoles and satellite inside our prisons?