Tuesday, January 16, 2007

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?


dizzyfatplonka said...

It can't be as bad as not knowing how many prisoners have escaped.
Wonder how many prisoners have taken the games with them?

Ellee said...

From what I've been told by staff who have to provide this info, no extra staff were appointed in the govt's archive department to come up with the answers, they did not expect to be so overwhelmed with questions.

You could write a letter to one of the national papers about it, it would be interesting enough for publication.

youdontknowme said...

well the thing is I am asking holmehouse prison which means all they do is get someone to phone the governor to get him to send the info to them and then they send it to me. atleast I thought that would be the way

alanorei said...

I wonder how much in the way of amenities Kev Hughes is allowed.

youdontknowme said...

Find out what prison he is at then do an FoI request.

probably not much is the short answer though.

alanorei said...


Even an atlas was withheld from him. Sex offenders are allowed pornography and Muslims are allowed pro-jihad literature.