In a bold move to reduce prison violence, the British government has announced that it will be taking away guns and knives from prisoners. The policy, which will be introduced in early 2017, will mean that prisoners in UK jails will no longer be able to have guns or knives.
All prison officers will be given instructions to look for weapons in prisoners' cells and, if they find them, and if they are a gun or a knife, they will confiscate it immediately.
The new policy is being introduced because of a recent spate of violence in UK jails.
A spokesman for the Howard League for Prison Reform said "The British government has been promising for years that it will not allow prisoners access to deadly weapons, but they have done nothing about it. Instead of confiscating guns and knives, they took away votes".
The policy follows a year long trial in some London prisons. Half of prisoners had their guns and knives removed but the other half didn't. The Governor of HMP Pentonville said "After a while, the prisoners who didn't have their guns and knives removed started shooting or stabbing the prisoners that did have their guns and knives removed. We had to put a stop to the situation so we quickly returned the guns and knives to the prisoners from whom we took them."
However, the policy will only be introduced in January 2017. A spokesman for the Home Office said "Introduction of a nationwide policy such as this will be difficult and time consuming. For example, someone will have to look up the address of every single prison officer in the country, write to him then stick a stamp on the envelope. That's thousands of letters."
The same spokesman for the Home Office also said "We are also considering giving guns and knives to prison officers, though some would say that would be going too far. However, we're thinking of saving on the postage and sending two letters in the same envelope."