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UK Prisoners Awarded Nearly 1 Million Pounds in Damages
to settle a wide range of claims, according to information provided to the
Belfast Telegraph under the Freedom of Information Act.
The highest total payout was more than half a-million pounds for medical
malpractice. In 2004, four prisoners netted an average of 125,250 pounds
for such claims. Assaults by other prisoners totaled 30,000 pounds;
slip-and-fall accidents paid 58,000 pounds; unlawful searches awarded more
than 60,000 pounds, with seven prisoners receiving an average payment of 12,785
pounds each. Four prisoners were paid an average of nearly 1,000 pounds
each for food poisoning. Six prisoners were paid approximately 500 pounds
each for stress, and one prisoner received 1,000 pounds for a dog bite.
Other prisoners received money for sports injuries, traffic accidents,
disease and improper training in work practices.
Policing Board member Sammy Wilson was outraged by the report. He was
certain law-abiding citizens would find it "incomprehensible" that they
are paying for these "frivolous" complaints. Wilson said there may be
some genuine cases here but there will be a lot of people, especially crime
victims, who will have little sympathy for these prisoners. After all, it
is their own fault that they are in there.
In January 2006, a Northern Ireland prisoner successfully sued for being
forced to use a pot for a toilet due to the lack of in-cell washing and
toilet facilities at the Magilligan Prison. A judge ruled that this was a
human rights violation but awarded no compensation. Yet, this opened the
door for hundreds of current and former prisoners to sue if they suffered
ill health from being forced to slop out. In Wilson's view this is the
product of a compensation culture gone crazy.
Source: Belfast Telegraph
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