Criminals' wages cut to pay victims
Prisoners' wages will be cut under new plans to make convicted criminals pay reparations to victims and society for the harm they cause, the Ministry of Justice has said.
Officials are exploring ways to enact dormant legislation which would allow the deductions to be made from inmates' wages.
The move is part of Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke's plans to overhaul the rehabilitation of offenders and could be announced at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham next week.
A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: "The Government believes that offenders should make reparations to victims and society for the harm they have caused and, as part of this, we are exploring how we might use the Prisoners' Earnings Act 1996 to allow us to make deductions from prisoners earning enhanced wages.
"These deductions would be paid into a fund, which would provide support for victims of crime."
He went on: "This is part of the Government's commitment to overhaul the rehabilitation system through ensuring prisoners spend more time doing productive, meaningful work.
"Improving offenders' employment skills while in custody can help prisoners to become productive members of society and improve their chances of gaining employment on release, which we know is a major contributor to turning people away from crime."
Tory plans for a Victims' Fund, which would provide additional compensation to victims on top of the existing criminal injuries scheme, were outlined by David Cameron when the Tories were still in opposition in March 2008.