MP counts the jailhouse socks

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INMATES ARE used to spending their time in prison making mailbags but the shadow Home Secretary, Ann Widdecombe, yesterday questioned why so many socks are being produced.

She has written to the Home Secretary, Jack Straw, demanding to know why prisoners are making far more socks than there are feet to wear them. "Are the prisoners eating them?" she inquired.

Ms Widdecombe said she had been given the "amazing news" from the Home Office that over the past two years the Prison Service had produced 800,000 pairs of socks solely for use in prisons and that this year it expected to produce another 600,000 pairs.

"Can you please tell me how on earth it is necessary, given the size of the prison population at any one time, for 1.4 million pairs of socks to be available? What on earth is happening to them all? Are the prisoners eating them?" she said.

Ms Widdecombe said she had also been told that over the past two years the Prison Service had produced more than 200,000 pairs of slippers, again solely for use in prisons and expected to produce up to another 60,000 this year.

"Why are a quarter of a million pairs of slippers necessary in HM Prisons given the size of the prison population at any given time?" she asked.

The current prison population in England and Wales is 65,337, according to the Prison Service.

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