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Ban on prison parties after Halloween outrage

The Justice Secretary, Jack Straw, has banned "unacceptable" prison parties after a national newspaper published pictures of convicted prisoners dressed in horror-themed costumes.

The pictures in The Sun show a number of convicted women prisoners at Holloway Prison, north London, dressed in ghoulish Halloween-style outfits.

The Ministry of Justice said the event was "completely unacceptable" and moved to ban any similar events.

A spokeswoman said: "The event last year wasn't justified and Jack Straw has ordered that this won't happen again at Holloway or any other prison."

She added that the ban would apply to events that were "out of normal routine and with absolutely no justification, which are completely unacceptable". The picture shows some inmates wearing vampire costumes, while others dressed as devils are daubed with fake blood and are baring their plastic fangs at the camera.

The Sun reported that the party was held in Holloway's Life Sentence Unit but the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) would not confirm that yesterday.

Some inmates at the all-female prison have convictions for murder.

High-profile Holloway inmates have included Maxine Carr, the former girlfriend of the Soham murderer Ian Huntley. The MoJ insisted that the party had not been paid for by the public.

The spokeswoman added: "An event was held last year in normal association time at no cost to the taxpayer.

"The limited costs were met from the existing prison budget."