I receive pounds 4.80 for five days' labour over a 30-hour week. This breaks down to 16p per hour (and is less than half the minimum wage of pounds 10 recommended by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, Judge Stephen Tumim, in 1988).
Today the canteen (prison shop) announced that the price of Old Holborn tobacco has risen by 6p per 12.5g pack, which brings it up to pounds 7.04 for 50g (the lesser equivalent of 2oz, which in 1973-74 cost 72p, when my weekly wage was pounds 1.50).
I can no longer afford to buy my weekly tobacco ration. The Home Secretary imports cheap foreign tobacco, which is a very poor substitute, rather than import the higher pay rates that prisoners experience in the rest of Europe. I am reduced to begging from family and friends - which is just like those impoverished at the bars, 200 years ago, asking passers-by for subsistence.
HM Prison Nottingham
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