UKIP Home Affairs spokeswoman Jane Collins MEP has responded to comments from Justice Secretary Liz Truss saying the cuts in funding are "a false economy" and "back door privatisation has resulted in a pressure cooker situation in the UK's prisons."
Shocking reports from HMP Northumberland, run by Sodexo Justice Services, shows drugs and wire cutting equipment in cells and prisoners leaving to pick up contraband. It was privatised in 2014, when the government was aiming to cut £500m from the prisons budget.nTo win the contract, Sodexo pledged to save the taxpayer £130m over 15 years. Two hundred jobs, including 96 prison officer posts, were cut. At the time of the deal, the Prison Officers Association warned it could result in "escapes and riots".
Yet the European Court of Auditors have just published a dossier revealing how the EU spent money on building two jails in the Balkans, which have received billions in pre-accession money but are not members of the EU. A photograph in the report proudly displays shiny white cells and a sparkling corridor at a brand new prison facility in Fier, southern Albania, which cost EU taxpayers £8.2m.
Mrs Collins described the EU funding of prisons in Albania and Bosnia as "a misuse of British tax payers' money particularly at a time when UK prisons are in a disastrous state."
"We saw from the Panorama report that we have prisons which are secure facilities in name only, with cuts being made by the government which are putting prison officers' lives in danger and turning supposed correctional institutions into drug dens where lags rule the roost.
"So why is our money being spent abroad when demonstrably it is needed here?
"The Prisons Minister needs to explain just how the situation has reached this crisis point and I am sure others will want to know how much money Sodexo is getting for a job it seems to be failing in."