Labour’s prospective Parliamentary candidate for Thurrock, Carl Morris is calling on residents to be prepared to fight Tory plans for a prison ship which could be moored at Tilbury.
Mr Morris said: “The Tory leader has spoken about reintroducing prison ships at the weekend and I’m ready to fight if they look at Tilbury again.”
Floating jails are being considered as a means to fulfil David Cameron’s pledge to end the government’s prisoner early-release scheme, a Tory party spokesman said this weekend.
Carl Morris said: “We successfully fought these stupid ideas in both 2004 and 2006. In the first instance I think the ship was even brought to the Thames but never used.
“The idea of mooring a ship off our riverfront and filling it with prisoners is abhorrent to me, and I’m sure it’s equally repugnant to residents across our borough.
“Labour has poured millions of pounds into Thurrock to regenerate it and improve the lives of local people. All that good work will be undone in one fell swoop if David Cameron gets his way and puts a prison ship here.”
“Unfortunately it seems Tilbury’s like a magnet for these crazy ideas and I’m determined it won’t happen again.
“I know it’s just a ‘proposal’ and I know I’m likely to be accused of scaremongering, but we’ve got to scupper these senseless ideas quickly before proposals become plans and plans become actions.”
Britain’s last floating jail, HMP The Weare, was sold in 2005 after eight years holding prisoners off Portland, Dorset. The ship’s temporary stint as a jail was controversial, with the chief inspector of prisons denouncing it as unfit for purpose because of the lack of access to fresh air and exercise.
But it is thought that the Tories may have to resort once more to prison ships in order to fulfil its promise to halt the end-of-custody licence scheme, which allows offenders to be freed up to 18 days before their due date.