“Some 200 inmates at Whitemoor prison near March in Cambridgeshire had meals worth around Â£18 each after complaining about the quality of jail food.”
Muslim prisoners at a maximum security jail were treated to Â£3,500 of takeaway curries to mark a religious festival.
Some 200 inmates at Whitemoor prison near March in Cambridgeshire had meals worth around Â£18 each after complaining about the quality of jail food.
At the current exchange rate, that’s a little over $27.
Staff, who also tucked into the meals, drove 40 miles to pick them up from a takeaway in Peterborough.
The meals were bought at the end of October this year to celebrate Eid, a Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting.
Main dishes included lamb rogan josh and beef madras.
A former non-Muslim inmate said: ‘They tried to do the curries in-house but the prison chefs couldn’t meet the budget of Â£1.80 per prisoner – and the Muslim inmates complained that it tasted rubbish.
‘The smell of it wafting was torture for the rest of us.’
A Prison Service investigation is to now look at the ‘unacceptably’ high costs of the meals.
It is also likely to look into reports that standard security checks to ensure weapons or contraband were not being smuggled in with the dishes were not carried out in case the meals got cold.
The prison houses 458 of the most dangerous men in the country, including one third who are Muslim. Among them are al-Qa’eda terrorists.
Stewart Jackson, Tory MP for Peterborough, said yesterday: ‘It is an absolute disgrace that this happened. Decent, law-abiding taxpayers will be appalled that their taxes are going on this.
‘The Government, and particularly the Ministry of Justice, needs to get a grip on penal policy.’
Mark Wallace, of the TaxPayers’ Alliance said: ‘This is totally outrageous.
‘This is meant to be a prison, not a luxury hotel. If they don’t like prison food then don’t commit the crime.’
HMP Whitemoor opened in 1992 and two years later was at the centre of a scandal after six prisoners, including five IRA members, escaped from the Special Secure Unit after smuggling guns into the prison.
In recent years its Muslim population has swelled as security services have begun investigating terrorist plots. It now has the highest proportion of Muslim inmates of any jail in the country.
In August, documents revealed emergency plans had been drawn up amid fears a prison officer could be taken hostage and beheaded by Muslim fanatics following mounting racial tension.
There was uproar last week when it emerged a convicted al-Qa’eda terrorist who planned a ‘dirty bomb’ attack in London had taken part in comedy workshops in the prison. […]