Prison chain gangs to clear roadside litter
By Rob Banks, Crime Editor
Prison chain gangs will become a familiar sight on Suffolk’s roads as the Government trials a tough new approach to crime, it has emerged.
We can reveal Ministers want prisoners to be used as forced labour to clear up litter from roads around the county.
And to ensure the controversial scheme acts as a deterrent to others, the prisoners will be shackled together with ball and chains, and endure the shame of wearing striped uniforms.
Officials have chosen now to unveil their plans to capitalise on Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s unpopular softly softly, left-wing approach to “cushy prisoner reform programmes”.
The revelation – a throwback to the chain gangs of early 20th-century America – will boost Tory morale as members prepare to gather for the party conference.
A Home Office insider said: “We have chosen Suffolk to pioneer the scheme because there is so much rubbish discarded on the sides of your roads, especially the A14 and A12, and this does not create a good image for visitors.
“We’ll select the most hardened criminals from the region’s prisons, dress them in degrading black-and-white-striped uniforms, chain them together – and force them to clear little for eight hours a day with only a 20-minute break for bread and water.
“Motorists will delight in seeing prisoners actually being forced to do something good to repay society – and of course the roads will look so much nicer afterwards.”
The gangs – each consisting of ten men – will have a prison guard watching over them at all times, sitting on horseback.
But if any of the hardened criminals even thought about escaping, they would not get far because they would be chained together.
The scheme was met with fury from local Liberal Democrat and Labour leaders. One Labour Suffolk county councillor fumed: “This will be a disgusting affront to human rights, and is no way to reform a prisoner. If anything it will make them hate society and be more likely to re-offend if they got out.
“But I suppose at least the litter will be gone.”