Page last updated at 14:09 GMT, Saturday, 6 February 2010

Inmates were overcharged for cell TVs at HMP Liverpool

HMP Liverpool
HMP Merseyside has been blighted by staff strikes

A Merseyside prison has repaid nearly £10,000 to inmates who were overcharged for watching their televisions, the Ministry of Justice has said.

HMP Liverpool was charging rental of £1 per head per week instead of per cell, meaning those who shared were being forced to pay extra.

About 1,400 inmates, eligible for the shared cell discount, have been paid a total of £9,580 between them.

The Prison Service blamed it on an "administrative error".

Violence still rife

Ministry of Justice officials said the error was isolated to the Merseyside jail and an inmate, Darren Seago, had written to a national monthly newspaper for prisoners - Inside Time - to complain about the charges.

A Prison Service spokesman added: "There is no indication this has happened in any other prison.

"Prisoners are charged £1 per week for in-cell television rental and this is paid for through prisoners' wages."

The Walton institution has been blighted by staff strikes and reports of poor performance in recent months.

HM Inspectorate of Prisons released a report stating drugs were still readily available and violence and bullying were still rife.

Progress at the Walton jail has "stalled", the inspectorate said.

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