Once upon a time, prison in Britain was regarded as a punishment where certain rights, such as the right to freedom, were curtailed. Nowadays - prisoners have learned that they can sue the Prison Service and win. Take the case of a prisoner at Northallerton Young Offenders' Institute in North Yorkshire who tried to kill himself. Prison officers revived him, but he went on to sue the Prison Service, gaining $1.15 million in an out of court settlement in January this year.
In November last year, 197 prisoners who had been drug addicts when jailed sued the Prison Service in the High Court. Their claim? They complained that they were forced to stop taking drugs in jail. These prisoners were awarded payments totaling $1.5 million.
With these precedents already made, it is little wonder that a group of Muslim prisoners are now threatening to sue the Prison Service because they were offered a choice of ham sandwiches during Ramadan.
The news is carried by yesterday's Bradford Telegraph & Argus, the Daily Mail and today's Daily Telegraph.
The 200 Muslim prisoners were at Her Majesty's Prison Leeds, which has a total population of 1,200 criminals. HMP Leeds is a category B prison. The problem involved a menu (pictured) which was issued during the month of Ramadan which gave them the choice of a ham sandwich as part of their evening meal.
A spokesman at the Prison Service said: "An inappropriate menu card was printed during this Ramadan (September 13 to October 12). This mistake was rectified immediately. Appropriate menu options for the Iftaar evening meal were available throughout Ramadan. Prison Service guidelines state that prisoners must have a diet which meets the requirements of their religion."