Suffolk prisoners can watch films containing sex, drugs and violence

HMP Highpoint in Stradishall near Newmarket Picture: ARCHANT

HMP Highpoint in Stradishall near Newmarket Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Eastern Daily Press, Archant

Inmates at Suffolk prisons can watch films containing sex, violence and drug use from their jail’s own DVD library, it can be revealed.

Criminologist Faith Spear

Criminologist Faith Spear - Credit: Archant

Prisoners at Warren Hill, Hollesley Bay and Highpoint have access to hundreds of DVDs, with a number of movies featuring scenes of sexually explicit and violent content.

Prisoners are no longer allowed to watch 18-rated films in their cells following a crackdown in 2013, but 15-rated movies – which can contain drugs, violence, and sexual violence according to the British Board of Film Classification – were available to view.

Titles such as the erotically charged drama Black Swan, crime-action flick Sicario 2, and bloody outlaw biker television series Sons of Anarchy were available for prisoners at Warren Hill.

At Hollesley Bay, inmates could sit down and watch crime thriller The Bank Job, about a major bank robbery, Layer Cake, featuring a successful cocaine dealer, and popular television series Breaking Bad – where a high school chemistry teacher makes crystal methamphetamine.

Hollesley Bay

Hollesley Bay


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Highpoint prisoners could watch ultra violent thriller First Purge, Rambo First Blood and heist movie Baby Driver.

Faith Spear, criminologist, prison commentator and campaigner, said: “There was a crackdown a few years ago when 18-rated films were banned, but you find some of the 15-rated films are just as bad.

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“It depends on how you view a prison. If you view it as part of society then these films are all around us.

“But when you’ve been down that route and you are trying to get clean then I don’t think it helps.”

Warren Hill at Hollesley Bay Picture: ARCHANT

Warren Hill at Hollesley Bay Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

According to the Prison’s Handbook 2018, prison governors have the final say on what material should be made available in the library or to an individual.

Governors may also restrict an individual’s access to some material on a case-by-case basis, according to the handbook.

HMP Highpoint, in Stradishall, near Newmarket, and HMP and YOI Warren Hill, in Hollesley near Woodbridge, are male category C prisons, while HMP Hollesley Bay, also in Hollesley near Woodbridge, is a male category D prison.

The lists of films available to view at the county’s prisons were obtained through an Freedom of Information (FoI) request by this newspaper.

The FoI also revealed which television channels prisoners were allowed to watch with inmates at Warren Hill able to view 14 stations including Film 4, Spike, ITVBe, and E4.

Highpoint inmates had access to 12 channels including the Chart Hit Show, True TV, and Movies4Men, while Hollesley Bay prisoners could watch 10 stations.

Guidance from the Prison Service Instruction on incentives and earned privileges reads: “Prisoners are not allowed to watch in-cell television when they should be at work, education, engaged in activities to reduce their reoffending, or other activities as directed.

“Furthermore, all prisoners must earn the right to have access to an in-cell television. Only those prisoners that are behaving well, complying with the prison regime and engaging with their sentence plan are eligible for access.”

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