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Posted: 5/13/2002 7:40:45 PM EST

LONDON - British officials are shopping for ships to use
as floating prisons as the country's convict population
reaches record levels and keeps growing.

Britain has one prison ship in service, the HMS Wheare,
a one-time troop carrier stationed at Portland, on
England's southern coast.

Sources close to the government said officials want to
lease at least three more vessels to house the overflow
of hundreds of inmates.

"Overcrowding is not helping," said Martin Narey, head of
the Prison Service in England and Wales, "because every
prison is very, very full at the moment."

Official figures show the prison system has a record
70,926 inmates registered as of last month - a figure
that is expected to exceed 72,000 by the end of this month.

Some 5,000 prisoners have been added to the rolls since
the start of the year, and another 511 were added last week - a
figure that has become about average in recent weeks.

The disclosure about added prison ships came in the wake of
disturbances, blamed on overcrowded conditions, in at least
three British prisons this week.

Officials from the Prison Service want each of the three
prison ships to provide enough cells to house some 500
low-risk convicts as part of what was described as an
"emergency package" to deal with the overcrowding. Where
the vessels would be stationed was not disclosed immediately.

When it was turned into a floating prison in 1997, the
HMS Wheare became Britain's first prison ship in 200 years.
It is now home to some 400 convicts.

Mr. Narey described the crowding of the nation's prisons
as "very disturbing," and said the Prison Service was
"doing its very best to hang on."

He said that even the additional cells that the floating
prisons will provide would not solve the problem. Also,
judges and courts should "stop sending short- sentence people
to prison when there are adequate community alternatives
available," he said.

Meanwhile, prison officials said they also are investigating
the possibility of using vacant or abandoned Ministry of Defense
sites to help cope with the overflow.

In disturbances across the country in the past week, more
than 80 cells were reported damaged when prisoners started
fires, smashed windows and wrecked fixtures and fittings.

At Guys Marsh prison, 30 prisoners barricaded themselves
and trashed cells during seven hours of disturbances in
which a prison officer was injured. A standoff by convicts
at Lindholme prison lasted eight hours.

Some 48 prisoners, angered when they were not allowed to
watch a soccer match on television, went on a rampage for
six hours at Ranby prison, and extra officers in riot gear
had to be called in to subdue the uprising.
Link Posted: 5/13/2002 7:53:36 PM EST
sounds to me like its time to execute a few thousand of those bastards.
Link Posted: 5/13/2002 7:55:20 PM EST
Ship em to australia
Link Posted: 5/13/2002 8:10:12 PM EST
or New Zealand
Link Posted: 5/13/2002 8:30:10 PM EST
Get crappy boats that accidentally sink on a regular basis.  Old oil tanks would work.  Just put the prisoners in the holding tanks.
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