Prisoners have been forced to pay over three quarters of a million
pounds towards helping victims this year, thanks to a new law that literally
makes them pay for their crimes.
Introduced just a year ago, the Prisoners' Earnings Act takes money out of
working prisoners' pockets and puts it back into vital support services - like
providing counselling for a victim of traumatic crime or fixing locks and alarms
on a vulnerable pensioner's home.
Announcing the total raised so far, Victims Minister Helen Grant
"We want victims to get the support they actually need, and we want
criminals to shoulder much more of the burden of paying for it. As a result of
our ambitious reforms, criminals will pay as much as £50 million more each year
into victims' services, and we are changing the way this money is put to good
use, so it provides services designed to fit individuals' needs."
Money taken from prisoner's earnings is given straight to Victims Support -
where it is used to provide practical and emotional support to victims of
One couple to benefit were Mr and Mrs Castlehouse - in their mid-80s and in
In June 2012, the couple were targeted by burglars. Both Mr
and Mrs Castlehouse were at home when the intruders broke in, leaving them
feeling extremely shaken and vulnerable. The trauma they suffered caused their
health to deteriorate still further.
Victims Support were able to help
secure the property, by fitting door and window alarms, and a 'dummy' CCTV
camera. They also intervened as the Housing Office were slow to fit additional
lighting where the burglars had gained entry.
Thanks to the money from prisoners earnings, Mr & Mrs Castlehouse can
once again feel safe in their home. Mrs Castlehouse said: "The intervention and
assistance of Victim Support has been a godsend. We are more than