Making a claim for property lost in prison

When a person is sent to prison, it is usual for them to want to take certain items with them, whether these are items for comfort or pleasure, whatever the reason may be, those items should be safe and secure within the prison.

There may be occasions where a prisoner’s possessions are lost through no fault of their own; a claim will need to be logged in order to receive financial compensation for the replacement of such items.

How to make a claim for lost property?

The first step to follow would be an initial application sent to the prison Governor containing all the details of how the property cam to be lost, a list (if more than one item is missing) of the lost property with as much detail as possible just in case the property has been misplaced or confused with another item within the prison.

The application will need to include where the item was purchased, and when it was purchased, the value of each item, and where possible, id you still hold the receipt to the property, include this as supporting evidence with the application form.

Any compensation payable is based on the value of the property at the time the property was lost, and not eh replacement value. So if the lost item was such that the value increases regularly or with age, such increase in price would not be compensated for.

Appealing a decision by the prison Governor

If, following the initial application, the prison Governor refuses compensation for a lost item, and the person is not satisfied, they may appeal such a decision via the complaints system.

There are three stages to the complaints system, and the full process should not take longer than 6 weeks in total, by which time the Complainant will receive a decision.

The Prison and Probation Ombudsman

Having followed both the initial application to the prison Governor, and the prison complaints procedure, the complainant is still not satisfied with the outcome of the lost property, they can make a further application for compensation to the Prison and Probation Service Ombudsman.

This application will be made in confidence to the ombudsman, who will review each case on their individual circumstances.

If the Ombudsman makes any recommendation to the prison Governor on the complainant’s behalf and in their favour, the prison is still under no obligations to follow or act upon these.

However, it is common for a prison to carefully consider and act upon the majority of recommendations received by the Ombudsman, as such involvement is usually a significant indication that legal action may follow.

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For more information on:

  • Receiving a payment for a successful claim
  • The possibility of legal action
  • Starting proceedings