A prison in Lincolnshire has been criticised in the national and local press for its investments in bariatric mobility scooters, which can cost up to £8,000 each, to help overweight inmates get around the facility.
The 1,000 acre North Sea Camp, which holds 420 criminals, has an increasing amount of overweight prisoners who need equipment funded by the taxpayer to keep them mobile, a report found last week.
Inspectors from the Independent Monitoring Board found that efforts were being made to cater for more overweight inmates, which included supplying wheelchairs and bariatric scooters.
It found however, that some mobility scooters with a larger turning circle were unable to access places such as the library and education unit because of narrow doors and tight turns.
Bariatric equipment with tighter turning circles and a wider wheelbase tend to be more expensive.
The report said: “The prison does not do enough to help such residents who are therefore not treated fairly.”
It also discussed one case where an obese prisoner was supplied with a “special bed and mattress” as well as a wheelchair and a mobility scooter.
More expensive bariatric scooters have much better turning circles because of a wider wheelbase.
Prisoners have a right to “mobility aid” under the Equality Act 2010, with scooters and wheelchairs provided by the Prison Service, NHS or local council.