The PPO reviewed the investigation (2017 – 74 – food). They stood by the original ‘investigation’.
They said that HMP Wakefield are not under any obligation to provide me with an alternative to the peanut butter and nuts, and that I have chosen not to accept these items on the basis that I feel they are not part of a low-fat diet. Really? Is this the lady saying that these items, which contain at least 50%, are low-fat items? Further, the kitchen was instructed by a doctor to provide me with a low-fat diet, not remove high-fat items without replacement.
She goes on to claim that I had made an unreasonable complaint by complaining that these items had been removed after I had previously asked not to receive them. Wrong. I had asked for them to be replaced. Something which had been agreed to by the Catering Manager; he had suggested fruit. This would constitute a ‘legitimate expectation’. I have never received fruit or any other replacement. Something the PPO made no reference to in their review.
She then claims that my pay analogy was “not a logical argument” because “the prison are obliged to pay prisoners for work undertaken” but “are not under any obligation to provide a supplementary vegan pack”. Here’s my argument.
1. As per the relevant PSI, prisons have to pay a minimum rate to prisoners for
work done. HMP Wakefield pays more than the minimum rate.
2. As per the relevant PSI prisons have to provide vegans with a minimum amount
of supplementary food items. HMP Wakefield provide more than the minimum
3. If I got paid more than the minimum rate but less than the other prisoners doing
the same work, this would create a disparity of pay; and there would be grounds
to judicially review that decision, and claim all of my back pay.
4. Therefore, being provided with more than the minimum supplementary vegan
food items but less than the other vegan prisoners also creates a disparity which
could be challenged on judicial review.
Illogical? I think this Assistant Ombudsman needs to buy a dictionary; while they are at it they should look up the word ‘independent’.
If I had intended to stay at this prison I would take this complaint further, maybe to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman or even apply for permission to judicially review the decision; however, there is little point if I will be in Scotland in a few months (hopefully) ; and then I really will have to battle a high-fat diet.
Be happy , be safe (and make sure you eat a lot more than 5 portions of fruit and veg per day).
Graham Coutts, 9th June 2017