My head is ever so gently spinning:
“The public are to be offered the chance to purchase shares in new prisons under a ‘buy to let’ scheme being considered by the Home Office, it emerged yesterday. …
“Home Office finance directors… hope that the public can be tempted to invest in a new-style property company that would build jails and then rent them out to private prison operators. This would provide a steady guaranteed dividend from the ‘rental income’.
“One incentive for small investors is that the government's punitive penal policy has seen prison numbers rise relentlessly over the past 10 years and would appear to guarantee a steady stream of rental income with no apparent shortage of prison ‘tenants’.”
Well, it’s true that it is increasingly hard to get a foot on the prison ladder these days. It’s only reasonable that we should consider co-ownership and renting.
But I have some concerns: are these private prison operators going to be subletting to any unsavoury characters? Who’s responsible for repairs, or any drug use that may take place on the premises? When my leasehold runs out after 25 years, will Strangler McGraw be forced to leave even if he still has six-and-a-half life terms still to serve? Or what about Frank the Knife, who’s serving 18 years – will he end up getting squatter’s rights and then refuse to leave?
And is there any danger of Sarah Beeny turning up with a camera crew and some sledgehammers for the lads of D wing to knock a few walls through?
Still, a safer bet than renting your property out to bloody students…