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PM Cameron calls time on jailhouse rock revival


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British Prime Minister David Cameron has said prisoners will not be allowed to hold parties behind bars after a minister proposed lifting a ban on arts events for inmates introduced by the previous administration.


"Number 10 has instructed the Ministry of Justice to make it very clear that there will be no prison parties," a spokeswoman for the prime minister told reporters Friday.


Justice Minister Crispin Blunt had suggested allowing prisoners to hold fancy dress parties and stage comedy workshops in a speech to a crime reduction charity Thursday, prompting howls of outrage from newspapers.


Cameron still had confidence in Blunt, the spokeswoman said, adding however that policy needed to be discussed "in the round" before it was announced.


"We recognize that arts activities can play a valuable role in helping offenders to address issues such as communication problems and low self-esteem," Blunt said in his speech.


The previous Labor government announced a ban in 2008 after women prisoners at Holloway in north London staged a horror-themed fancy dress event. Blunt had accused the previous government of pandering to the press.


"At the slightest whiff of criticism from the popular press, policy tended to get changed and the consequence of an absurd overreaction to offenders being exposed to comedy in prison was this deleterious, damaging and daft instruction," Blunt said.

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