Prisoners should be allowed to celebrate Queen's jubilee with Union Jack cupcakes and bunting, says Raab

Dominic Raab said patriotic events in jails would help boost self esteem

Published

It is no “bad thing” if prisoners take part in celebrations to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, if that gives them motivation to “turn their lives around”, the Justice Secretary has said.

Dominic Raab made the comments after he told The Sun inmates should be allowed to benefit from the “sense of pride and patriotism” this week, possibly with Union Jack cupcakes and flags.

The Cabinet minister was speaking to the newspaper at HMP Exeter on Monday, where he was celebrating the success of a cooking scheme for prisoners with a Jubilee-themed afternoon tea.

He is reported as saying patriotic events in jails would help boost self-esteem.

“Even if it’s a really small thing, like Union Jack cupcakes,” he told the paper.

Dominic Raab
Dominic Raab

“That could be part of a programme of getting them skills through catering and work on the outside. It’s probably good for motivation, and something we should deploy.”

The Ministry of Justice said it is a matter for individual prison governors to decide whether to organise patriotic events, and they are welcome to do so if they feel they are beneficial to the regime.

On whether inmates could wave flags, Mr Raab told The Sun: “There’s rarely a place where a Union Jack isn’t a sign of self-esteem and confidence in the country.

“If that can be a positive motivating factor for people who’ve done wrong in the past, to get them to do right in the future, great.”

Asked on Wednesday if prisoners should be allowed to celebrate the Jubilee, Mr Raab said he did not think it would be “a bad thing”.

He told Sky News: “If offenders are willing to take a second chance to turn their lives around and start doing constructive things, and if taking part in the Jubilee celebrations gives them a bit of positive motivation in that regard, I don’t think it’s a bad thing.”