UKs most dangerous prisoners allowed to keep budgies and chickens in cells

The most violent and dangerous of Britain's criminals are being allowed to keep birds in their cells, it has been revealed.

Inmates at category A jails – prisons for the likes of murderers, rapists, terrorists, and those criminals who pose a grave threat to society if they escape – can keep pet budgies, small parrots and even chickens as a reward for good behaviour.

Most of the jailbirds with pet jailbirds are serving life, reports The Sun, and it's the governor who decides who gets to have a pet, which are allowed on therapeutic grounds.

Birds are sold to prisoners for £5 and are taken away from them if they "neglect their responsibilities".

Under the scheme, the likes of terrorist and Al-Qaeda operative Dhiren Barot, along with cop killers David Bieber, Muzzaker Shah, and Yusuf Jamma would be able to potentially keep a pet bird, reported MailOnline.

MailOnline also reported prisoners can't take their pets with them if they are transferred to a new prison.

A Ministry of Justice spokesman went on the record to say that caring for a bird engendered a sense of responsibility as well as provided an interest for prisoners, particularly for those serving long sentences.

They added that owning a pet also had a therapeutic effect on prisoners, which benefited the prison as a whole.

Rewarding imamates with pet birds isn't the only instance of animals being used in a prison setting for mental health.

During the height of the pandemic, prison officers at Parc Prison, Bridgend in Wales brought their dogs to work through a scheme set up by charity Pets as Therapy, which works with 24 prisons across the UK.

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The BBC reported the dogs were brought into the prison in efforts to defuse tensions and to help inmates with their mental health while faced with Covid restrictions.

In 2018, The Mirror reported that a team of birds dubbed The Jailbirds, performed airborne shows during family fun days at the privately run HMP Altcourse, in Fazakerley, Liverpool, to lift prisoners'' spirits.

The jail's bosses said the gaggle, which included hawks, a kestrel and an owl named Brexit, boosted inmates’ mental health and led to a reduction in self harm and improved order.

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