A judge was stunned after being handed a prisoner’s certificate for completing a course – in SLEEPING.
Paul Richards, 45, was remanded in custody while he awaited sentence for beating up his lover Lisa Kennett and possessing drugs.
While serving time at Elmley Prison, on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent, he went on an official course to help prisoners get a good night’s sleep.
Shocked Judge Heather Norton, who was handed a certificate stating Richards had completed the course, said: “This is the first time I have ever heard someone learning to sleep in their cell.
“I have never ever heard of anything like this being offered to prisoners.”
Oliver Kirk, defending at Canterbury Crown Court, said: “The sleep course is designed to help prisoners to meditate and get into a good sleeping routine in their cells and assist them with addressing their drug or alcohol abuse.”
He said some alcoholics and drug-users had difficulties “with day and night” because of their lifestyles and needed help understanding the need “to get a good night’s sleep”.
But the judge said: “Well that’s news both to me and my fellow judges here at Canterbury Crown Court.”
Heroin addict Richards, from Dover, Kent, attacked his lover Miss Kennett in January this year, an assault committed in breach of a previous suspended sentence.
Miss Kennett feared for her life during the attack, which left her with several injuries to her face and body, Canterbury Crown Court was told.
Richards was arrested in January last year and jailed because he had a suspended sentence hanging over him for an earlier attack on his partner.
He was jailed for a total of eight months at Canterbury Crown Court on April 5 after he admitted common assault, resisting arrest and possessing cannabis.
The Ministry of Justice yesterday (Thurs) confirmed that courses to help prisoners sleep were commonplace across Britain.
In 2010 violent prisoners at Shepton Mallet jail in Somerset were given yoga courses and taught ‘Taoist meditation breath work’ to teach them how to relax.
Inmates at HMP and YOI Portland were given horse therapy to stop them reoffending.
They were taught to control the movement of horses ‘simply by using body language and attitude’ in the hope it would stop them reoffending.