Many of my fellow libertarians may identify this with slavery to which I say the following: by and large criminals bought and paid for their proclivities, whether theft, rape or murder*, before they read the fine print - their problem, not society's. That all said I found interesting:
The thinktank suggests the introduction of a new prisoner minimum wage. This would be less than the national minimum wage to reflect the costs of board and lodging but more than current inmate earnings to encourage prisoners to work and save for their release as well as pay into a victims' fund.
What could this "prisoner wage" be? Let's tot it up:
Average cost to house prisoner in the UK: £34,000 (any better references please send me).
National Minimum Wage: £6.08
Salary based on 40hrs @ min. wage.: £12650
cost of prisoner wage = 12650 - 34000 =
So the minimum prisoner wage is actually -£10.26 an hour; they still owe money for the cost of hosting them at our majesty's pleasure: so no wage then, at best, and longer working hours at worst.
And if prisoners don't like it? Tough: that case they can stay in jail indefinitely.
Thus solving the homeless problem as well; live on the street? commit a criminal act, refuse to work, live in prison for the rest of your life.