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Letter from D. Lewis to Mr. Bob Cryer, dated 22 February 1994] : The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent Question about publication of reports of internal investigations into prison suicides.
May I begin by putting this in the wider context of how we respond to deaths in custody.
The Prison Service is committed to dealing openly with the often painful aftermath of deaths by prisoners in our care. The responsibility for conducting a public inquest into the death lies with the Coroner. The Service seeks to give the Coroner every possible assistance with his enquiries. Prison governors are instructed to provide any factual information which may be relevant. The Coroner is able to ask for further information and to call witnesses. Close relatives are entitled to attend the inquest and may themselves ask questions of witnesses. The inquest is therefore a full and public investigation into the circumstances of a death. All inquests into prison deaths are conducted before a jury.
We have recently reviewed our policy on the disclosure of information to the deceased prisoner's family. It has been decided
Column 149that documents made available to the Coroner may, subject to certain conditions, be given to the next of kin on request in advance of the inquest. This may include, for example, the medical records and other documents which contain evidence relevant to the purpose of the inquest. I enclose a copy of an extract from the Report of the Feltham Working Group, published last December, which explains our policy in more detail, including other steps we have taken to ensure families are treated with care and understanding in these circumstances.
It is not our practice, however, to publish the reports of internal investigations into incidents in prison, including suicides or other deaths in custody. Now would such reports be available to the Coroner. The internal investigation is a separate review of the facts which the Prison Service carries out for its own management purposes. As a matter of policy we reserve the right to do so in confidence for two reasons.
First, given the closed and potentially volatile nature of the prison environment publishing reports into prison incidents could cause problems for the day to day management of a prison. Knowledge within the prison of their contents and conclusions could, for example, lead to reprisals or disruption in the working relationships between staff. Second, the prospect of publication could discourage witnesses from co-operating with the inquiry and from being totally candid in the information they give to it. If they knew their identities were to be revealed, they might be at risk of being treated as informers. This could make it more difficult for the Prison Service to discover the truth, learn the appropriate lessons and take prompt and effective follow-up action, including the possibility of disciplinary action against members of staff. I should stress again that it is our policy to make all relevant factual information available both to the Coroner and to next of kin for the purpose of the public inquest, which will run parallel to the Prison Service's own investigation.
As you know Christine Madden has written separately to Mr. Pearson, the Prison Service Director with operational responsibility for Leeds Prison, about the death of her brother. Mr. Pearson has replied enclosing a copy of Anthony Madden's medical records and offering to meet with her to go through some specific questions she has raised about his death, and to discuss any other concerns she may have. You would of course be welcome to attend the meeting if Miss Madden wishes. A member of the Senior Management Team at Leeds Prison would also be present.
Mr. Bermingham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many (a) suicides, (b) attempted suicides and (c) instances of self-injury there have been at Hindley prison in each year since 1989 ; what were the ages of those who committed suicide ; and what were the offences or alleged offences of those who committed suicide ;
(2) how many (a) suicides, (b) attempted suicides and (c) instances of self -injury there were at Cardiff prison in 1992 and 1993 ;
(3) how many (a) suicides, (b) attempted suicides and (c) instances of self -injury there have been at Moorland prison in each year since it opened ; what were the ages of those who committed suicide ; and what were the offences or alleged offences of those who committed suicide.
Letter from D. Lewis to Mr. Gerald Bermingham, dated 22 February 1994 :
The Home Secretary has asked me, in the absence of the Director General from the office, to reply to your recent Parliamentary Questions on suicides, attempted suicides and self-injury at Cardiff, Hindley and Moorland Prisons.
Information about suicides includes all apparent self-inflicted deaths, not only those which resulted in verdicts of suicide at the Coroner's inquest.
Column 150National monitoring of self-injury commenced in 1991, and no information is available for earlier years. The figures collected nationally include all incidents of deliberate self-injury by prisoners, and do not distinguish between apparent attempted suicides and other acts of self-injury. Determining the level of suicidal intent is too subjective to produce reliable data about attempted suicide.
HM Prison Cardiff
Incidents of self-harm
HM Prison Moorland
Self-inflicted deaths : details
Karl Tout, 19, a remand prisoner charged with assault and theft. Brendan Tremble, 18, a remand prisoner, charged with aggravated taking and driving away a motor vehicle.
Incidents of self-harm
HM Prison Hindley
Self-inflicted deaths : details
1989 : John McGowan, 19, a remand prisoner charged with rape. 1990 : Jonathan Curry, 18, a remand prisoner charged with motoring offences.
Ian McKinlay, 18, a remand prisoner charged with rape.
Anthony Hook, 18, a remand prisoner charged with assault. 1992 : Lee Davies, 18, sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment for burglary and taking and driving away a motor vehicle.
1993 : Darren Taylor, 19, sentenced to 4 months' imprisonment for theft.
Incidents of self-harm
Mr. Andrew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what number and percentage of detainees at Campsfield house have had their applications for asylum determined ; what percentage of these have been granted ; what percentage have been deported ; and to which countries and on what grounds ;
(2) how many asylum seekers and illegal entrants have been held since January 1993 in prison and detention centres (a) before the opening of Campsfield house and (b) subsequently, categorised by ethnic origin ;
(3) how many of those who have been granted temporary admission to the United Kingdom without detention as (a) asylum seekers and (b) illegal entrants have absconded in the most recent year for which statistics are available.
Mr. Andrew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what number and percentage of detainees at Campsfield house have had their applications for bail heard ; what percentage have been granted ; and what percentage refused and on what grounds.
Mr. Gerrard : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list, by country of origin, how many visitors have been refused entry to the United Kingdom since the enactment of the Asylum and Immigration Appeals Act 1993.
Mr. Charles Wardle : The available statistics relate to calendar months and are given in the tables. Separate data for persons seeking entry as visitors who were refused and removed at ports in the United Kingdom are not available, but visitors are likely to comprise the majority of the total.
Table 1. Persons refused leave to enter and removed at ports in the United Kingdom, in the period August to November 1993. Geographical region |Number of and nationality |persons ------------------------------------------------------------------ All nationalities |5,742 European Community |81 Belgium |1 Denmark |- France |40 Germany |1 Greece |- Italy |16 Luxembourg |- Netherlands |10 Portugal |12 Spain |1 Other Western Europe |341 Austria |18 Cyprus |50 Finland |22 Malta |10 Norway |23 Sweden |48 Switzerland |20 Turkey |69 Former Yugoslavia |81 Eastern Europe |921 Bulgaria |5 Former Czechoslovakia |100 Hungary |47 Poland |623 Romania |49 Former USSR |97 Americas |935 Argentina |15 Barbados |11 Brazil |81 Canada |33 Chile |11 Colombia |135 Guyana |30 Jamaica |144 Mexico |19 Peru |43 Trinidad and Tobago |24 USA |372 Venezuela |17 Africa |1,509 Algeria |66 Angola |11 Egypt |6 Ethiopia |10 Ghana |142 Kenya |110 Libya |10 Mauritius |52 Morocco |36 Nigeria |426 Sierra Leone |134 Somalia |23 South Africa |255 Sudan |11 Tanzania |52 Tunisia |3 Uganda |57 Zaire |30 Zambia |23 Zimbabwe |52 Indian sub-continent |245 Bangladesh |50 India |107 Pakistan |88 Middle East |183 Iran |47 Iraq |13 Israel |51 Jordan |7 Kuwait |1 Lebanon |46 Saudi Arabia |13 Syria |2 Yemen |3 Remainder of Asia |364 China |38 Indonesia |8 Japan |58 Malaysia |137 Philippines |23 Singapore |14 South Korea |16 Sri Lanka |33 Thailand |7 Hong Kong<1> |30 Australasia |110 Australia |70 New Zealand |40 Others |1,053 British Overseas citizens |32 Other countries not elsewhere specified |527 Stateless and nationality doubtful |494 <1> British dependent territories citizens and British nationals ( overseas) only.
Table 2 Persons refused a visit entry clearance in selected countries<1>, in the period August to December 1993 Country of |Number of application |persons ------------------------------------ Bangladesh |1,350 India |2,780 Pakistan |3,400 Hong Kong |<2>20 <1> Corresponding data for other countries are not available centrally. <2> Including July 1993.
Mr. Gerrard : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum seekers whose applications were made since the enactment of the Asylum and Immigration Appeals Act 1993 are currently held in detention ;
(2) how many asylum seekers whose applications were made before the enactment of the Asylum and Immigration Appeals Act 1993 are currently held in detention.
Mr. Charles Wardle : The table relates to asylum seekers in detention on 17 February 1994. The date of application is not recorded centrally in illegal entry cases and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
|Applied before 26|Applied on |Total |July 1993 |or after |26 July 1993 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Port cases |38 |322 |360 Deportation cases |22 |49 |71 Illegal entrants |- |- |289 |--- |720
Ms Gordon : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the decision was taken that it was safe to return unsuccessful asylum seekers to Sudan ; from what date the new policy is to take effect, and what internal circumstances have changed in Sudan to justify this change of policy.
Mr. Charles Wardle : We have been prepared since August 1993 to consider returning to Sudan unsuccessful asylum seekers who do not qualify for refugee status and where there are no strong compassionate or other grounds for granting them exceptional leave to remain. This decision was made after a careful assessment of circumstances in both northern and southern Sudan and of the position of the different ethnic and religious groups in the country.
Mr. Gerrard : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list, by country of origin, how many asylum seekers have been refused entry to the United Kingdom, detained and deported since the enactment of the Asylum and Immigration Appeals Act 1993.
Mr. Charles Wardle : Between 26 July 1993 and 16 January 1994, 334 passengers who had sought asylum on arrival were removed from the United Kingdom following refusal of entry. Their countries of nationality are listed in the table. Of these passengers, 225 remained in detention for the whole period of their stay, and the remainder may have spent some time in detention.
|Number ----------------------------------------------- Afghanistan |1 Algeria |9 Angola |14 Bangladesh |2 Bulgaria |1 Burkina Faso |1 Brazil |1 China |3 Colombia |5 Congo |1 Czechoslovakia |1 Ethiopia |2 Former Yugoslavia |8 Former Soviet Union |7 Ghana |40 Hungary |2 India |11 Iran |3 Ivory Coast |12 Jamaica |1 Jordan |1 Kenya |4 Kuwait |1 Lebanon |5 Liberia |3 Malawi |1 Niger |4 Nigeria |31 Pakistan |9 Peru |1 Poland |8 Romania |30 Saudi Arabia |1 Sierra Leone |10 Somalia |11 South Africa |1 Sri Lanka |16 Sudan |2 Tanzania |3 Turkey |26 Uganda |8 USA |1 Nationality Doubtful (Palestine) |6 Nationality Doubtful |10 Zaire |16
Mr. Blair : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) to which countries asylum seekers rejected on third country grounds have been removed ; and how many have subsequently been returned to the United Kingdom by the authorities of the third country since 26 July 1993 ;
(2) how many asylum applications have been refused on safe third country grounds since 26 July 1993 ; and how many asylum seekers have subsequently been removed from the United Kingdom.
Mr. Charles Wardle : In the six complete months--1 August 1993 to 31 January 1994--since 26 July 1993 there were 459 refusals on third country grounds--431 in port cases and 28 in in-country cases. During the same six months, 177 port asylum applicants refused on third country grounds were removed or departed voluntarily. Corresponding information on in-country cases is not available.
Information on the destination of third country removals is not readily available.
In the period 1 August 1993 to 21 January 1994, 28 port asylum cases, who had been removed on third country grounds, were returned to the United Kingdom.
Mr. Andrew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the current level of funding for the immigration appeals advisory service and the refugee legal centre ; and what plans he has to increase it.
Column 155the Immigration Act 1971, under which funding is provided for both the immigration advisory service--formerly IASS--and the refugee legal centre. The provision for 1994-95 is £5.522 million.
Sir Ivan Lawrence : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to appoint the members of the independent panel which will consider appeals under the revised arrangements for paying criminal injuries compensation--the tariff scheme--which come into force on 1 April.
Mr. Howard : The Secretary of State for Scotland and I have appointed Mr. Michael Lewer QC, an experienced member of the present Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, to be the first chairman of the new appeals panel. Our aim now is to appoint a nucleus of about a dozen panel members within the next few weeks to deal with any early appeals under the new scheme. We would like some of those posts to be filled by other members of the present board. The full complement of appeals panel members will be appointed over the coming months as the number of appeals builds up.
Of the royal commission's 352 recommendations, we identified 308 as intended for action by Government. Some 130 of these recommendations have already been accepted and virtually all the remainder are still under active and careful consideration.
I hope that I will shortly be in a position to make available a further important response to the report of the royal commission by publishing a paper setting out how the Government propose to give effect to the royal commission's recommendations about the powers of the Court of Appeal, and new arrangements for considering alleged miscarriages of justice.
Mr. Michael : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he intends to reply to the letter dated 30 December 1993 from the hon. Member for Cardiff, South and Penarth regarding the South Wales police.
Mr. Shersby : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how much police time is being devoted to investigating war crimes in accordance with the provisions of the War Crimes Act 1991 ; (2) if he will make a statement on the future of investigations under the War Crimes Act 1991.
Mr. Charles Wardle : The Metropolitan police war crimes unit is staffed by 11 police officers and is supported by seven civilians. It was set up specifically to investigate allegations against war criminals arising from the War Crimes Act and it is dedicated full time to that task. As with other criminal offences, such investigations are entirely the responsibility of the police. I anticipate, though, that the unit's work should be completed by the end of the next financial year.
Mr. Gerrard : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many dog-handlers and dogs were used to police the protest against the construction of the M11 link road in Wanstead on Saturday 22 January.
Mr. Charles Wardle : I understand from the Commissioner that no dogs were used to police the protest. Six handlers and their dogs were deployed once the site had been cleared of protesters, to prevent any further incursions.
Mr. Gerrard : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police personnel were used to police the protest against the construction of the M11 link road in Wanstead on Saturday 22 January.
Mr. Charles Wardle : I understand from the Commissioner that the total manpower costs since September 1993 are £470,075. Information on the cost of support services and other resources involved is not available.
Mr. Charles Wardle : I understand from the Commissioner that the additional manpower cost of policing the protest on 22 January was £9,240. Information on the cost of support services and other resources involved is not available.
Mr. Charles Wardle : The numbers of people who many apply for or be granted asylum, or be admitted to the United Kingdom in other capacities under the immigration rules, are not subject to quotas. Each case is considered on its merits under the relevant rules. The available information is as follows. Between 1 January 1992 and 31 January 1994 some 7,590 nationals of the former Yugoslavia, excluding dependants, applied for asylum in the United Kingdom. The large majority of these cases are under consideration and the applicants are being allowed to stay in the meantime.
Column 157In addition, under arrangements announced in November 1992 and June 1993, the Government have offered to receive 1,000 particularly vulnerable individuals from Bosnia and other parts of the former Yugoslavia, and their close dependants : an estimated total of 4,000 people. As at 21 February 1994, 568 particularly vulnerable individuals and 781 dependants had arrived under these arrangements. Prior to this, 68 sick and wounded ex-detainees from Bosnia arrived in September 1992.
Information on Bosnians who have entered the United Kingdom in another capacity is not separately identifiable in the statistics.
Mrs. Bridget Prentice : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the prison service is now in a position to make a decision on when it will implement its business plan commitment to honour the payment of travel costs on second visits to prisoners.
Letter from D. Lewis to Mrs. Bridget Prentice, dated22 February 1994 :
The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent Question about the proposed extension of the assisted prison visits scheme to cover the second statutory monthly visit.
In line with the commitment, given in the Prison Service's Business Plan for 1993-94, the assisted visits scheme for England and Wales will be increased from 5 April 1994 to enable prisoners' close relatives on income support to visit once every 14 days.