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Column 323conveyed is that the person shown is a child notwithstanding that some of the physical characteristics shown are those of an adult.". (10) In Article 3 (which, for Northern Ireland, penalises the taking and distribution of indecent photographs of children and related acts)
(a) in sub-paragraph (a) of paragraph (1)
(i) after the word "taken" there shall be inserted the words "or to make" ;
(ii) after the word "photograph" there shall be inserted the words "or pseudo-photograph" ;
(b) in sub-paragraphs (b), (c) and (d) of paragraph (1), after the word "photographs" there shall be inserted the words "or pseudo-photographs" ;
(c) in sub-paragraphs (a) and (b) of paragraph (3), after the word "photographs" there shall be inserted the words "or
(11) Article 15 of the Criminal Justice (Evidence, etc.) (Northern Ireland) Order 1988 (which, for Northern Ireland, penalises the possession of indecent photographs of children) shall be amended as follows
(a) in paragraph (1), after the word "photograph" there shall be inserted the words "or pseudo-photograph" and the words from "(meaning" to "16)" shall be omitted ;
(b) in sub-paragraphs (a), (b) and (c) of paragraph (2), after the word "photograph" there shall be inserted the words "or pseudo-photograph" ; and
(c) in paragraph (6), the reference to the coming into operation of that Article shall be construed, for the purposes of the amendments made by this subsection, as a reference to the coming into force of this subsection.'.- [Mr. Maclean.]
Amendments made : No. 85, in page 63, line 30, at end insert (4) The Police and Criminal Evidence (Northern Ireland) Order 1989 shall be amended as provided in subsections (5) and (6) below. (5) In Article 26(2) (arrestable offences), after sub-paragraph (e), there shall be inserted the following sub-paragraph
"(f) an offence under Article 3 of the Protection of Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1978 (indecent photographs and pseudo-photographs of children).".
(6) At the end of Part II of Schedule 5 (serious arrestable offences mentioned in Article 87(2)(b)) there shall be inserted the following paragraph
"Protection of Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1978 (1978 N.I.17)
13. Article 3 (indecent photographs and pseudo-photographs of children).".' - [Mr. Maclean.]
Amendments made : No. 86, in page 63, line 31, at beginning insert (1)'.No. 87, in page 63, line 35, at end insert
(2) In Article 15(3) of the Criminal Justice (Evidence, etc.) (Northern Ireland) Order 1988 (which makes a person convicted in Northern Ireland of certain offences relating to indecent photographs of children liable to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale) there shall be inserted after the word "to" the words "imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or" and at the end the words ", or both".'.- [Mr. Maclean.]
Amendments made : No. 293, in page 65, line 38, leave out three' and insert six'. No. 294, in page 65, line 38, leave out 4' and insert 5'. No. 295, in page 65, line 39, at end insert
( ) Subsection (1) above does not apply to an offence committed before this section comes into force.'- [Mr. Maclean.]
Amendments made : No. 371, in page 68, line 10, after him' insert
, or (if the contract so provides) by sub-contractors of his,'. No. 372, in page 68, line 26, leave out to run it' and insert with the Secretary of State for the running of it'.
No. 373, in page 68, line 27, at end insert
sub-contractor', in relation to a contracted out prison, means a person who has contracted with the contractor for the running of it or any part of it.'.- [Mr. Maclean.]
Amendments made : No. 374, in page 70, line 22, at beginning insert
( ) In subsection (5) of section 85 of the 1991 Act (officers of contracted out prisons), for the words "The contractor shall" there shall be substituted the words "The contractor and any sub-contractor of his shall each".
( ) In subsection (3)(b) of section 88 of that Act (intervention by the Secretary of State), for the words "the contractor shall" there shall be substituted the words "the contractor and any sub-contractor of his shall each".
( ) In subsection (5) of that section, after the words "the contractor," there shall be inserted the words "any sub-contractor of his,".'.
No. 375, in page 70, line 22, leave out the 1991 Act' and insert that Act'. No. 376, in page 71, line 2, leave out and'.- [Mr. Maclean.]
No. 377, in page 71, line 7, at end insert and
(d) after the definition of "prisoner escort arrangements" there shall be inserted the following definition
" sub-contractor' has the meaning given by section 84(2) above.".'.- [Mr. Peter Lloyd.]
The amendment would remove clauses 88 to 103 from the Bill. The Government have decided to change in a piecemeal way the criminal justice system in Scotland by introducing major changes to the prison system--not least the possibility of privatisation--without any pilot projects taking place.
Tonight, the Minister refused the amendment put forward by the hon. Member for Tayside, North (Mr. Walker) which would have allowed pilot projects to take place. We see tonight the possibility that privatisation will take place wholesale in the Scottish prison system.
The Scottish Prison Officers Association, like its brother organisation in England and Wales, feels aggrieved at the unilateral action which the Government have taken regarding its future. It is an organisation with no political affiliations. It certainly could not be described as anything like a militant trade union--in fact, it has not had a national
Column 325strike for 55 years. More than 95 per cent. of industrial disputes have been settled and they have almost always been about staff safety and manning levels.
Yet the Government have decided to stop the prison officers taking industrial action by refusing them the right to strike. The pre-emptory way in which the Government are treating the prison officers is leading to increasing fear and tension within the Scottish prison system. I witnessed that personally only a few weeks ago when, along with five parliamentary colleagues, I visited Barlinnie prison in Glasgow. Many prison officers told us of their concerns. One officer, who had 16 years service and had seen the disruption to the Scottish prison system in the 1980s, with riots in Peterhead and elsewhere, said that there was not the same frustration and tension in the 1980s as exists in the prison system at present. Yet the Government are going ahead with clause 92, which will contract out prisons, and clause 99, which will offer the opportunity of new prisons--not least the spectacle of floating prisons. The Government have never elaborated on what they mean by the concept of floating prisons and I should like the Minister to address that point tonight. Does the Minister mean disused oil rigs, as some people are suggesting ? If so, how does that make for a humane environment for prisoners ? The official Opposition's main objection to the Government's decision is that, in their piecemeal way, they are putting provisions into the Bill that will have major implications for Scotland, yet they have not addressed the problems that currently exist in the Scottish prison system.
The Home Office has given a commitment to cease the degrading and inhumane practice of slopping out. I think that the target date was 1996 which, perhaps, could be revised. The Minister of State, Home Office may be surprised to learn that the Secretary of State for Scotland has not uttered one word on a target date for ceasing slopping out in Scotland. There are 5,185 prison cells in Scotland, 44 per cent. of which--2,291--have no access to night sanitation. That means that more than 2,000 prisoners are locked up in their cells for 16 hours per day with no access to night sanitation. I have seen the supposed improvements that the Scottish Prison Service tried to introduce in Barlinnie by installing chemical toilets. That Government commitment has placed the prisoners in an even more degrading position and has caused even more tension among both prisoners and prison staff in Barlinnie.
In Scotland, the figure of 44 per cent. of prison cells with no access to night sanitation compares unfavourably with the position in England and Wales, where the figure is only 12 per cent. In Dumfries prison, which houses young offenders, none of the 146 cells have access to night sanitation. In Perth, Peterhead and Polmont there are virtually no facilities. At Barlinnie prison, the inmates in 829 out of 833 prison cells slop out. Notwithstanding that Lord Justice Woolf, Judge Stephen Tumim and former Home Secretaries such as Lord Carr have called the practice inhumane and degrading, the Government and the Scottish Office remain mute on the subject. If they are to do anything, they should deal with those issues.
The Government should also address the problem of overcrowding. The population of Greenock prison is 52 per cent. above capacity, Edinburgh prison is 36 per cent. above capacity, Inverness is 28 per cent. above capacity and Barlinnie is 27 per cent. above capacity. Past practice
Column 326suggests that overcrowding causes disruption, brings the danger of riots and, more important, prevents a positive relationship between staff and inmates. But the Scottish Office is careering down the road of prison privatisation.
If the Minister looks across the Atlantic to America he will see that prison privatisation does not work. A recent study in the Journal of Criminal Justice considered the prison system in America from the criteria of cost effectiveness, treatment of employees, quality of service and public accountability. The American prison service did not obtain pass marks on any of those criteria. We should not look to the United States for examples because in the US 1.25 million people are in prison-- proportionately, five times the number of prisoners in the United Kingdom. If we had the same proportion of people in prison in the United Kingdom, our prison population would be 250,000.
We should not adopt the American system ; we have nothing to learn from it. We should look to our European partners and to countries such as Denmark, where there is an extensive family support system and a much-reduced prison population.
We require, and Labour demands, a disciplined, humane and reforming prison system. We consider privatisation--prison privatisation--to be wrong, both in principle and in practice. First, those who are sentenced to imprisonment by the state should be deprived of their liberty by those who are accountable to the state, not to private shareholders. Secondly, privatising prisons diverts us from the proper priority of improving our Prison Service.
The Government set standards for running private prisons, and they should concentrate on maintaining them in all prisons--not just the small number that are privately run. A Labour Government would bring the Scottish prison system back within the state at the earliest opportunity. The Government should abandon their fixation with privatisation and deal with the problems that manifestly exist in the Scottish prison system. In that spirit, the official Opposition commend the amendment.
Mrs. Ewing : In supporting amendment No. 221, I wish to speak also to my amendments Nos. 321 and 323 to 329. I place on record my special interest, in that my elder brother was a member of the Scottish Prison Service, having recently retired from Polymont training college, and my nephew works in the service as an officer. I am concerned about the service's future. I acknowledge the importance of its qualified, trained members. In the context of the Bill, we are seeing privatisation of the Prison Service by stealth. That is wrong. Society has a huge responsibility to recognise the importance of qualified and trained Prison Service staff. I want to put a number of questions to the Minister. If he cannot answer them now, perhaps he will place answers in the Library or give them in a letter. How many prison officers have taken early retirement as a result of the Government proposals introduced during the progress of the Bill ? What are they being offered ? How many will receive a pension plan and redundancy payment ? How will that reduction in trained and qualified prison officers compare with the number seeking to be recruited into the Scottish Prison Service ? What is the current recruitment rate, by comparison with the number of staff in their late 40s or early 50s who are retiring early ?
Column 327How much are the Government spending in that context ? How much money are they putting on the table to ensure that men and women leave the Prison Service as early as possible ?
What is the Government's ultimate goal ? Do they plan to privatise the Scottish Prison Service ? Is this just the beginning of privatisation ? Is it the Government's ultimate intention to farm out the service to people who have no responsibility, accountability or reason to answer to elected representatives at local government or parliamentary level ? What do the Government have in mind ? The fundamental principle underpinning the issue is that if the state decides to pass sentence on an individual for committing a crime, it has responsibility for ensuring that that sentence is served under the auspices of the state. Does anyone believe that that concept can be privatised by individuals who are motivated by profit ? I hope that the Minister will address that principle as well as the other issues.
The hon. Member for Dumbarton (Mr. McFall) asked about floating prisons. I should mention that clause 99 contains a provision that would allow a prison to be situated on water. That is purely a contingency measure in case of pressure on accommodation. We have no plans to use that provision in the foreseeable future.
The hon. Gentleman asked about overcrowding at Greenock. I am glad to say that we plan a 50-cell accommodation block, subject to the availability of resources, which should alleviate the problem of sharing accommodation there.
The hon. Gentleman made a powerful plea for the ending of the degrading practice of slopping out. The prison survey published in 1992 showed that prisoners attached more importance to improving facilities for family contact, and we believe that that is an important objective, although we shall, of course, do our best to get more integral sanitation as soon as we can.
With regard to these provisions, hon. Members argued that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State should not have powers to market test prisoner escorting and custody. We believe that the Scottish Prison Service faces some major challenges in the years ahead if it is to keep in secure custody all those committed by the courts while maintaining the standards of humanity and propriety that the public have a right to expect. Clauses 88 to 103 will assist the service in that task.
We see no difficulty in the principle of private sector involvement. If a private contractor wins, he will have to meet the standards laid down in the contract. His performance will be carefully monitored, and the Secretary of State for Scotland will remain accountable to Parliament for the whole prison service. The hon. Member for Moray (Mrs. Ewing) wanted to know whether this would lead to redundancies. Redundancies are by no means an inevitable consequence of market testing. Areas that have already been market tested include those involved in the storage and distribution services from central stores, Fauldhouse, and the works and maintenance functions in four prisons. In four cases, the in-house Prison Service team was successful. However, the works contract at Barlinnie,
Column 328Glasgow, was awarded to AMEC Construction (Scotland) Ltd. As a result, £4.5 million was saved, which could then be deployed for other pressing purposes.
Mr. Michael Connarty (Falkirk, East) : I am grateful to the Minister for giving way. As he knows, Polmont young offenders institution is in my constituency. The concern there is about teamwork. A young person can be moved from a criminal life into a non-recidivist position, but it is all about teamwork. The concern of those officers is that the team will be broken up because of the market forces. Has the Minister considered exempting young offenders institutions from this terrible Bill ?
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : No detailed decisions have been taken at this point. The considerations that the hon. Gentleman mentioned about teamwork will be taken into account. The first step is, of course, to seek the powers in the Bill. I make the point again that in-house teams frequently win. If they perform according to the details of the specification, everybody benefits, as they provide value for money for the public.
Mrs. Ewing rose
Mrs. Ewing : The Minister mentioned market testing and the savings expected. Will he set against that the important aspect of ensuring that those in charge of people in prison are qualified and trained effectively ? Does he not see the dilemma in saving money against the principles of ensuring that there is that safety and regulation ?
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : The hon. Lady is right. These considerations must be properly taken into account in any tender specification put forward. I stress to the House that no less than £154 million was spent in 1993-94 on prisons in Scotland. We believe that we have a duty to get the best possible service and value for money for the taxpayer. As I mentioned earlier, the English experience has shown that market testing of prisons can be a catalyst for improving standards for prisoners, and value for money for the taxpayer. We expect the same to happen in Scotland and are engaged now on an ambitious programme of change and modernisation. There is no reason why the Scottish Prison Service should not meet the challenge of competition. In-house teams will be encouraged to bid and there is no reason why they should not win on merit.
We believe that contracting out prisoner escorting also holds out the possibility of achieving better value for money all round. For prison officers, it means that their skills can be used to extend the opportunities available to prisoners to deal with their offending behaviour and prepare themselves for release. There is now a proven track record of market testing prisoner escorting and custody arrangements in England and Wales with clear improvements in cost-effectiveness, whether contracts are awarded to the private sector or the in-house team. It is only right that there should be no barriers to Scotland participating in this process. I therefore recommend that the House reject the amendment.
Question put, That the amendment be made :
The House divided : Ayes 248, Noes 294.
Column 329Division No. 205] [10.44 pm
Abbott, Ms Diane
Adams, Mrs Irene
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE)
Anderson, Donald (Swansea E)
Anderson, Ms Janet (Ros'dale)
Beith, Rt Hon A. J.
Benn, Rt Hon Tony
Bennett, Andrew F.
Bray, Dr Jeremy
Brown, Gordon (Dunfermline E)
Brown, N. (N'c'tle upon Tyne E)
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon)
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)
Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE)
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)
Campbell-Savours, D. N.
Carlile, Alexander (Montgomry)
Clark, Dr David (South Shields)
Clarke, Eric (Midlothian)
Clarke, Tom (Monklands W)
Clwyd, Mrs Ann
Cook, Frank (Stockton N)
Cook, Robin (Livingston)
Corston, Ms Jean
Cunningham, Jim (Covy SE)
Cunningham, Rt Hon Dr John
Davies, Bryan (Oldham C'tral)
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)
Davies, Ron (Caerphilly)
Donohoe, Brian H.
Eagle, Ms Angela
Evans, John (St Helens N)
Ewing, Mrs Margaret
Field, Frank (Birkenhead)
Foster, Rt Hon Derek
Foster, Don (Bath)
Godman, Dr Norman A.
Golding, Mrs Llin
Grant, Bernie (Tottenham)
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy
Hill, Keith (Streatham)
Hogg, Norman (Cumbernauld)
Home Robertson, John
Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Howells, Dr. Kim (Pontypridd)
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)
Hughes, Roy (Newport E)
Jackson, Glenda (H'stead)
Jackson, Helen (Shef'ld, H)
Jones, Ieuan Wyn (Ynys Mo n)
Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)
Jones, Lynne (B'ham S O)
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd, SW)
Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham)
Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Kennedy, Jane (Lpool Brdgn)
Khabra, Piara S.
Kinnock, Rt Hon Neil (Islwyn)
Lestor, Joan (Eccles)
Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)
Maddock, Mrs Diana