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Anti-social Behaviour

36. Mrs. Brinton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what measures he is proposing to tackle disorderly and anti-social behaviour. [24649]

Mr. Michael: The Crime and Disorder Bill contains a number of tough new powers to deal with anti-social behaviour. There will be an anti-social behaviour order which local authorities and the police will be able to seek from a court to restrict such conduct, with firm penalties for anyone who breaches an order; a child safety order, which is a welfare-based order to prevent children from behaving in an anti-social manner; local child curfews to protect both young children and their local communities and the establishment of statutory local crime prevention partnerships between local authorities and the police.

Mr. Pike: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to deal with criminal anti-social behaviour in neighbourhoods. [24631]

Mr. Michael: Anti-social behaviour which harasses and intimidates neighbours is unacceptable and the Government are determined to take action against it. The Crime and Disorder Bill includes a number of tough new powers to deal with such conduct, including anti-social behaviour orders; child safety orders; local child curfews; and statutory crime prevention partnerships between local authorities, the police and others.

Prisons (In-cell Television)

37. Miss Widdecombe: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to his answer of 15 January 1998, Official Report, column 285, when he expects to make a decision about the future of in-cell television; and if he will make a statement. [24650]

Ms Quin: The case for wider availability of in-cell television has been raised in a number of contexts, including the Learmont report in 1995, the all-party Home Affairs Committee report in March 1997, and reports by Her Majesty's Inspector of Prisons. The Government are reconsidering policy in this area and will announce a decision as soon as possible. Any extension of in-cell television would preserve the principles that this privilege should be earnable and similarly liable to be forfeited, and that prisoners should substantially meet the costs involved.

Terrorism (Information)

38. Mr. Randall: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the supply of information relating to terrorism to the United States of America. [24651]

2 Feb 1998 : Column: 517

Mr. Straw: The UK and the US co-operate closely in the fight against terrorism.

Prisons (Drug Testing)

Mr. Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is his assessment of the results of random drug tests in prison. [24618]

Mr. George Howarth: A comparison of mandatory drug test results from 1996-97 with those from April to October last year shows a reduction from 19.9 per cent. to 17.4 per cent. of random samples testing positive for cannabis. Similarly, the percentage of random samples testing positive for the opiates has fallen from 5.4 per cent. to 4 per cent. The causes of these trends are not yet established. Work is currently underway to review the entire Prison Drug Service Strategy. In addition, the results of two pieces of research on the effects of mandatory drug testing are expected imminently. Together, this should provide a clearer picture and indicate how these encouraging trends might be maintained.

Immigration and Nationality Directorate

Mr. Allan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to alter immigration and nationality directorate staffing levels to respond to the changing work load. [24638]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Immigration and Nationality Directorate's staffing levels depend on the resources available for immigration work. Plans for 1998-99 reflect the previously agreed funding but the future allocation of resources will be assessed in the light of the Comprehensive Spending Review.

Probation Officers (Prisons)

Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) for what reasons the Merseyside Probation Service has not been contacted to supply the probation input into HMP Altcourse; [24174]

Ms Quin [holding answer 22 January 1998]: At Altcourse prison, the contractor and Merseyside Probation Service have now entered into an agreement for the secondment to the prison of probation officers.

The contracts for the Wolds and Parc prisons require the contractor to negotiate the terms of probation service input with the local probation service. Responsibility for the provision of probation service staff at Blakenhurst, Buckley Hall and Doncaster prisons lies with the relevant Prison Service area manager.

2 Feb 1998 : Column: 518

The contractual conditions for seconded probation officers at the six privately managed prisons now open, Altcourse, Blakenhurst, Buckley Hall, Doncaster, Parc (Bridgend) and Wolds are drawn from the Framework Document published by the Prison Service under cover of Instruction to Governors 30/93 and entitled "National Framework for the Throughcare of Offenders in Custody to the Completion of Supervision in the Community". The Framework Document also applies to the secondment of probation officers to directly managed prisons. The terms and conditions of service of the qualified social workers at Altcourse prison are a matter for their employer, Group 4.


Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the prisons in England and Wales where (a) men and (b) women are being held under the Immigration Act 1988 powers. [26002]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The available information on persons detained in prison establishments in England and Wales under immigration powers as at 31 December 1997, by gender, is given in the table.

Table 1. Persons recorded as being detained in prisons in England and Wales(18) solely under Immigration Act powers, by gender, as at 31 December 1997(19)

Prison establishmentTotal detainees
Male detainees
High Down19
Holme House2
Wormwood Scrubs16
Total--Male Detainees431
Female detainees
Total--Female Detainees16

(18) Figures exclude persons detained in immigration detention centres and police cells.

(19) Data are provisional.

2 Feb 1998 : Column: 519

Mr. Singh: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many posts were abolished in the Immigration and Nationality Directorate in the 1996-97 financial year; and how many job losses are planned for the 1997-98 financial year. [26516]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: Over the financial year 1996-97, the total number of posts increased by ten. Current projections for 1997-98 indicate a decrease of around 150 posts.

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will decide on the review of the refusal to grant Mr. Farrakhan permission to visit the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement. [26261]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: We are carefully considering the representations we have received from a wide range of groups and individual members of the public. A decision on whether Mr. Farrakhan should continue to be excluded from the United Kingdom will be taken once that consideration has been completed.

Former Prisoners

Mr. Burnett: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the (a) standard and (b) future of post-release supervision programmes for former prisoners. [25983]

Ms Quin: The Probation Service is currently expected to supervise prisoners released on licence in accordance with the 1995 National Standards. Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Probation review the quality and effectiveness of this work as part of the process of inspecting each area probation service in England and Wales. All reports are placed in the Library. The general conclusion from recent reports is that in most cases the overall quality of supervision was satisfactory, although more could and should be done to improve compliance with the 1995 Standards.

Her Majesty's Inspectorate will shortly be publishing guidance on effective supervision programmes, drawing on the results of inspection and of research. This will apply both to supervision following release and to supervision under community sentences. All probation services will be expected to make use of this guidance. In addition, we shall be considering possible changes to the 1995 National Standards in the light of experience of their operation: legislative and other changes since their issue: and the outcome of the prisons/probation review.

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