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Prisoners (Gender Reassignment)

Dr. Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people who are currently serving a prison sentence (a) have undergone some part of the gender reassignment process, (b) are undergoing treatment for gender reassignment and (c) have requested an assessment for gender reassignment. [155267]

Mr. Boateng: Information is not routinely collected centrally on the number of prisoners with gender dysphoria, or who are receiving treatment for that condition in prison. However, 16 cases of prisoners needing assessment, care or treatment for gender dysphoria have been drawn to the attention of Prison Service Headquarters in recent years.

Departmental Policies (Chichester)

Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will set out, with statistical information relating as directly as possible to the Chichester constituency, the effects on Chichester of his Department's policies and actions since 2 May 1997. [155287]

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Mr. Charles Clarke: The Home Office is working to build a safe, just and tolerant society in which the rights and responsibilities of individuals, families and communities are properly balanced, and the protection and security of the public are maintained. Detailed information on the impact of Home Office policies across the full range of responsibilities is set out in Home Office annual reports. A copy of the most recent report, Home Office Annual Report 1999-2000, is available in the Library. The next report will be available shortly. Information on recorded crime and policing is also published. 'Recorded Crime England and Wales, 12 months to September 2000' and 'Police Service Strength England and Wales, 30 September 2000' can be found in the Library. The recorded crime statistics include information on recorded crime by Basic Command Unit and Crime and Disorder Partnerships.

The impact of Home Office policies and actions is not normally examined by constituency and the statistics which the Department collects, such as recorded crime, cannot be matched in the way requested, although set out are examples relating to the Chichester constituency or the immediate locality:

Closed Circuit Television (CCTV)

Two schemes submitted by Chichester district council were awarded a total of approximately £320,000. Selsey CCTV Provision was awarded over £125,000 for a five-camera system to cover the High Street shopping area. The scheme aims to reduce overall crime in the Selsey parish by 15 per cent. over three years, with incidents of criminal damage, violence against the person and vehicle crime greatly reduced.

Midhurst CCTV Provision was awarded almost £195,000 for eight cameras to cover the length of the main shopping area, Midhurst Grammar School and surrounding residential areas. The scheme will reduce overall crime in the Midhurst parish area by 15 per cent. over three years, with incidents of criminal damage, violence against the person and vehicle crime greatly reduced.

Youth Offending

The West Sussex Youth Offending Team (YOT) comprises staff and resources from West Sussex County Council, Sussex police, the Probation Service and the health authority and is a countywide service. It brings together staff from the five partner agencies to form an integrated, operational team. The YOT has been involved at a strategic and operational level in the key issues around 'speeding up youth justice', which has assisted in bringing down the average times for the processing of all youth cases, including Persistent Young Offenders. The court service has been improved by providing informed and proactive court duty officers to the increased number of scheduled youth courts, to promote the issues which assist in reducing unnecessary delays in the processing of young offenders.

A Remand Management Service has been established in partnership with RPS Rainer. This has resulted in a reduction in the number of young people being remanded to custody and local authority accommodation. A mentoring service, in partnership with Divert and the Crime Reduction Initiative has achieved the recruitment of over 30 trained mentors matched with the high-risk and persistent offenders. In partnership with Parentlink, a

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parenting support programme offers both voluntary and mandatory programmes to parents of teenagers in trouble. A substance and alcohol misuse counselling service, which is a partnership between West Sussex Health Authority, the Drug Action Team (DAT) and Crime Reduction Initiative has been set up using DAT development funds and charitable funding. West Sussex county council and the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children are working in partnership on a young abusers assessment and treatment project which is aimed at young people who sexually abuse other children and young people. The YOT are also involved in an appropriate adult project. This aims to recruit and train volunteers to meet the requirements of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 in providing trained adults to custody suites to assist in the interviewing of arrested children and young people.

More generally, all of the policies of the Home Office will impact on the residents of Chichester to a greater or lesser extent. For example:

Information on the Home Office and its policies is also published on its website

Prisoner Education

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will make a statement on the provision of education and skills training to inmates of HM prisons; [155772]

Mr. Boateng: I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to a question from my hon. Friend the Member for Stockport (Ms Coffey) on 14 February 2001, Official Report, column 172W.

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what (a) provision of ITC skills training programmes in HM Prisons there is and (b) plans he has to extend such provision. [155751]

Mr. Boateng: The Prison Service is working to include Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the education provision of all Prison Service establishments. The Service held an Information Technology (IT) conference in London on 21 March and it is intended to follow this up by creating a steering group to facilitate IT strategy and policy for all prison education departments. The Prison Service is developing a number of pilots including the University for Industry/"learn direct" in six establishments, aimed at enhancing basic and key skills using interactive computing technology; the European Computer Driving Licence in the Yorkshire and Humberside area; the computer repair and maintenance (CRAM) project, in conjunction with the National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders (NACRO) in Brighton, to teach prisoners how to repair

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computers and linked to a job search programme; the Leonardos pilot, a tri-national project run by the probation service to enhance learning for different nationalities.

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to encourage inmates of HM prisons to participate in distance learning. [155770]

Mr. Boateng: The Prison Service has arrangements for eligible prisoners to undertake degree and other higher education courses with the Open University. Many prison education departments facilitate open learning through the National Extension College while some use courses provided by the National Distance Learning College. In the longer term the Prison Service partnership with the University for Industry will provide access for prisoners to distance learning packages.

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he has plans to make the internet accessible to inmates of HM Prison Service. [155768]

Mr. Boateng: There are no plans to provide prisoners with unrestricted direct access to the Internet. Many prison education departments have internet accessible computers allowing information to be downloaded by the relevant member of staff when required.

Prisoners do have access to internet based learning material through the Learn Direct partnership. There are also a number of education departments that have CD-ROM based learning material with the aim of improving literacy and numeracy, thereby avoiding the need for direct internet access.

Foreign Nationals

Mr. Watts: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to replace the application forms for foreign nationals wishing to apply for leave to remain in the United Kingdom. [155987]

Mrs. Roche: The current application forms are valid for use until 14 April 2001. Revised forms will be prescribed before then and should be available by the end of March 2001. From the time they are issued until 14 April 2001, applications may be made on either the newly prescribed forms or the current versions. Only the new forms may be used for applications made on or after 15 April 2001. Copies will be placed in the Library as soon as they are available.

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