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Translation Services

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what translation services he ensures are available to (a) prisons and (b) probation services in (i) England and (ii) Staffordshire; and what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the translation facilities available to the police. [13495]

Beverley Hughes: The Prison Service race relations policy highlights the importance of prisons being aware of the needs of non-English speaking prisoners. To assist in meeting those needs, all prisons were issued with copies of the prisoner information books (Male Prisoners and Young Offenders, Women Prisoners and Female Young Offenders, Visiting and Keeping in Touch and Life Sentenced Prisoners "Lifers"). The books were issued in partnership with the Prison Reform Trust and are available in 21 languages (including English). Updated versions are currently being considered.

The appropriate translation services required for necessary communication with non-English-speaking prisoners is the responsibility of individual establishments. Each establishment has differing demands and needs for such services and establishments are advised to draw up and maintain details of local arrangements. The services are paid for locally.

Following negotiations with the Immigration Service, all prison establishments have access to the register of interpreters. Several of these interpreters also provide translation services. The Immigration Service also has a contract with K International which the Prison Service may approach for written translations. There is a National Register of Public Service Interpreters, which maintains a consistent and adequate standard.

Public documents produced by the National Probation Service (NPS) are translated into Welsh, and other languages as considered necessary. Some core materials (such as leaflets for offenders) are translated into the six languages where demand is greatest (Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Punjabi, Spanish and Welsh). Design, print and translation services for the NPS headquarters are provided via the Home Office Communication Directorate (under contract with K International). Translation services for the operational needs of the Staffordshire area of the NPS come from established local suppliers and are paid for locally.


There has not been any assessment made of the adequacy of the translation facilities available to the police. The requirement of providing translation services is a matter for individual forces in line with guidance issued under Code of Practice C of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984.

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Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many reported cases of the use of illegal drugs there were in prisons in England and Wales in 2000. [13929]

Beverley Hughes: Between 1 January 2000 and 31 December 2000, 89,784 mandatory drug tests were conducted on prisoners, of which 17,415 tested positive for drugs. The figures include some prisoners who will have been tested more than once.

Recidivism (Buckinghamshire)

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on recidivism rates for prisoners released from (a) HMP Grendon and (b) HMP Springhill in the Buckingham constituency in the last year for which figures are available; and how they compare with similar prisons. [14214]

Beverley Hughes: Grendon and Springhill prisons are co-located and Home Office reconviction rates for the two establishments are not recorded separately.

The latest two-year reconviction rates for prisoners discharged from custody cover the calendar year 1997. The two-year reconviction rate for prisoners discharged from Grendon and Springhill prisons was 29 per cent. This compares with a predicted reconviction rate, based on factors which take account of the previous criminal history, age distribution, and offence of the prisoners discharged, of 32 per cent. For all prisoners, the two-year reconviction rate was 58 per cent.

The findings from a seven-year reconviction study of prisoners who went to Grendon prison for therapy in the years 1984 to 1989 revealed that prisoners treated there had lower reconviction rates than had been expected had they not gone to Grendon. Further details of this research are contained in Home Office Research Findings Number 115, a copy of which is available in the Library.


Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on Christian Kainos wings in HM Prisons. [14805]

Beverley Hughes: In May 1999, the trustees of the Christian organisation, Kainos, sought the Prison Service's agreement to its continuing the operation of Kainos communities in the wings of four prisons. This followed financial and other difficulties with a predecessor organisation, Kairos-Apac. The Prison Service management board agreed in September 1999 that these communities should be permitted to continue, without any commitment of public funds and for a limited period, while they were evaluated for their impact, and in particular their claim to contribute to reducing reoffending. The evaluation was to be done by independent researchers and paid for by Kainos. The board would reach a decision on the future of the programme in the light of the evaluation.

The independent evaluation was completed in September 2001. The Kainos trustees provided the board with a copy of the evaluation report and asked the board to take an early decision on the future of the programme because Kainos' own funding for the programme ceased at the end of 2001.

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Among other matters, the evaluation examined the one year reconviction rates of prisoners who had been through the Kainos programme and a comparison group of nearly 14,000 prisoners with similar sentence lengths and from similar prisons. The evaluation report found that there was no basis for concluding that Kainos community prisoners have reconviction rates that are significantly lower than would be expected for similar released prisoners as a whole. This contrasts with other Prison Service programmes designed to reduce reoffending which typically show reductions of 10 per cent. in future reoffending against expected rates.

In the light of this finding, the board decided that the Kainos community should no longer continue to operate in prisons when its present programmes came to an end. The board also had concerns about exposing prisoners to intensive religiously based interventions in prison by any faith group. The board has made it clear that it respects the commitment of the Kainos trustees, and of the staff and volunteers who gave their time to the programmes, but it is determined that effort and scarce resources in prisons are devoted only to offender treatment programmes which can demonstrate their effectiveness, and which contribute to the Government's crime reduction agenda.

The evaluation report remains the property of the Kainos trustees. Kainos has given permission for the executive summary to be placed on the Home Office

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website and this is being done. I am also placing a copy in the Library.

Asylum Seekers

Mr. Allan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what research is being undertaken into the compatibility of the proposed system of smart cards for asylum seekers with other smart card systems being developed in (a) the UK and (b) the EU. [16051]

Angela Eagle: The application registration cards will be compatible with standard readers and the micro-chip that will be used will be a standard serial chip.


Mr. Cameron: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many people have been jailed for possession of heroin in each of the last five years; [16200]

Beverley Hughes: Information readily available on the number of persons sentenced by the courts in England and Wales to immediate custody for offences of (a) possessing and (b) supplying heroin for the period 1995–99 are given in table 1. This is the latest five-year period for which data are currently available. The numbers are broken down by sentence length.

Table 1. Number of persons sentenced by courts in England and Wales to immediate custody for offences of (a) possessing and (b) supplying heroin, by sentencing, 1995–99

Length of sentence19951996199719981999
Up to and including one month147240335434509
Over one month up to three months127252344561589
Over three months up to six months113187266347383
Over six months up to one year6189135194173
Over one year up to two years1921293945
Over two years up to five years1625253931
Sub-total—up to five years4838141,1341,6141,730
Over five years up to seven years31232
Over seven years00000
Up to and including one month42321
Over one month up to three months816141514
Over three months up to six months1317393959
Over six months up to one year256575107127
Over one year up to two years7395208371406
Over two years up to five years2243277229801,427
Sub-total—up to five years3475221,0611,5142,034
Over five years up to seven years2966143107123
Over seven years921333445


Home Office Drugs and Alcohol Research Unit

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