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Court Escapes

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people escaped from a court in the United Kingdom in each of the last three years. [56298]

Mr. Keith Bradley: The information requested is not collected centrally.

Information relating to Scotland and Northern Ireland are matters for my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Scotland (Helen Liddell) and Northern Ireland. (Dr. John Reid).

Drink Driving

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people were convicted of drink driving offences and ordered to retake their driving tests in the last 12 months by courts in England and Wales. [56296]

Mr. Keith Bradley: The number of people ordered to retake their driving test following conviction for drink driving offences for the year 2000 (latest available) was 665.

Juvenile Detention

Mr. Dawson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what progress has been made with the Youth Justice Board's review of methods of physical control and restraint in juvenile secure accommodation; [56158]

Beverley Hughes [holding answer 14 May 2002]: The Youth Justice Board for England and Wales (YJB) commissions and purchases secure accommodation for juveniles from the prison service, private sector and local authority secure children's homes, and sets and monitors standards.

During the first six months of 2000, the YJB reviewed the control and restraint methods used in the local authority secure children's homes where it places young people. It concluded that it would be inappropriate to

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prescribe one method across all homes because of variations in size, ratio of welfare to criminal justice placements, and age groups. However, through its contracting arrangements the YJB requires homes providing criminal justice placements to use the control and restraint methods approved and specified by the Department of Health for use in that particular home.

The board does not plan to extend the physical control and care methods used in secure training centres (STCs) to the rest of the juvenile secure estate for essentially similar reasons. Custodial facilities vary significantly in size, age groups, staff/trainee ratios and individual operational circumstances. But all facilities operate to the governing principle that their control and restraint methods should minimise the risk of injury to the young person, staff, and other residents.

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many detention centres for children aged 12–15 he plans to build; in what circumstance children will be referred to the new detention centres; who will run the new detention centres; what activities will take place within them; and if he will make a statement. [52149]

Beverley Hughes: The Youth Justice Board for England and Wales (YJB) is responsible for commissioning and purchasing secure accommodation for juveniles from the prison service, private sector and local authority secure children's homes, and for setting and monitoring standards.

The YJB began a building programme in March 2001 to provide 400 new independent sector secure training centre (STC) places by 2005. These places will result from the expansion of two of the existing STCs, Rainsbrook and Medway, and the creation of five new STCs in areas of shortfall across England and Wales. The new STCs will be operated by private providers under private finance initiative contracts managed by the YJB in the same way as the existing centres. In addition, all STCs are governed by the secure training centre rules 1998.

The majority of young people detained in STCs are those sentenced to a detention and training order. However, STCs may also accommodate remandees and those who are subject to detention under s90 or s91 of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 for murder and other specified serious offences.

The aim is to provide a safe and secure environment where young people have structured, individually tailored training plans. These include 25 hours a week of education; one hour a day to tackle offending behaviour; regular practical tuition in social and life skills; and the opportunity through award schemes and constructive leisure time to develop new interests both in custody and upon transfer to the community. Regular contact with family and friends is encouraged and weekly family visits are funded by the YJB.

Prison Deaths

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what support is provided by his Department to the families of prisoners who have died in Her Majesty's prisons. [56854]

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Beverley Hughes: Prison service practice seeks to provide support to the family of the deceased in a number of ways. These include the provision at an early stage of the factual details of the circumstances of the death; an offer of a visit to the prison; and a letter of condolence from the governor of the prison which will include the notification of a named contact point at the prison.

Prisons also forward to families a leaflet that contains details of INQUEST (an independent support group) who are available to offer advice and support; the prison may offer, where appropriate, to make a contribution to the payment of funeral services; and any personal property is handed over.

Following completion of an investigation into the death, the investigating officer offers to meet with the family and disclose the investigation report to them, with the coroner's consent, in advance of the inquest.

Juvenile Crime

Mr. Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of those convicted of criminal offences against young people were themselves young people in each of the last three years. [55045]

Mr. Keith Bradley [holding answer 16 May 2002]: In 1998 and 1999, 10 per cent. of those convicted of criminal offences against young people where the age of the victim is known from the description of the offence were themselves young people. In 2000 the figure was 9 per cent.

Statistics for 2001 will be published in the autumn.

HMP Brixton

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the terms of reference are of the Review of Deaths in Custody in HMP Brixton; who has been appointed to conduct this review; when he expects a report; and if he will lay the report before the House. [57205]

Beverley Hughes: The Area Manager for London has asked the Governor of Wandsworth prison to conduct the review. The final report is due by mid-August 2002. I will place a copy of the report in the Library, subject to constraints of security and confidentiality.

The terms of reference are to review and report:







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Prison Statistics

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what estimate he has made of the (a) capacity of the English prisons system and (b) the number of actual prisoners in the English prisons system in each year since 1980–81; [56221]

Beverley Hughes: I have placed in the Library tables showing the population in prisons in England and Wales from January 1979 to March 2002, the In-use Certified Normal Accommodation (uncrowded capacity), and the population in prisons in England from January 1989 to March 2002 (the latest data available).

Prisoners

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many and what proportion of the prison population in (a) HMP Brixton and (b) England and Wales are non-literate or at severe disadvantage as a result of their literacy skills; what measures are being taken to address this disadvantage; and what targeting is in place to address those groups disproportionately affected by non-literacy. [57204]

Beverley Hughes: 40 per cent. of prisoners screened for basic skills at Brixton prison last year were found to be non-literate, and a further 43 per cent. were found to have serious literacy problems. This compares with 24 per cent. of non-literate prisoners nationally and a

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further 56 per cent. with serious needs. In addition to screening tests we will be introducing a diagnostic assessment for basic skills, and will fund purpose built or modified accommodation in local prisons to support assessment. We will then expect prisons to ensure that identified needs are addressed in an appropriate way, including support for prisoners with learning difficulties. Our basic skills strategy, which includes the widening of education targets at national and establishment level, is ensuring that we can address needs at all levels. New funding for classrooms adjacent to workshops will help to integrate basic skills into other prison activities. And we will ensure that teachers and trainers in prisons have the same access to training as their mainstream colleagues including in the new curriculum standards for English for Speakers of Other Languages.


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