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7 Jan 2004 : Column 418W—continued

Juvenile Offenders (Education)

Dr. Vis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many children in prison were awarded GCSEs in 2003. [145091]

Paul Goggins: In 2003 young people in juvenile establishments achieved 189 GCSEs.

Because the majority of learners in juvenile establishments have very low levels of basic skills, a national curriculum model is not necessarily appropriate for them.


Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many seizures of alcohol were made in prisons in the last two years, broken down by month; and what estimate his Department has made of the quantity of alcohol produced illicitly within prisons in that period. [144270]

Paul Goggins: This information is not recorded centrally and its collection could be achieved only at disproportionate cost.

The Prison Service is currently developing an Alcohol Strategy, which is expected to be finalised by March 2004. This will include a system for appropriate data to be collected centrally in order to assist the effective monitoring of performance and security.

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of (a) men and (b) women received into prisons in the last 12 months have been sentenced to immediate custody following breach of a community order. [144273]

Paul Goggins: According to sentencing data, 7,825 males were sentenced to immediate custody in England and Wales in 2002 following a breach of a community sentence which represents 9 per cent. of prison receptions under sentence during 2002. For females the corresponding figures are 904 and 12 per cent.

Information on the numbers received into prison because they have breached a community sentence is not comprehensively recorded in the prisons data, as prisoners may be recorded under the nature of their original offence.

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many added days were awarded as punishment for (a) drug offences and (b) other disciplinary offences in prisons in England and Wales in each year since 1997; and at what cost. [143384]

Paul Goggins: Information on the use of added days awarded as punishment for drugs offences and other disciplinary offences in 1997 to 2002 is published in table 8.5 in Prison Statistics England and Wales, 1997 to 2002.

Copies of Prison Statistics England and Wales are available in the Library.

Costs of adjudications are not held centrally.

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Sentencing Guidelines Council

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the membership, role and functions of the proposed Sentencing Guidelines Council; and what plans he has to ensure that there are representatives on the Council from all Government regions. [144743]

Paul Goggins: The composition and functions of the Sentencing Guidelines Council are defined by the Criminal Justice Act 2003. The Council will be responsible for setting guidelines for the full range of criminal offences and on general sentencing matters. These guidelines will apply to all courts.

The range of offending behaviour covered by an offence is usually very wide. The guidelines will help to ensure that there is a clear starting point for sentence and agreed aggravating and mitigating factors. The purpose of creating the Council is to achieve greater consistency of sentencing throughout England and Wales.

The Council will consist of the Lord Chief Justice, seven judicial members appointed by the Lord Chancellor and four non-judicial members appointed by the Home Secretary. Non-judicial members are eligible for appointment if they have experience in one or more of the following areas:

The criteria for membership are defined in the Act; these do not include any reference to Government Regions.

Sexual Assaults

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many sexual assault referral centre pilots there are; what assessment has been made of them; if he will make a statement on the new round of bids for support for such centres; and whether existing pilot sites can apply for expansion. [141197]

Paul Goggins: The Government are aware of seven existing sexual assault referral centres (SARCs). These are not pilot schemes; but are local initiatives that have been established jointly by the police and local health organisations.

The Home Office has funded research to establish the effectiveness of SARCs by evaluating three existing centres. Research findings will be available in spring of next year.

The Home Office recently made funds available from the crime reduction programme to support the development of sexual assault referral centres. In September, police forces were invited to bid for this funding.

Funding was prioritised for the establishment of new SARCs, however forces with existing SARCs were also eligible to apply.

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Bids were received from 18 police forces. Successful police forces have been notified.

Allocations will be announced in the near future.

Sudbury Prison

Mr. McLoughlin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many prisoners at HM Prison Sudbury have absconded during (a) 2003 and (b) 2002. [141398]

Paul Goggins: The figures given relate to financial years. In 2002–03 the number of prisoners who absconded from HMP Sudbury was 67. Of these seven have not yet been recaptured. As at 1 December 2003, 56 prisoners had absconded from Sudbury during 2003–04. Of these, 14 have not yet been recaptured. All prisoners who are recaptured after absconding from open prisons like Sudbury are immediately returned to closed establishments.

The following two tables set out the length of time taken to recapture these prisoners, and the number of abscondees serving sentences for murder, grievous bodily harm and sex offences.

Unlawfully at largeApril 2002–03April 2003 to date
1 day711
2–5 days1210
6–10 days33
11–20 days65
21–30 days73
31–50 days116
51–100 days102
101–200 days41
201–300 days01
Over 300 days00
Still unlawfully at large714

Offence2002–032003–04 to date
Sex offences00

Information on offences committed by prisoners during their period at large is not held in the form requested. As prisoners recaptured after absconding

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from Sudbury would immediately be sent to a closed establishment, Sudbury would not be informed of the subsequent convictions of those who had previously absconded.

Restraining Orders

Mr. Mark Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many restraining orders have been issued by the courts in each of the last five years. [143389]

Paul Goggins: Restraining orders for sexual offenders came into force on 1 June 2001 under the Sex Offenders Act 1997 as amended by the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000. 17 restraining orders were issued by the courts between 1 June 2001 and 31 December 2002. Figures for 2003 will not be available until next year.


Dr. Vis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many people have been prevented from committing suicide in 2003; [145088]

Paul Goggins: The Prison Service is aware of one case of a prisoner in a persistent vegetative state as a result of attempting to hang themselves in prison. Prison Health (now a part of the Department of Health) do not collate this information centrally.

In 2003 (to 31 October), 176 prisoners in England and Wales have been resuscitated following acts of self-harm, which reflect a considerable amount of staff effort and expertise. Many more prisoners are supported through periods of crisis with the help of numerous agencies and support mechanisms available to them in custody. All prisons offer access to the Samaritans, and most prisons operate peer support schemes, most commonly the Samaritans Listener Scheme. Further

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avenues of support include counselling and help with a range of issues including: substance misuse, healthcare, mental health problems and contact with home.

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