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1 Mar 2004 : Column 755W—continued


Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on levels of re-offending among prisoners with mental illness. [155908]

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Paul Goggins: There is no central record of re-offending by prisoners with mental illness.

We do know that 6 per cent. of restricted patients under the Mental Health Act 1983 discharged in 1999 were reconvicted of a standard list offence within two years of discharge, and 1 per cent. of a grave offence.

Restricted patients make up about a quarter of offenders dealt with by way of a hospital disposal in lieu of a prison sentence.

Figures are not kept centrally for re-offending by unrestricted patients with hospital orders.


Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he is taking to monitor differences in the sentencing of offenders from different ethnic groups in (a) England and Wales and (b) London. [155955]

Paul Goggins: Section 95 Criminal Justice Act 1991 requires the Home Office to publish statistics annually to help those involved in the administration of justice avoid discrimination against any persons on the grounds of race or sex or any improper grounds. The first edition of what has become a series of publications on Race and the Criminal Justice System was published in 1992 including demographic data and prison statistics.

The Home Office is monitoring sentences handed down by the Crown court in terms of the ethnicity of the person prosecuted. A similar programme of monitoring is being developed for magistrates courts. This data will be broken down into the 42 Local Criminal Justice areas (including London) and will also be available for England and Wales as a whole. It has already been published for a number of areas and will be published for other areas once it is of sufficient quality to be statistically acceptable as showing an accurate picture.

The "Ethnic Minorities in the Criminal Courts: Perceptions of Fairness and Equality of Treatment" study published by the Department of Constitutional Affairs (Hood, Shute and Seemungal 2003) concludes that although perceptions have improved since previous studies, more work is needed to eliminate perceived discrimination. The report reveals that although there is no hard research to prove this one way or another, around two thirds of the complaints about racial bias concerned perceived inequitable sentencing, with Black and Minority Ethnic defendants believing they had received a harsher sentence than would have been handed down to a similarly placed white defendant—CJS professionals e.g. lawyers had a stronger perception still. This is likely to be a contributory factor to low BME confidence in respecting the rights of defendants.

The CJS Race Unit will now work to establish whether there is any quantitative evidence of different sentencing between people in different BME and white populations while controlling for type of offence and other contributing or mitigating factors. If there is such evidence the Unit will consider actions to counter it, if not they will address the perception that there is

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differential sentencing. The Unit envisages awarding the research contract in April 2004. First results are then expected Spring 2005 with completion Spring 2006.

Sex Offenders

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what programmes are in place to rehabilitate high risk sexual offenders; and what the reconviction rate is of offenders who have completed the programmes. [155339]

Paul Goggins: Both Her Majesty's Prison Service and the National Probation Service provide treatment programmes to challenge attitudes and beliefs which offenders use to justify their crimes and increase their understanding of the harm caused to victims. In addition new skills are acquired by offenders to enable them to recognise and deal more appropriately with high risk situations and high risk mood states on release. Details of all the programmes are contained in the Home Office publication "The Treatment and Risk Management of Sexual Offenders in Custody and in the Community", copies of which have been placed in the Library.

This document also contains reconviction data on offenders who have completed the Prison Service programmes. Insufficient time has elapsed to collect similar data on the accredited community-based programmes.


Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent discussions he has had on protecting shopworkers from violence; and if he will make a statement. [154658]

Ms Blears [holding answer 12 February 2004]: Any form of violence is totally unacceptable and must be dealt with accordingly. I fully understand the detrimental and damaging effect that crime against business has on the community.

My right hon. Friend, the Home Secretary attended the "National Respect for Shop Workers Day" organised by the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers' (USDAW) in September. The key aims were to demonstrate to the public that the Government, the retail industry and the retail trade union are campaigning together to tackle crime. The Government welcome the work USDAW has undertaken through its Freedom From Fear campaign to raise awareness of violence against shopworkers. The Government are tackling this issue, for example by:

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Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) can also be used to protect shopworkers from violence. The orders can prohibit persons entering specified areas such as shopping centres, or prohibit persons engaging in specified anti-social acts eg shoplifting, verbally abusing shopworkers, writing graffiti on a shop, or prohibit persons approaching specified persons. Breach of an ABSO is a criminal offence attracting a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment.

The number of people experiencing violence at work has actually fallen by 27 per cent. since 1999 according to the most recent British Crime Survey published on 27 January 2004.


Better Buildings Task Force

Sue Doughty: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what his policy is on the appointment of representatives of the energy efficiency industry to his Better Buildings Task Force. [157025]

Phil Hope: Industry representation is essential for the successful delivery of the objectives of the Sustainable Buildings Task Group. That is why the Group contains representatives from the energy efficiency sector, as well as the volume house building, developer, water industry, and waste and timber sectors.

Building Land (Havering)

John Cryer: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how much Brownfield land is available for building in the London borough of Havering. [157327]

Keith Hill: The 2002 National Land Use Database of Previously Developed Land shows a total of 159 hectares of previously developed land that may be available for development in Havering. This includes 74 hectares of vacant or derelict land and buildings, and 85 hectares currently in use with the potential for development.

Area-based Initiatives

Mr. Edward Davey: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list for each area-based initiative for which his Department is responsible the amount (a) originally budgeted for 2002–03, (b) not spent in 2002–03, (c) carried forward to 2003–04 and (d) budgeted for 2003–04. [152794]

Yvette Cooper: The information is as follows.

£ million

ProgrammeOriginal budget 2002–03Not spent in 2002–03C/F to 2003–04Budgeted for 2003–04
Community Chest14.980.6(32)25
European Regional Development Fund Areas210.125.225.2(33)230.5
Liveability Fund0007
Market Renewal Pathfinders2521.121.1(34)61. 1
Neighbourhood Management110.3(32)23
Neighbourhood Renewal Fund300(35)(35)400
Neighbourhood Wardens/Street Wardens17.250.4(32)10
New Deal for Communities186l.9(32)265

(32) Allocations for both years in question are worked out annually on the basis of delivery plans from grant recipients. Where individual projects span two or more years across delivery plans these will be covered by the allocations given.

(33) This is the budget after the spring supplementary adjustments and includes EYF drawn down from prior years.

(34) This is inclusive of funds carried forward from 2002–03.

(35) There are no confirmed figures for Neighbourhood Renewal Fund expenditure in 2002–03. NRF Statements of Use are being analysed at present.

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