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21 Feb 2005 : Column 459W—continued


Mr. Allen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what expenditure was incurred by the Prison Service in providing faith-based offending behaviour courses at Dartmoor prison in the latest year for which figures are available. [216435]

Paul Goggins: There are currently no faith-based offending behaviour courses running at Dartmoor prison and hence no expenditure has been incurred.

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what percentage of prisoners have been denied visitation rights in each of the last five years. [217109]

Paul Goggins: This information is not centrally collated. Prisoners have a statutory entitlement to social visits, which are managed locally at each establishment. There may be a number of reasons why a social visit does not take place. Some prisoners choose not to take advantage of their full entitlement or are unable to do so owing to factors beyond their, or the prison's control.

Governors have the authority to prohibit or restrict visits to a prisoner, or to bar a particular visitor for such periods of time as is considered necessary in the circumstances. For example, restrictions may be placed on the prisoner or a visitor for public protection reasons, or where there is a specific threat to the security or good order of an establishment.

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps the Government takes to tackle (a) racism and (b) violence in prisons. [217175]

Paul Goggins: Race equality is a core standard for the Prison Service that must permeate everything that it does. The Service works hard to ensure that all aspects of current and future policy, functions and activities take full account of race equality issues and promote good race relations, adopting a zero tolerance approach of anyone who holds racist views. The Service has
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dismissed a number of staff for their actions and was the first public sector employer to prevent staff being members of racist organisations.

The joint CRE/Prison Service Action Plan Implementing Race Equality in Prisons: A shared agenda for change" represents a milestone for race relations in the Service. It specifically focuses on the key areas of work identified by the Commission for Racial Equality in its formal investigation, and sets out the work which the Service will undertake to meet its commitment to race equality by making race equality an integral part of all that the Service does.

The Prison Service is currently reviewing its Race Equality Scheme for 2002–05, and is drawing up plans to deliver race equality in 2005–08.

The Prison Service has a responsibility to keep prisoners and staff safe. A Service-wide Violence Reduction Strategy has been developed through the work of the Safer Custody Group. Prison Service Order 2,750 directs every public sector prison to have in place a local violence reduction strategy.

Each establishment is required to undertake regular analysis of the problem areas and provide an action plan to improve personal safety.

An intranet toolkit supports the violence reduction PSO and guides establishments to develop practical solutions, including environmental and physical measures as well as alternatives for behaviour management. Specific issues such as racism, are covered with good practice examples.

Prisons are audited against a violence reduction standard, and work towards a Key Performance Target on the rate of serious assault.

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what records are kept of (a) violent and (b) racially motivated behaviour in prisons. [217176]

Paul Goggins: HM Prison Service keeps detailed records of all violent incidents through a national incident reporting system. All establishments must enter any violent incident on to the system. These are collated centrally. The rate of serious assault is a key performance indicator for the Violence Reduction Strategy.

Following a review, a dedicated form for registering racist incidents is now available across the whole of the Prison Estate. This form can be completed by anyone who is a victim or a witness to an incident within the prison. The purpose of the revised form is to improve:

Information on racist incidents is broken down into the following categories:

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Establishments record this information locally and submit it to Headquarters on a quarterly basis.

As well as the racist incident reporting form, the Prison Service has revised its prisoner complaints system and the Request and Complaints form now includes a tick box to indicate whether the prisoner feels the incident was racially motivated.

The new system is supported by a central unit that holds and monitors information on all formal investigations commissioned across the Prison Service. This information includes the source, location and type of investigation, its causes, and its outcome, enabling the Service to monitor trends and identify areas of concern.

Probation Inspectorate

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the expenditure of Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Probation was in each year since 1997–98. [213572]

Paul Goggins: The budget of Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Probation in these years has been:
£ million

(202) Information prior to 1999–2000 has been archived and will need some time to retrieve. I will write to the hon. Member with the information when it is available.

The overall pattern of inspections undertaken each year has changed radically since 2000 in response to the creation of the National Probation Service (NPS) and other related developments.

The budget figures reflect additional work that has been undertaken by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Probation.

From 2001–2003 this included an additional programme examining accredited groupwork programmes delivered by the NPS.

From 2003–04 onwards this also includes the joint inspection of Youth Offending Teams, a major new programme of inspections, led and fully resourced by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Probation. This programme now takes up more than 40 per cent. of the Inspectorate's deployable resources on a continuing basis.

This additional work and other recent changes have resulted in a substantial increase in the output of Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Probation.

Probation Service

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the role is of the Probation
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Service in England and Wales in working locally with other criminal justice agencies on public protection issues. [216119]

Paul Goggins: Working purposefully with other criminal justice agencies to protect the public from harm remains a key priority for the National Probation Service (NPS). Together with the local police and prison services, the NPS is responsible for reviewing and monitoring arrangements for assessing and managing the risks posed by sexual and violent offenders within multi-agency public protection arrangements (MAPPA). This involves working with other criminal justice organisations, including the youth offending teams, together with local providers of health, housing, education and social services.

Chief officers of probation sit on local criminal justice boards (LCJBs) which are responsible for the local delivery of criminal justice system (CJS) objectives, improvement in the delivery of justice, the service provided to victims and witnesses, and securing public confidence in the system. In addition, the responsible authority for each crime and disorder reduction partnerships (CDRPs) is required to co-operate with local probation boards in developing and implementing strategies to tackle crime and disorder and misuse of drugs in their area.

Working together with partners under each of these headings the NPS will continue work to improve child protection arrangements, enhance the service to victims, and develop a co-ordinated response to domestic abuse. It will also prioritise work with prolific and priority offenders to help reduce their re-offending by ensuring swift assessment, priority access to interventions, intensive supervision and prompt enforcement of any breach of licence or court order.

John Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much of the increase in the probation service budget will be allocated to frontline services. [216373]

Paul Goggins: The probation service budget is increasing in 2005–06 by £61 million. The whole of this is being allocated to front-line services.

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