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Crime (Shropshire)

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many and what percentage of prisoners released from Shrewsbury prison entered employment, education or training after being released in each year since 2002. [29163]

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Fiona Mactaggart: The Employment, Training and Education outcomes for prisoners leaving Shrewsbury prison is given in the following table. The outcomes include those who attended FRESHSTART appointments at Jobcentre Plus, whereby prisoners who do not have a job or training place to go to on release are linked into employment, training and benefits advice and support immediately after release.
ETE outcomes (inc. FRESHSTART)186217266
ETE outcomes (inc. FRESHSTART) as percentage of total discharges263541

Electronic Tagging

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many tagged offenders have removed their tags since the policy was brought in. [19382]

Fiona Mactaggart: Between 1 April 2005, when the new contracts started, and 31 October 2005, a total of one, 664 subjects breached their curfew requirements by maliciously tampering with the tag. The figures include subjects who cut off the tag.

The system is designed to ensure that any attempt to remove a tag within the curfew address automatically registers as a tamper at the electronic monitoring service provider's control centre.

European Anti-crime Measures

Mr. Gauke: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether it is a Government objective that legislation in criminal matters should be approximated with other EU member states in accordance with European Commission suggestions. [35646]

Fiona Mactaggart [holding answer 8 December 2005]: The Government believes that some limited EU approximation of criminal acts and penalties is necessary. This approximation should be restricted to that which is necessary to combat serious cross-border crime or in support of European Community policies, such as against environmental crime or shipping pollution. The Government does not support widespread approximation or harmonisation of member states legal systems.

Approximation of criminal acts and penalties, where necessary, should be taken forward in a manner which respects the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality. The legal traditions of individual member states should be respected and action at ED level should be taken only where this was justified on the basis of identified needs.

The European Commission recently published a Communication on the scope for community competence to legislate in criminal matters following the European Court of Justice judgment of 13 September 2005 (Case C-176/03 Commission v. Council) annulling the framework decision on the protection of the environment through criminal law. The Government are still considering the legal and political implications of this communication.
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Mr. Gauke: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the Government's policy is on the European Commission's proposals for a witness protection programme at EU level; and if he will make a statement. [36323]

Fiona Mactaggart [holding answer 12 December 2005]: The UK Government stands ready to consider such proposals on their merits as and when they are made. We support work to encourage cross-border cooperation on witness protection and recently endorsed a Council of Europe Recommendation with that aim. We are also working with French colleagues on the development of a project to encourage cooperation between G8 countries.

Mr. Gauke: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what powers the European Commission has to establish criminal offences in legislation (a) which has direct effect in member states and (b) which member states are obliged to implement. [36324]

Fiona Mactaggart: [holding answer 12 December 2005]: The European Court of Justice's judgement of 13 September this year confirmed that where application of criminal penalties is essential to ensure that Community rules are fully effective, measures relating to the criminal law may be adopted under the treaty establishing the European Community. The court also confirmed, however, that as a general rule criminal law matters do not fall within the Community's competence.

The role of the European Commission is to propose legislation, which may then only be adopted in accordance with the relevant procedural provisions in the treaty. The Commission could present a proposal for a directive including a requirement for member states to establish criminal offences. If this proposal was consistent with the European Court of Justice's judgement of 13 September and if it was adopted by the Council (or the Council and Parliament in the case of co-decision), then member States would be obliged to implement the directive. Directives that are intended to confer rights on individuals can in some circumstances be relied upon in national courts by those individuals against the state where the state has failed to implement the directive by the prescribed implementation date, i.e. may give rise to direct effect. These conditions, however, would not be satisfied by the provisions of a directive which were concerned with the establishment of criminal offences rather than the creation of rights for individuals.

Female Circumcision

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps are being taken by his Department in relation to the practice of British parents sending their daughters abroad for female circumcision. [26973]

Fiona Mactaggart: The recent Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003, which strengthened and replaced the Prohibition of Female Circumcision Act 1985 has been widely used to raise awareness of female genital mutilation. The Home Office, the Department of Health, the Department for Education and Skills and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) have together provided information about female genital mutilation to police forces and others in the Criminal Justice System; doctors and midwives throughout the
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country; local authority social services departments and the education sector; and consular staff. Information about female genital mutilation—including signs that may indicate a child is being prepared for this to take place abroad—is also contained in guidance that the Association of Chief Police Officers issued to its members in March 2005; and in Working Together to Safeguard Children, the main multi-agency guidance on safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children. This guidance is currently being revised and is due to be published in December. Further guidance for consular staff is also being developed by the FCO, in conjunction with the police and social services.

The Government also continue to fund voluntary organisations in the UK that are working to eradicate female genital mutilation.

Home Detention Curfews

Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the average length of the curfew period was for those released under the home detention curfew scheme in each year from 1999 to 2000 and 2004–05. [30947]

Fiona Mactaggart: The requested information is in the following table, as recorded on the Prison Service IT system.
Average length of time (weeks) spent by an offender released on curfew, by year1 England and Wales


(12) Data for 1999 is not centrally available.
(13) Data shown for period up to 28 October 2005

David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of offenders on home detention curfew (HDC) failed to complete the HDC period successfully in 2004–05; and if he will list the reasons they failed to do so. [29369]

Fiona Mactaggart: Of the 33,743 offenders released on HDC from 1 January 2004 to 31 October 2005, 16 per cent. were recalled to custody during the curfew period, as recorded on the Prison Service IT system. The reasons why are as follows.

Prisoners who are subject to the Home Detention Curfew scheme can have their licences revoked under the powers available to the Secretary of State provided in sections 38A(1) and 39 of the Criminal Justice Act 1991. The reasons for revocation are as follows:

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