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Fiona Mactaggart: Details of the role and functions of Regional Offender Managers were contained in the information pack sent to all prospective candidates in the summer of 2004. A copy of the information pack has been placed in the House of Commons Library for Members to read.
Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the latest job descriptions are of each of the regional offender managers working for the National Offender Management Service. 
Fiona Mactaggart: Job specifications and selection criteria for the post of regional offender manager were contained in the information pack sent to all prospective candidates in the summer of 2004. A copy of the information pack has been placed in the House of Commons Library.
Fiona Mactaggart [holding answer 23 January 2006]: The ten regions overseen by the regional offender managers (ROMs) are co-terminous with the prison service areas, with the exception of the south-east where three prison service areas fall within the ROM's remit. There are no plans to change these boundaries.
Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the job description for regional offender managers will be published; if he will place a copy in the Library; and if he will make a statement. 
Fiona Mactaggart: The job description for the post of Regional Offender Manager was contained in the information pack sent to all prospective candidates in the summer of 2004. A copy of the information pack has been placed in the House of Commons Library.
|Yorkshire and Humberside||6|
|East of England||7|
Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what research the Government has evaluated on the likelihood of children with parents serving a custodial sentence being at risk of serving a future custodial sentence themselves; and if he will make a statement on the Department's plans to support children assessed to be at higher risk of offending due to their family circumstances. 
Fiona Mactaggart: There is no research which directly answers this question. However, there is a body of research evidence which shows that having parents who have been convicted is strongly predictive of their sons being convicted or cautioned (Maguire et al, 1997; Dodd and Hunter, 1992).
The National Reducing Re-offending Action Plan, published on July 19, 2004, committed the Government to developing a cross-government approach to providing information, advice and support for offenders' children and families. £2.04 million has been secured by the Home Office from the Invest to Save Budget to pilot a regional approach over three years which will evidence a model for engagement and inform national roll-out in partnership with the Voluntary and Community Sector, DfES, DWP, the Learning and Skills Council and the Legal Services Commission. The Home Office works closely with a wide range of organisations, including the DfES, on preventing young people who are at risk as a result of a number of factors, including family circumstances, from involvement in offending and a range of negative outcomes. For example, the Youth Justice Board and Youth Offending Teams provide a number of targeted services for children and young people at high risk of offending. In addition, the Government's Every Child Matters reforms are an essential part of this work as they shift the focus of children's services towards early intervention and prevention. The DfES are supporting five organisations providing adult relationship and parenting skills support to prisoners' families.
Mr. Fallon: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress has been made in requiring the Prison Service Pay Review Body to consider local pay; and if he will make a statement. 
Fiona Mactaggart [holding answer 23 January 2006]: Local pay additions are currently paid to staff at 28 sites to address local recruitment and retention difficulties. In October 2005, the Prison Service proposed to extend the scheme to five new sites, in its submission to the Prison Service Pay Review Body (PSRB). The PSRB is due to make its recommendations in February.
Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what research his Department has commissioned into strategies to raise the reading age of serving prisoners whose reading age is significantly below the national average for their age group. 
Fiona Mactaggart: Calculation of age-related average reading scores is only feasible for children up to about the age of 16, and adults have neither individual reading ages nor average ones for separate age groups.
However, a few studies have been conducted expressly on this topic. In 2005, the Home Office published findings based on a longitudinal evaluation of basic skills training for prisoners which indicated that the only significant predictor to improved literacy and numeracy was the amount of training received (over 30 hours). This can be found at: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs05/r260.pdfpercent5D The Home Office has also developed a new longitudinal study of prisoners that aims to explore how interventions, including education and employment programmes, might work in combination to address the range of prisoners' needs.
The study, Surveying Prisoner Crime Reduction (SPCR), began in late 2005 and is of four years duration. It should greatly improve our knowledge about the nature of prisoners problems and needs on reception, how prison interventions are targeted, the extent of association between participation in interventions and post-release outcomes, as well as which prisoners benefit the most from interventions.
Fiona Mactaggart: Information on the number of officers employed in each of the last five years is contained in the table. The figures include prison officers, senior officers and principal officers as well as specialist prison officer grades. The figures represent a snapshot staffing level on the last date of each year.
|As at 31 December each year:||Total officer grades|
Mr. Garnier: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) full-time and (b) full-time equivalent literacy and numeracy teachers have been employed by the Prison Service in each of the last five years for which figures are available. 
Learning and skills for offenders in custody in England are delivered by contractors. These contract arrangements mean that the teachers engaged in delivering literacy and numeracy in English
26 Jan 2006 : Column 2365W
prisons are employed not by the Prison Service but by external providers, largely further education colleges under the current arrangements.
Numbers of literacy and numeracy teachers employed by contractors are not collected centrally and could be collected only at disproportionate cost. The Prison Service employs a total of 13.5 full-time equivalent literacy and numeracy teachers in its three establishments in Wales. Those arrangements have been in place since 1 September 2005. Prior to that, the Prison Service employed no literacy and numeracy teachers in England and Wales.
Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what resources are made available to assist inmates preparing for release in finding (a) work and (b) accommodation; what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of these resources; and if he will make a statement. 
Fiona Mactaggart: In purely financial terms, over £60 million is available as part of the PS Plus two programme, and an additional £14 million a year through the Prison Service Custody to Work Scheme. The Voluntary and Community Sector is also an important provider of these services and a leading partner in several large European Union funded programmes, such as Women into Work (SOVA) and PRISE (Rainer).
There is also a significant amount of time invested in preparing prisoners for release by staff from both the Prison and Probation services, from other Government departments and by voluntary and private sector partners. Significant progress has been made in both areas: nearly all prisons now have housing advice workers drawn from a wide range of providers and Jobcentre Plus surgeries to provide job advice. In 200405 the proportion of recorded offenders released from prison without accommodation to go to fell by one third; and over 41,000 had an education, job or training place to go to on release.
26 Jan 2006 : Column 2366W
Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what account he has taken of the views of inmates in the organisation of prison education; and if he will make a statement. 
Fiona Mactaggart: The Department for Education and Skills, along with the Home Office and the Department of Work and Pensions, published on 15 December a Green Paper on offender learning: Reducing Re-offending through Skills and Employment". As part of the policy development for this document, officials invited a wide range of views, including those of organisations representing the rehabilitation and education of offenders.
Officials, and the Minister for Skills, Phil Hope, visited prisons and probation areas, where they were able to speak directly to offenders and staff. Two discussion groups were also run with prisoners prior to publication, focusing in particular on changes that would improve education provision. Offenders will also be able to take part in the Green Paper consultationfurther discussion groups will be run to facilitate this. In addition, prisoners can on a day to day basis make their views known on education matters through other means, such as talking directly to prison or probation staff including the head of learning and skills; and they may refer matters to the prisons and probation ombudsman.
Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the levels of overcrowding were for (a) each prison and (b) the whole Prison Estate broken down by (i) public and (ii) private sector prisons for each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. 
Fiona Mactaggart: The percentage of overcrowding in each prison is shown in the following table. Figures are shown for each financial year since 199899. The table shows the sector into which each prison falls and includes totals for public prisons, contracted out prisons and for the whole prison estate.
|Establishment name||Public/Contracted out|
|199899||19992000||200001||200102||200203||200304||200405||200506 to December|
|East Sutton Park||Public||1.6||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0|
|Forest Bank||Contracted out||n/a||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||4.5||11.6||24.2|
|Lowdham Grange||Contracted out||0.0||3.2||1.2||0.0||3.8||7.6||5.1||3.7|
|North Sea Camp||Public||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0|
|Rye Hill||Contracted out||n/a||n/a||0.0||0.0||32.4||22.1||10.4||0.0|
|Contracted out total||24.5||27.4||26.1||23.0||23.0||34.1||26.1||25.0|
|Prison Estate total||19.9||20.0||17.5||18.6||23.4||24.0||23.9||23.9|
Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prisoners in each prison had (a) a job, (b) training and (c) an education placement to attend upon release in the last year for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. 
Fiona Mactaggart: The data collected identifies prisoners entering Education Training and Employment (ETE) which includes those who attended FRESHSTART appointments at Jobcentre Plus. FRESHSTART is the initiative 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. The compound elements of ETE cannot be broken down except at disproportionate cost. Figures for ETE are given as follows.
|Prison service area and|
|Total discharges 200405||ETE at discharge 200405|
|Foston Hall (F)||244||65|
|Morton Hall (F)||214||56|
|North Sea Camp||834||406|
|Bullwood Hall (F)||232||84|
|Warren Hill (J)||420||334|
|Cookham Wood (F)||227||90|
|East Sutton Park (F)||77||40|
|Low Newton (F)||582||176|
|Buckley Hall (F)||659||137|
|Eastwood Park (F)||767||142|
|Surrey and Sussex|
|Thames Valley, Hampshire and IOW|
|Drake Hall (F)||332||135|
|Yorkshire and Humberside|
|Askham Grange (F)||157||84|
|Moorland and Hatfield||948||679|
|New Hall (F)||781||492|
|Total public prisons||78,777||37,733|
|Contracted out estate|
|Total contracted out estate||6,908||3,413|
|Total all prisons||85,685||41,146|
Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which prisons have local learning centres; what the cost of each centre is; what plans he has to create more local learning centres; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to change the (a) entry criteria and (b) initial training programme for prison officers; and if he will make a statement. 
Fiona Mactaggart: There are no plans to change the necessary entry requirements for new prison officers. However, all newly recruited prison officers now undertake an eight-week Prison Officer Entry Level Training course. The course provides new staff with a foundation level of training, including; interpersonal skills, mental health awareness, race and diversity, violence reduction, safer custody, security awareness and practical skills. An improved quality assurance system is now in place, which adheres to the Adult Learning Inspectorate common inspection framework.
Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what assessment he has made of the Prison Service's policy on the management of sickness absence; and if he will make a statement; 
Fiona Mactaggart: During the last three years, the public sector Prison Service has introduced a new and robust framework for managing absence caused by ill health. Provisional figures for 2005 show average absence rates in the public sector Prison Service (including absence caused as a result of accidents and assaults at work) at 12.5 days per staff member. This represents a fall of up to 21 per cent. since 1999 and a fall of 15 per cent. since the introduction of a new policy framework in 200203. Absence rates for the financial year 200506 are expected to show a further fall.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the views of (a) prison governors, (b) prison education
26 Jan 2006 : Column 2374W
managers and (c) prison education contractors on the state of education delivery in the prison estate; and if he will make a statement. 
Fiona Mactaggart: Ministers receive regular analysis of the performance of the learning and skills arrangements in prisons through the Home Office's standard reporting arrangements. The development of new arrangements for delivering learning and skills to offenders, planned and funded by the Learning and Skills Council, has involved a wide range of stake holding partners.
A national Project Board includes very senior Prison Service representatives, and each region has set up a separate Regional Partnership Board to drive forward arrangements there. The Regional Partnership Boards include Prison Service Area Managers, Governors and Heads of Learning and Skills. At each stage, therefore, the views of Prison Service Managersand Regional Offender Managershave been influential in determining the strategic way forward in developing the new service as it affects prisons.
In addition, officials from the Offenders' Learning and Skills Unit have taken account of contractors' views, for example through running a consultation workshop at the most recent Association of Colleges conference and arranging other stakeholder events at which contractors have been present as part of the preparatory activity towards publication of the Green Paper 'Reducing Re-Offending Through Skills and Employment'.
Fiona Mactaggart: The prison element of the Drug Interventions Programme (DIP) is well established at HMP Pentonville and is proving effective in building on drug treatment deliveries in prison by making firm links for prisoners to continue their drug treatment on release.
Fiona Mactaggart: The Prison Service Associate Race Equality Scheme for 200508 sets out the Prison Service's actions over the next three years to improve its management of race relations. This information is available on the Prison Service website at www.mprisonservice.gov.uk/abouttheservice/racediversity, it is also available in the House of Commons Library.
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