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2 May 2006 : Column 1425W—continued

Prisons

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 15 March 2006, Official Report, column 2303W, on the Criminal Justice Act, how many prisoners have been given exactly 12-month sentences since the Act came into force; and what estimate has been made of the effect of custody plus on prison numbers. [65382]

Fiona Mactaggart: Since the Criminal Justice Act 2003 came into force for offences committed on or after 4 April 2005, 4,245 prisoners were received into prison with custodial sentences of exactly 12 months (the latest data are until the end of February 2006).

Sentencing in individual cases is entirely a matter for the courts. It is consequently difficult to forecast the effect of custody plus on the prison population with precision. We have modelled various assumptions which suggest an impact of between -675 prison places to +1,630 prison places, depending on how much the courts use the new sentence and the breach rate.

The Sentencing Guidelines Council will issue guidance to the courts on the use of custody plus. We are working with them, with sentencers and others to ensure that we are best prepared to absorb the impacts that the new sentence will bring.

These estimates have been made for internal planning purposes and do not constrain the discretion of sentencers in any way. The impacts will be monitored and updated as new data becomes available.

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps have been taken to set up an electronic system for the transfer of prisoners' educational records. [65460]

Fiona Mactaggart: New, interim arrangements have been rolling out in the three OLASS development regions—north east, north west and south west since January this year to enable electronic access to the offenders' individual learning plans. The specification for the national, longer term system is being developed and procured by the Learning and Skills Council in partnership with NOMS.

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many adult prisons have learning support assistants; [65461]

(2) what progress has been made in ensuring that each prison has a special educational needs co-ordinator. [65462]

Fiona Mactaggart: We do not collect information about the availability of learning support assistants in the adult estate and have no plans to introduce special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCo) posts which have been funded for the juvenile estate. This is because, as part of the new Offenders' Learning and Skills Service planned and funded by the LSC, contracted providers will be required to assess individual learners' needs, develop a learning plan, and provide the tailored support which addresses these needs.
 
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John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prisoners were transferred between prisons in the last period for which figures are available. [65550]

Fiona Mactaggart: There were 97,975 prisoners transferred between prisons in 2005. Figures for transfers in 2006 are not yet available.

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects all prisons holding children to comply with Prison Service Order 4950. [65582]

Fiona Mactaggart: All prison establishments are expected to follow the advice and guidance in Prison Service Orders (PSOs), and in particular to comply with their mandatory requirements.

The Youth Justice Board for England and Wales (YJB) commissions and purchases all secure accommodation for sentenced and remanded young people. The terms of PSO 4950 have been agreed with the YJB. Where non-compliance with particular requirements is identified, the YJB works with providers to support them in achieving compliance.

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the effect on the levels of mental health care in the community on the number of people serving prison sentences. [65587]

Fiona Mactaggart: Information is not available on the effect on community mental health services of prison population levels.

Although sentencing is a matter for the courts, we know that we continue to imprison too many people with mental health problems.

As part of Five Year Strategy for Protecting the Public and Reducing Re-offending (Cm 6717, 2006), we are conducting a study into the best way to manage offenders with mental health problems, and will work closely with the Department of Health to make sure they can get access to effective treatment, whether in prison, in hospital or in the community. A copy of the strategy is available in the Library as well as on the Home Office's website at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/documents/five-year-strategy?version=1.

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he has taken to ensure that rehabilitative programmes are adapted to meet the specific needs of women prisoners. [65591]

Fiona Mactaggart: A new programme CARE (Choices, Actions, Relationships and Emotions) which addresses personal and circumstantial difficulties has been developed, and is currently being piloted. P-ASRO (Prisoners Addressing Substance Related Offending) has been provisionally accredited for use with women and FOR, a resettlement programme for short-term prisoners was accredited in April 2006.

Additionally, a democratic therapeutic community which offers a group therapy environment where women can explore and change problem behaviours relating to their offending has been established at Send prison. A programme for women with borderline personality
 
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disorder and at high risk of self-harm is being piloted. Good practice guidelines for supporting women who report having been abused is available to all staff.

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make it his policy to ensure that home leave is ordinarily available for women prisoners. [65594]

Fiona Mactaggart: Release on temporary licence for home leave is available equally to female and male prisoners who meet the eligibility criteria and pass a rigorous risk assessment. Full details of the eligibility
 
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criteria are set out in Prison Service Order 6300 Release on Temporary Licence which is available on the HM Prison Service website.

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for theHome Department how many places for women in open prisons have been provided in each of the last 10 years. [65596]

Fiona Mactaggart: The figures requested for women's open prisons are set out in the following table. There are no plans, at present, to increase capacity within the women's open prison estate.
Average number of places available by year for women's open and semi-open(15) prisons

Askham GrangeDrake Hall(16)East Sutton ParkMorton Hall (17)Total
199612828494506
199713028194505
199813028894512
199913029594519
200013127094495
200113226794160653
200213930094225758
200314131594365915
200415031594391950
200513631594391936


(15) Semi-open conditions: Prisoners who present a low risk to the public but who require a level of physical perimeter security to deter abscond
(16) Drake Hall was re-designated from open to semi-open in 2002.
(17) The function of Morton Hall was changed from a male to a semi-open women' s prison in 2001


John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the appointment of accountable officers with responsibility for women prisoners at each establishment where women are held. [65597]

Fiona Mactaggart: All public sector prisons accommodating women do so exclusively. Each has a governor who is accountable to the Home Secretary through operational line management and the chief executive of the National Offender Management Service (NOMS). Two prisons in the contracted estate hold women. One of them has separate male and female sites, each with a head who is accountable to a director. Directors are accountable to the Home Secretary through their regional offender manager, the national offender manager and NOMS chief executive.

All prisons have an Independent Monitoring Board and are inspected by HM Inspectorate of Prisons. Both bodies are directly accountable to the Home Secretary. There are no plans to create additional or different levels or types of accountability.

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many places there have been on prison drug treatment programmes in each of the last 10 years. [65600]

Fiona Mactaggart: The numbers of prisoners who have been on an intensive drug treatment programme are given in the following table. There are no centrally recorded figures prior to 2001–02.
Entrants
2001–024,691
2002–034,386
2003–044,703
2004–057,621
2005–0610,729

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has for special intensive courses in basic education and drug treatment to be completed by short-term prisoners while in custody. [65601]

Fiona Mactaggart: The Government recognise the value of short and smaller qualifications that allow offenders to progress towards full employability, but maintains that the key focus of offender learning should be on achieving results that lead to employment. The Government's proposed overhaul of the National Qualifications Framework in order to create a new Framework for Achievement by 2010 will increase flexibility and offer better opportunities for offender learners to build up credit towards qualifications in smaller units.

Short term prisoners are able to benefit from a comprehensive range of drug interventions that address the needs of low, moderate and severe drug dependency:


 
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John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the selection process for the participation of prisoners in offending behaviour programmes. [65604]

Fiona Mactaggart: Prisoners are assessed and their needs identified through various processes, such as induction and sentence planning. Further assessments may be undertaken to ascertain the prisoner's suitability for particular interventions including offending behaviour programmes. Places are then prioritised and allocated accordingly.

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will assess the merits of the creation of a specialist not-for-profit agency outside the prison service to co-ordinate investment, marketing and supply for prison industries. [65606]

Fiona Mactaggart: The Prison Service has taken a number of steps to increase the performance of prison industries. These include working with a private sector advisor to prison industries and reorganising resources to create a central business development, sales and contract team. Other options will be assessed once the outcome from these initiatives is clear.

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he has taken to ensure that vocational training and works programmes in prisons are matched to basic labour shortages and skills gaps in the external labour market. [65607]

Fiona Mactaggart: The Department for Education and Skills, the Home Office and the Department for Work and Pensions have jointly published a Green Paper: Reducing Re-offending through Skills and Employment (December 2005). This puts the focus on jobs, with employers driving the design and delivery of programmes. One of the key aims of the Green Paper is to explore ways to help more offenders improve their skills and get jobs through better use of prison facilities, with skills training built into other activities such as workshops. The Prison Service will also seek to support more partnerships with commercial organisations to equip workshops with industry standard facilities.

The responsibility for the planning and delivery of skills in prisons is in the process of being transferred to the Learning and Skills Council who will ensure that the education and skills programmes in prisons relates to the needs of the labour market.

The National Offender Management Service is also seeking to improve the employment prospects of offenders by focusing on developing links with employers in sectors that have significant labour shortages. These sectors include utilities, hospitality and catering, the construction industry, sports and fitness and industrial cleaning.

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what his projection is of the prison population in England and Wales by (a) 2010 and (b) 2020; and if he will make a statement. [65618]

Fiona Mactaggart: The latest prison population projections are published in the Home Office Statistical Bulletin 10/05 Updated and Revised Prison Population Projections, 2005–2011, England and Wales".
 
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The projections span a total of seven years. There are currently no projected prison population figures beyond 2011.


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