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. 
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.
Fiona Mactaggart: New, interim arrangements have been rolling out in the three OLASS development regionsnorth 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.
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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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. 
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.
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.
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.
|East Sutton Park
|Morton Hall (17)
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. 
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 what plans he has for special intensive courses in basic education and drug treatment to be completed by short-term prisoners while in custody. 
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.
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. 
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. 
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. 
The latest prison population projections are published in the Home Office Statistical Bulletin 10/05 Updated and Revised Prison Population Projections, 20052011, England and Wales".
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