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8 May 2007 : Column 88W—continued


Prison Service: Intimidation

Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he is taking to reduce the incidence of bullying of HM Prison Service staff by (a) other staff and (b) HM Prison Service management; what steps he is taking to promote the adoption of best practice through prison service orders for tackling such bullying; and if he will make a statement. [134720]

Mr. Sutcliffe: The public sector Prison Service does not tolerate bullying in the workplace, irrespective of the grade of the perpetrator. Procedures for reporting and tackling bullying are set out in Prison Service Order (PSO) 8010 ‘Equal Opportunities’. An Equal Opportunities Standard is used to audit activity across the Service in this area. Procedures for formal investigation into allegations of bullying are detailed in PSO 8460 ‘Conduct and Discipline’. A staff diversity and equality scheme has also been launched, which outlines a continued commitment to build a workplace free from harassment, discrimination and bullying.

Prison Service: Property

Mr. Clegg: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what land is owned by the Prison Service; and whether he is considering additional sites for new prisons. [135852]

John Reid: The National Offender Management Service (NOMS) owns or leases land and buildings utilised by the prison operators. Additional prisoner places are currently planned at existing prisons. NOMS owns sites for potential new prisons at Maghull near Merseyside, Belmarsh in south-east London and Featherstone near Wolverhampton in the West Midlands. Potential sites for further new prisons located in the priority areas of London/Essex and South Wales, including the site already owned at Cwmbran, are currently being considered but no final decisions have been taken.

Prison Service: Security

Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what the average (a) age and (b) experience is of those prison governors appointed with responsibility for (i) security and (ii) operations in each prison establishment where staff have been identified as trafficking drugs or other illegal contraband into prisons; and if he will make a statement; [134707]

(2) how many staff were employed in the security department at each prison establishment in (a) 1995, (b) 1997, (c) 2001, (d) 2005 and (e) for the latest
8 May 2007 : Column 89W
period for which information is available; and if he will make a statement. [134842]

Mr. Sutcliffe: The public sector Prison Service does not centrally record details of staff in specific departments within establishments. The contracted estate has been able to provide some information on staffing levels within security departments, which is contained in the table. Further information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Number of staff employed in security departments of each establishment( 1)
Prison Year
1995 1997 2001 2005 31 March 2007

Altcourse

Opened December 1997

7

10

10

Ashfield(2)

Opened November 1999

n/a

n/a

70

Doncaster

n/a

n/a

n/a

173

157

Dovegate

Open July 2001

23

23

n/a

Lowdham Grange

Opened February 1998

18

18

21

Parc(3)

Opened November 1997

n/a

85

83

Rye Hill

Opened January 2001

3

4

4

Wolds

4

4

4

4

4

(1) Where information is not available it is marked as n/a. The interpretation of what constitutes a 'security department' varies between contractors. (2) For Ashfield, the total staff includes: reception, visits, security, intelligence, gate. (3) For Pare the total staff includes: dog handlers, mandatory drug testing, control room, admissions, visits.

Prisoner Education

Paul Holmes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 18 December 2006, Official Report, column 1678W, on prisoner education, whether his Department has published its research into the links between resettlement factors and reconviction; and if he will make a statement. [135336]

Mr. Sutcliffe: The publication date for this research has been revised and it is now expected to be published in September 2007.

Prisoners: Females

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he is taking to reduce the female prison population. [136391]

Mr. Sutcliffe: The Government want to ensure that custody is used only for women offenders who really need to be there because of the seriousness of their offending or because they present a risk. That is why we are taking forward the Women's Offending Reduction programme which focuses on improving community based services and interventions to support greater use of community sentences wherever possible. This includes the £9.15 million we are investing in new initiatives to demonstrate how an integrated multi-agency approach in the community can be more effective at tackling the multiple needs of women
8 May 2007 : Column 90W
offenders and avoid the use of custody. We are also looking carefully at the recommendations made by Baroness Corston in her report on “Women with Particular Vulnerabilities in the Criminal Justice System”, which suggests further action that could be taken to prevent women with vulnerabilities ending up in prison.

Prisoners: Wales

Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much his Department spent on housing prisoners from Wales in prisons in England in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. [135270]

Mr. Sutcliffe: HM Prison Service does not collect cost data for individual prisoners. Costs are collected at establishment and Prison Service level. The cost per prisoner for English prisons is shown in the following table. These cannot be disaggregated by prisoner nationality.

Cost per prisoner in English prisons
Financial year £

1997-98

18,732

1998-99

20,361

1999-2000

21,785

2000-01

23,109

2001-02

23,451

2002-03

24,176

2003-04

25,735

2004-05

26,436

2005-06

27,207


The aforementioned figures exclude headquarters and other indirect costs.

Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people absconded from each Welsh prison in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. [135273]

Mr. Sutcliffe: There are four prisons in Wales, however there is only one prison, Frescoed prison, from which prisoners have absconded. The numbers of absconders from Frescoed, in each financial year since 1997, is listed in the following table. Figures for 2006-07 are provisional and subject to validation

Number of absconds from Frescoed prison in each financial year since 1997
Number of absconds

1996-97

1

1997-98

7

1998-99

13

1999-2000

19

2000-01

14

2001-02

5

2002-03

8

2003-04

35

2004-05

19

2005-06

9

2006-07

9


8 May 2007 : Column 91W

Prisons: Drugs

Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the impact of the introduction of total smoking bans in those prison establishments where such a ban has been imposed on rates of positive tests for (a) cannabis and (b) hard drugs; what the impact has been on numbers of incidents of trafficking of illegal items into those prisons; and if he will make a statement. [134694]

Mr. Sutcliffe: Since 1 April this year, in prisons all indoor areas must be smoke free, with the exception of cells occupied solely by smokers aged 18 and over. Establishments or units holding persons under 18 must have an entirely smoke free environment within their buildings.

It is too early to report on whether rates of positive tests for drugs have changed since these measures were introduced, or whether there has been a change in the numbers of incidents of the trafficking in illegal items.

Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of (a) adults and (b) juveniles with recognised drug-related problems secured places on accredited drug treatment programmes (i) whilst in custody and (ii) within six months of release in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. [134704]

Mr. Sutcliffe: Records are not kept centrally of the numbers in prison with a serious drug problem. Instead, NOMS relies on epidemiological data which indicate, on average, around 55 per cent. of prisoners report a serious drug problem on entering prison. Based on this figure, the proportion of adults entering accredited drug treatment programmes is given in the following table.

This must be seen in context. Not all prisoners with a drug dependency require intensive treatment programmes. Many are not in prison long enough to benefit.

The young person's (juvenile) substance misuse service does not include accredited drug treatment programmes, as the YJB considers these types of programmes generally unsuitable for young people.

Figures are not available for the numbers engaged in intensive rehabilitation programmes within six months of release.

Year( 1) Number of adult programme entrants Percentage of adult programme entrants( 2)

2001-02

4,691

7

2002-03

4,386

6

2003-04

4,703

7

2004-05

7,609

11

2005-06

10,743

16

(1 )Programme data are collected per financial year and prison population figures are collected per calendar year. (2) Population data for 2001 compared with programme entrants for 2001-02 and so on.

Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of identified target mandatory drug tests at each prison establishment were
8 May 2007 : Column 92W
not completed within the requisite timescale in the last two years; and if he will make a statement. [135107]

Mr. Sutcliffe: Records are not kept centrally of the proportion of targeted MDT tests carried out within the advised timescales.

Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what HM Prison Service’s policy is on the treatment of (a) prison support staff, (b) prison officers and (c) prison governors following the discovery of (i) illegal drugs and (ii) other unlawful contraband in their possession; and if he will make a statement. [135108]

Mr. Sutcliffe: In the public sector Prison Service, the policy on the treatment of staff following the discovery of illegal drugs and other unlawful contraband in their possession is contained within Prison Service Order (PSO) 8460 ‘Conduct and Discipline’. A copy of the policy is available in the House of Commons Library or on the internet at:

The contractors who manage prison establishments in the private sector have a range of policies on this issue.

Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps were taken by (a) HM Prison Service and (b) the Crown Prosecution Service as a consequence of the Copson report by the Metropolitan Police into corruption and drug-trafficking by HM Prison Service staff. [135109]

Mr. Sutcliffe: The recommendations from various reviews into the Prison Service’s anti-corruption activities have been taken into account in the development of the programme of work mentioned in my response of 1 March 2007, Official Report, column 1518W.


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