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10 May 2007 : Column 438W—continued

Prisons: Drugs

Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the extent of (a) the use of false samples, (b) the mis-use of refrigeration, (c) inadequate supervision in the collection of samples and (d) collusion (i) among officers and (ii) between officers and inmates and (e) administration errors in the process of mandatory drug testing in prison establishments; what steps he is taking (A) to monitor and (B) to prevent abuses of mandatory drug testing; and if he will make a statement. [136129]

Mr. Sutcliffe: I have been asked to reply.

No drug testing system is entirely foolproof but the mandatory drug testing policy and procedures of the National Offender Management Service are fully in line with best practice and are designed to reduce to a minimum the possibility that the process can be compromised. A robust system is in place to provide checks and balances and good management oversight including:

An assessment of the extent of the risks identified is as follows:


10 May 2007 : Column 439W

Prisons: Education

Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the average length is of an educational course in prisons in England and Wales. [129914]

Phil Hope: I have been asked to reply.

The information requested is not collected centrally.

With the introduction of the Learning and Skills Council-led delivery arrangements for offender learning in England from 31 July 2006, data on the average length of an educational course in prison will increasingly become available for adults, young offenders and juveniles in custody.

Separate arrangements apply under the devolved Administration for Wales.

Prisons: Health Services

Mr. Clegg: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will take steps to ensure that people held in private prisons who claim (a) that their health care needs are not being met and (b) that they suffer mistreatment have access to a complaints procedure. [135829]

Mr. Sutcliffe: I have been asked to reply.

Prisoners held in privately-managed prisons who wish to complain about their health care provision do currently have access to a complaints process. Under the first tier of that process, a complaint should be made locally within the prison in line with the usual complaints procedure. If the complainant remains dissatisfied, it is open to him to complain to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. Prisoners held in privately-managed prisons who claim to have suffered mistreatment on non-medical issue are able to complain using the usual complaints process. If, having made a complaint internally, the prisoner remains dissatisfied, it is open to him to ask the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman to consider the matter.

Probation

Mr. Garnier: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many offenders in each of the 42 probation areas in England and Wales breached their (a) community sentence requirements, (b) licences and (c) parole conditions while under the supervision of the Probation Service in each of the last 10 years for which figures are available; and what steps were taken to remedy such breaches. [135364]

Mr. Sutcliffe: I have been asked to reply.

Information for England and Wales on the completion rates for the main types of community sentence, for each year since 1995, can be found in Table 5.1 of the Home Office Statistical Bulletin: Offender Management Caseload Statistics 2005, a copy of which can be found in the House of Commons Library. Information on the number of offenders recalled to prison for breaching their licence conditions can be found in Tables 10.7, 10.8 and 10.9 of the same publication. The reliability of those data at local area level is not sufficiently robust for publication.
10 May 2007 : Column 440W
Generally, compliance and rigorous enforcement are essential if community sentences and licence supervision are to provide an effective punishment and deterrent, in which the public has confidence. The latest performance figures for the National Probation Service (covering April 2006—February 2007) indicate that 92 per cent. of relevant offenders have enforcement action initiated within 10 working days as required by National Standards; in 1999 it was just 44 per cent. Since 2002-03 the service has also been measured against a compliance target, which measures the proportion of orders and licences that reach the six months stage without requiring breach action. On this basis compliance has improved from 62 per cent. in 2002-03 to 72 per cent. in 2006-07 (April 2006—February 2007).

Rape

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the law relating to consent in rape cases where a complainant was under the influence of alcohol. [134885]

Mr. Coaker: Section 74 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 defines consent in the context of sexual offences by stating that:

Where a complainant is intoxicated, this may be relevant to the question of whether or not they have the capacity to consent.

In the public consultation ‘Convicting Rapists and Protecting Victims—Justice for Victims of Rape’, we consulted on whether a statutory definition of capacity was needed. We are considering the responses to the consultation exercise and other relevant information, including the recent Court of Appeal case of Bree. We hope to make our response to the consultation, including our assessment of this particular issue, known shortly.

Sentencing

Mr. Betts: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prisoners are serving indeterminate public protection sentences. [133786]

Mr. Sutcliffe: I have been asked to reply.

As at 20 April 2007, the number of prisoners serving an indeterminate sentence of imprisonment for public protection was 2,547.

Mr. Clegg: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the average minimum term has been of indefinite sentences of public protection. [135847]

Mr. Sutcliffe: I have been asked to reply.

A research study carried out by the Home Office into prisoners received into prisons in England and Wales under indeterminate sentences for public protection (IPP) between April 2005 and March 2006, showed that the median tariff (minimum term) given to these prisoners was 30 months. Findings from the research were published in Offender Management Caseload
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Statistics 2005, a copy of which can be found in the House of Commons Library.

Mr. Clegg: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prisoners on an indefinite sentence of public protection have served longer than their tariff. [135851]

Mr. Sutcliffe: I have been asked to reply.

Data taken from individual case records held by the Pre-Release Section of the National Offender Management Service indicate that, as at 27 April 2007, tariff had expired in 173 cases where offenders had been sentenced to Imprisonment for Public Protection.

Sexual Offences

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people who started the sexual offender treatment programme in each of the last five years completed the programme. [123776]

Mr. Sutcliffe: I have been asked to reply.

Figures for community sex offender treatment programmes are only available for the last financial year (2005-06). In that period there were 1,408 commencements and 974 completions recorded for the programme. For sex offender treatment programmes completed in custody between 15 June 2006 and 23 February 2007, there were 613 completions, and 32 non-completions, a non-completion rate of 5.2 per cent. This is estimated to be representative of previous years non-completion rates.

World War II: Genocide

Ms Gisela Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions he has had with his European counterparts on an EU-wide law on holocaust denial. [134518]

Mr. Coaker [holding answer 27 April 2007]: A draft European framework decision on combating racism and xenophobia has been discussed over several years, including at the Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Council in spring 2003 and summer 2005. Agreement was not reached on either occasion. Negotiations restarted under the German presidency of the European Union, and a revised draft framework decision was discussed at the JHA Council in February 2007. A general approach was reached at the JHA Council on 19 April 2007. UK Ministers participated in all of these discussions.

This framework decision is not a European Union wide law on holocaust denial. It requires member states to criminalise the most serious racist and xenophobic acts where they are carried out in a manner likely to incite violence or hatred and are threatening, abusive or insulting. Under our existing domestic law, this would only include denial of the Holocaust where it met all of these conditions. The framework decision sets a common EU standard for the most serious crimes but does not prevent member states from making other acts, including holocaust denial, criminal offences under their domestic law.


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Young Offenders

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what funding he has provided to the Youth Offending Service in (a) England and Wales and (b) Gloucestershire in each of the last five years for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. [127354]

Mr. Sutcliffe: I have been asked to reply.

Funding for the years in question to youth offending teams by the Youth Justice Board, police and probation is contained in the following tables. The YJB funding figures relate to core grant only and do not include additional grants to support effective practice and for programmes such as ISSP.

YOT funding for England and Wales
Youth Justice Board Police Probation

2002-03

46,723,227

19,162,717

16,209,958

2003-04

47,542,333

20,948,650

17,187,426

2004-05

48,730,892

22,097,262

17,566,056

2005-06

50,358,959

23,382,337

17,533,136

2006-07

(1)43,251,232

23,130,989

17,969,258


YOT funding for Gloucestershire
Youth Justice Board Police Probation

2002-03

404,941

213,000

124,000

2003-04

413,381

268,205

131,313

2004-05

(1)349,742

270,225

132,000

2005-06

(1)369,008

273,092

133,000

2006-07

(1)379,379

278,682

133,500

(1) These figures do not include the ring-fenced funding within the Young People Substance Misuse Partnership grant (from 2004-05).

House of Commons Commission

Departments: Energy

Mr. Spellar: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission what (a) instructions are issued to (i) staff in the House of Commons and (ii) hon. Members and (b) technical procedures are in place to shut down computers at night. [136089]

Nick Harvey: The new online induction course to the Parliamentary Network, which all new users (Members, their staff and staff of the House) must complete, includes guidance on shutting down personal computers each day. In addition to this, all computers have Microsoft power saving settings enabled; these also reduce energy consumption.

While it is possible to switch off computers centrally each night, at present there are no plans to do so since unsaved work could be lost, and staff and Members working late could be seriously inconvenienced. These arrangements are kept under review.


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