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11 July 2007 : Column 1571W—continued

Prisoners: Elderly

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many prisoners there are over 65 years old, broken down by category of offence committed. [148402]

Mr. Hanson: The following table shows the number of prisoners aged 65 and over serving immediate custodial sentences by offence group.

Prisoners( 1) within England and Wales aged 65 and over by offence category, May 2007



Violence against the person


Sexual offences






Theft and handling


Fraud and forgery


Drug offences


Motoring offences


Other offences


Offence not recorded


(1) Under immediate custodial sentence.

These figures have been drawn from administrative IT systems, which, as with any large scale recording system, are subject to possible errors with data entry and processing.

Prisoners: Hepatitis

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many cases of hepatitis B occurred in prisons in each of the last five years. [148407]

Mr. Hanson: The last major study of hepatitis B prevalence in prisoners in England and Wales found that of 3,942 prisoners tested (8 per cent.) were infected with hepatitis B.

Prisoners: Mothers

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many pregnant female offenders (a) applied for and (b) were granted permission for their
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children to remain with them in prison after birth in each of the last five years; and what the length was of the sentence served by each mother following birth. [148404]

Mr. Hanson: The Prison Service is unable to provide any figures before October 2006 as these were not routinely recorded.

Between 1 October 2006 and 31 March 2007, there were 83 applications received. From these applications 52 boards sat and 37 were given a place on a mother and baby unit in custody, 31 of the 37 were sentenced women.

Between 1 April 2007 and 6 July 2007 a total of 34 applications were received, 29 sat boards and 22 women were granted a place. Fourteen of these successful applications were from sentenced mothers.

The discrepancies between application and board numbers are a result of several possible factors: withdrawn applications, pregnant women released from custody (both on remand and following sentencing), some may in fact still be awaiting boards or the results.

Information is not held centrally on the time actually served by women in the units.

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what estimate he has made of the number of female prisoners with children under five years old. [148405]

Mr. Hanson: The 2003-04 resettlement survey commissioned by the Prison Service Custody to Work Unit showed that half of all female prisoners had dependent children (including stepchildren), and that 46 per cent. of those women had lived with at least one dependent child before custody.

Prisoners: Suicide

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many (a) male and (b) female prisoners (i) attempted and (ii) committed suicide in each of the last five years. [148409]

Mr. Hanson: There is no definition of what constitutes an attempted suicide, as it is very difficult to measure suicidal intent. The information requested with respect to apparent self-inflicted deaths is contained in the following table:

Number of self-inflicted deaths( 1)
Female Male
















(1) The Prison Service definition of self-inflicted deaths is broader than the legal definition of suicide and includes all deaths where it appears that a prisoner has acted specifically to take their own life. This inclusive approach is used in part because inquest verdicts are often not available for some years after a death (some 20 per cent. of these deaths will not receive a suicide or open verdict at inquest). Annual numbers may change slightly from time to time as inquest verdicts and other information become available.

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Prisoners: Tuberculosis

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many cases of tuberculosis occurred in prisons in each of the last five years; and what steps he is taking to reduce the incidence of tuberculosis in prisons. [148406]

Mr. Hanson: Information is not routinely available from prison establishments on the number of prisoners diagnosed as suffering from tuberculosis (TB). However as TB is a notifiable disease, each new case is reported to the local Consultant in Communicable Disease Control (CCDC).

The Prison Service’s Performance Standard, Health Services for Prisoners (May 2004) requires every prison establishment to have in place effective arrangements for the prevention, control and management of communicable diseases, including tuberculosis. These must include arrangements for the notification of all incidents of notifiable disease, such as TB to the local Health Protection Agency’s Consultant in Communicable Disease Control (CCDC) and an action plan in the event of an outbreak of a communicable disease. The diagnosis, care, treatment and management and contact tracing of prisoners with tuberculosis is undertaken in consultation with local national health service specialists in accordance with the British Thoracic Society guidelines for the management of TB.


Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many prisons are located in England and Wales. [148422]

Mr. Hanson: There are 142 prison establishments in England and Wales. This includes two Immigration Removal Centres, Dover and Haslar, that are managed by the Prison Service on behalf of the Border and Immigration Agency, and establishments managed as single prisons Moorland Open / Moorland Closed, Grendon / Springhill and Usk / Prescoed.

Prisons: Drugs

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what recent estimate he has made of the number and percentage of the prison population using (a) cannabis, (b) ecstasy, (c) heroin and (d) cocaine. [148384]

Mr. Hanson: The best measure of drug misuse in prisons is provided by the random mandatory drug testing programme. The positive rates for the above named drugs in 2006-07 can be found in the following table:

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Number of positives Percentage positive













Number of confirmed positives—ecstasy is classified as an amphetamine type drug it is not until a confirmation test is conducted that the presence of ecstasy can be determined.

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many people were caught in possession of narcotics while serving prison sentences in each of the last five years. [148385]

Mr. Hanson: Information on the number of offences for possessing a controlled drug is given in the following table.

Possession of an unauthorised article











Prisons: Genito-urinary Medicine

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what access prisoners have to (a) condoms, (b) sexual health advice and (c) testing for sexually transmitted infections. [148408]

Mr. Hanson: Above all other considerations, prisons must maintain good order and discipline for people in custody. They should not therefore take any action that can be interpreted as encouraging overt sexual behaviour by prisoners.

The Prison Service recognises that sex in prisons occurs and that this brings with it associated public health concerns. Prison doctors therefore have authority to prescribe condoms if, in their clinical judgement, there is a risk of HIV infection or transmission of any other sexually transmitted illness.

Condoms will not be made available to prisoners without appropriate information and guidance on sexual health education being given first.

Primary care trusts (PCTs) now have commissioning and clinical governance responsibility for the health services provided within publicly managed prisons. Prisons and PCTs work together through managed co-ordination to ensure that the quality of health care delivered within prisons is comparable to that provided by the national health service for the wider community. Resource allocations are underpinned by prison health needs assessments.

Sexual health is recognised to be an important health care need and therefore resources are allocated accordingly and to match the need within prisons.

All prisoners undergo health reception screenings on entry into prison. This is a detailed questionnaire completed by health care staff interviewing the prisoner. It is designed to identify any long-term
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medical conditions, any use of prescribed medication, any history of alcohol or substance dependence, any mental health problems and any symptoms requiring urgent medical attention or indicating a need for review by a medical doctor.

Health reception screenings do not include a screen for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or a blood test for HIV infection.

Tests for STIs or HIV can be offered to prisoners following a risk assessment by a doctor, or other appropriately trained member of the health care team, if a prisoner presents with signs or symptoms of such infections or describes risk behaviour which may have exposed him or her to such infections.

Prisoners are also able to request a screen for STIs or HIV if they believe that they may have been exposed to infection.

Probation Officers: Training

Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what estimate he has made of the numbers of people in training as probation officers in each probation service region in each year since 1997; and at what cost per student. [148435]

Mr. Hanson: A breakdown of the number of people in training as probation officers and the cost per student is contained in the following tables. Cost information is only available from 2003-04 onwards, when the Home Office took over responsibility for the higher education contracts. It is not possible to provide the information by region.

Trainee Probation Officer figure and costs
Trainee Probation Officer




















All figures are given as full time equivalent (FTE), and are rounded up to the nearest full employee.
All figures are taken as at 31 December of the relevant year.
Figures from 1997 to 2002 are taken from the RDS Probation Statistics, while those for 2003-04 onwards are lifted from the quarterly workforce information report produced by PACU (formerly NPD).

Financial year Cost per student









The new trainee allowance is based upon the trainee base allowance, but adjusted in line with each Board’s labour cost factor and pension cost factor. For 2006-07 only, a further pension adjustment was made to the allowance. The figures also include the average university administration cost per year.

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