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Bridget Prentice: Young Offender Institutions accommodate sentenced prisoners aged from 15 to 21. At the end of June 1997 there were 7,949 sentenced young offenders including 1,673 aged under 18. At the end of May this year there were 9,137 sentenced young offenders including 1,894 aged under 18.
Mr. Straw: Last Wednesday my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister set out the details of the content of the provisional list of Bills for the next parliamentary Session. His purpose was such that our Governments initial thinking, previously private, could be the subject of widespread discussion and public debate. Full information is now available on the Cabinet Office website and in hard copy. We want to hear from all Parliamentarians, members of the public and individual groups their views on what was proposed.
Introduced special measures such as live links, video-recorded evidence-in-chief and intermediaries. An independent evaluation in 2004 found that one-third of witnesses would not have been willing or able to give evidence without special measures
Given £30 million annually to Victim Support, who provide the Witness Service in every court
Introduced a statutory Code of Practice to give victims legal rights for the first time
Spent £2.75 million on new court live link systems to help witnesses give evidence since 2006
Met the target of having separate waiting facilities in 90 per cent. of magistrates courts ahead of schedule.
Mr. Hanson: The main risk entailed by overcrowding is that prisoners do not complete offending behaviour programmes because they are transferred to another establishment before the programme is completed.
The Prison Service monitors the delivery of all offending behaviour programmes closely. Less than 1 per cent. of those who started offending behaviour programmes in 2006-07 failed to complete because of transfer.
If we are to tackle re-offending effectively, we need a flexible approach which brings together all those with a contribution to make. We need to be able to commission services at national, regional and local level according to need. Contestability will
enable specialist, low-volume, high-cost services to be commissioned at a national or regional level, where that makes sense.
But it also enables the local lead provider to continue to act as provider and commissioner. Lead providers will concentrate on delivering core offender management, while commissioning much of the interventions work from local providers. Provided their performance meets the requirements, the lead provider in a probation area will be the probation trust.
Mr. Hanson: The end of custody licence was introduced on 29 June as a temporary measure. It is too early to say how long the scheme will be in operation. We will keep under the review the length of time it will remain in use in the light of new prison capacity coming on stream and the review by Lord Carter.
Mr. Hanson: The methods used must be approved by the Secretary of State, who receives advice from the Youth Justice Board. The Board periodically appoints a panel of experts, including medical experts, to assess safety. A full review was conducted in 2004-05 and a further review is currently being established.
Maria Eagle: HMCS is committed to putting the public first in the delivery of justice. There are currently seven magistrates courts in Cheshire. HM Courts Service will continue to manage the court provision in Cheshire to maintain and improve the justice system for the public.
15. Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to his Department's Green Paper on the governance of Britain, if he will make a statement on his future plans for constitutional reform, further devolution and electoral reform. 
appointment of regional Ministers;
publication of the proposed legislative programme, accompanied by the Prime Minister's statement to the House;
revocation of legislation allowing special advisers to give orders to civil servants;
publication of a revised ministerial code;
creation of the National Security Council; and
commitment of the Prime Minister, Foreign Secretary and Secretary of State for Defence to neither add nor subtract names from the final Honours List passed to HM the Queen.
In the coming weeks, we intend to publish a consultation paper on the role of the Attorney-General, to launch the Goldsmith Review of Citizenship, to set up a Youth Citizenship Commission and to finalise arrangements for regional select committees. In the longer term, it is proposed to introduce a Constitutional Reform Bill to Parliament in the next Session, to complete the voting systems review and to begin work on engaging with the British people on a statement of values. As my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said in his statement to the House:
As we focus on the challenges that we face...our starting point should be to discuss together and then...agree and set down the values, founded in liberty, which define our citizenship and help to define our country.[ Official Report, 3 July 2007; vol. 462, c. 819.]
Finally, while we do not envisage further devolution of powers from the UK Parliament to national Assemblies, the Green Paper makes it clear that the Government remain committed to enhancing democracy by devolving more power directly to the people. In line with this we are to consult on a range of measures to fully engage local people in local decisions.
Mr. Heath: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many and what percentage of people housed in approved premises are categorised as (a) high and (b) very high risk in each region; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hanson: As at 28 February 2007, the number of residents housed in Approved Premises in England and Wales categorised as (a) high risk of serious harm was 1,165, representing 63 per cent. of all residents. The number categorised as (b) very high risk of serious harm was 115, representing 6 per cent. of all residents. These figures do not include the Prospects Approved Premises, which are a specialist resource for offenders with substance misuse problems.
|High risk of harm (A)||Very high risk of harm (B)|
Mr. Hanson: In September 2004, the Government published a strategy which directed Approved Premises in England and Wales to be used primarily to supervise certain high risk of serious harm offenders on release from custody into the community. That strategy was reviewed and reaffirmed in the context of the Child Sex Offender Review, the report of which was published in June this year.
Approved Premises provide for enhanced supervision of offenders and are, therefore, a valuable public protection resource. Such supervision would be much more difficult to provide if offenders were dispersed into less suitable accommodation in the community.
The National Offender Management Service (NOMS) has recently initiated an Approved Premises Service Review, to make recommendations as to how the supervision of high risk of serious harm offenders in Approved Premises should be commissioned from April 2008.
Ms Keeble: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice when he will place in the Library a copy of the inspection reports on Oakhill secure training centre by the Commission for Social Care Inspectorate. 
Mr. Hanson: In accordance with the service level agreement between Ofsted, the Youth Justice Board and the Ministry of Justice, papers received following the unannounced inspections at Oakhill secure training centre in January and April 2007 will be included as appendices to the report of the next announced inspection of the centre. The inspection will be conducted by Ofsted and is due to take place in October. The report will be a publicly available document.
These sites should be close to or within large urban conurbations, enabling prisoners to be located close to home for family contact and to assist in finding employment on release; near or within reasonable travelling distance of courts; and to have good access to public transport and major roads.
Sandra Gidley: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many deaths of teenagers there were in which alcohol was cited as a cause or contributing factor in (a) 2007 and (b) the last five years. 
The National Statistician has been asked to reply to your recent question asking how many deaths of teenagers there were in which alcohol was cited as a cause or contributing factor in (a) 2007 and (b) the last five years. I am replying in her absence. (150412)
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