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Buildings: Access

Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice which buildings occupied by his Department (a) are and (b) are not fully accessible to people with disabilities; and if he will make a statement. [163950]

Maria Eagle: The Ministry of Justice is presently preparing a new Disability Equality Scheme, which includes what we are doing, and intend to do to continue to make our services and buildings accessible to disabled people. This is due to be published in the new year.

Over recent years the Department has taken a number of steps to make our services and buildings accessible to disabled people. This includes a major programme of works undertaken to ensure all Crown and county courts support disabled people, provision of dedicated parking facilities, hearing loops and personal emergency evacuation plans for disabled staff and visitors to our main HQ buildings. In addition HM Court Service are starting a major programme of works to improve current magistrates court accommodation.

All buildings within HM Prison Service are currently compliant with DDA requirements, both physically and procedurally. Where there are access difficulties whether they be a visitor, staff or prisoner, HMPS is committed to make reasonably adjustments to its arrangements and manage any eventuality that may occur.

Where there are access difficulties for disabled people, the department makes appropriate reasonable adjustments to its arrangements for the recruitment and employment of staff, and the services and functions it delivers to its users, in accordance with the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.

The MOJ estate is made up of a number of new, modern and historic buildings, not all of which are considered to be fully accessible to disabled people. Where there are access or use difficulties on the current estate, MOJ seeks to make it services and facilities available by other means.

No central data are currently held on the number of buildings across the estate that fully support access and use by disabled staff.

Courts Service

Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how much HM Courts Service spent in 2006-07 on civilian fines officers; and how much the civilian fines officers recovered in the same period. [163577]

Maria Eagle: In 2006-07 Her Majesty's Courts Service spent a total of £72.5 million on criminal enforcement activity. This expenditure was used to fund the day to day enforcement costs, such as the salaries of court enforcement officers, fines officers and administrative staff, training for staff and IT running costs.

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The amount of cash collected for the same period in respect of financial impositions, which include fines, costs, compensation and the victim’s surcharge, was £245 million.

It is not possible to identify how much of the above civilian fines officers were responsible for recovering.

Legal Aid: Northern Ireland

John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps he is taking to increase access to legal aid in criminal cases in Northern Ireland. [161982]

Mr. Hanson: In Northern Ireland the judiciary are responsible for determining applications for criminal legal aid applying the statutory tests of whether the applicant has insufficient means and the interests of justice.

In 2005, the most recent year for which statistics are available, 97 per cent. of defendants who applied were granted criminal legal aid. There is therefore no evidence to suggest that there is a need to increase access to criminal legal aid.

Magistrates Courts

Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many magistrates courts in England and Wales have access to full Libra functionality. [163579]

Maria Eagle: Significant progress has been made this year with Libra rollout. 67 of approximately 370 courts are operating with full Libra functionality, with over 20 per cent. of court staff now using the system. A further 16 courts are due to be live before the end of 2007 and rollout is scheduled to be complete by the end of December 2008.

Magistrates: Public Appointments

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what changes have been made to the process of selecting magistrates in each of the last three years. [163737]

Maria Eagle: The only change made in the last three years was in February 2006 to introduce a scoring system at the second interview.

Prison Service

Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether the governing governor of HM Young Offender Institution Feltham is to be appointed as an area manager within HM Prison Service; whether this is a managed move; and if he will make a statement. [163468]

Maria Eagle: There are no vacancies for area manager posts in the Prison Service, but if the governing governor of Feltham wishes to apply for such a post in the future it is open to her to do so.

Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the exceptional circumstances were that led the Deputy Director General of HM Prison Service to authorise the managed move of (a) Phil Riley to
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HM Prison Buckley Hall, (b) Paul Baker to change manager at HM Prison Pentonville, (c) Paul Baker to Deputy Governor at HM Prison Pentonville and (d) Gary Deighton to HM Prison Service Professional Standards Unit; and if he will make a statement. [163245]

Mr. Hanson: There were no exceptional circumstances surrounding any of these appointments. Within the public sector Prison Service approximately half of all appointments at senior manager level are made by way of managed appointments as opposed to an internal advertisement. The service has a clear policy on managed appointments at this level and all of these appointments were consistent with the policy and its objectives.

It is not appropriate to comment on individual appointments or transfers which frequently take into account personal circumstances or developmental issues as well as any particular individual skills that a person might bring to a post.

Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what correspondence has been received by HM Prison Service from Ron Tasker on the commissioning of the investigation that he is carrying out; and if he will make a statement. [163246]

Maria Eagle: On 17 April 2007 Ron Tasker wrote a note to Nick Pascoe, London area manager to seek clarification of who the Commissioning Authority for the investigation was. This is the only recorded correspondence received by HM Prison Service from Mr. Tasker relating to commissioning of the investigation.

Prisoners: Drugs

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what drug testing is done on prisoners upon (a) arrival and (b) leaving prison. [163728]

Mr. Hanson: Some prisons undertake reception testing as part of their mandatory drug testing programme. Prisoners newly received into prison are subject to clinical health assessment, and voluntary indicative drug testing is part of that process. There is no system to test all prisoners before final release. Prisoners may be subjected to mandatory drug testing prior to release on temporary licence as part of a risk assessment. During custody prisoners can be subject to clinical testing, voluntary testing as part of a compact to remain drug free, and random or targeted mandatory drug testing.

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what estimate he has made of the number of people who have developed a drug addiction in prison over the last 10 years. [163739]

Mr. Hanson: A comprehensive drug treatment framework is in place in prisons which includes offering harm minimisation advice and encouraging prisoners to stay off drugs. The framework is supported by measures to keep drugs out of prison. The covert nature of drug taking means that it is impossible to measure directly the number of people who develop a drug addiction in
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prison. Research evidence suggests that about one in five men and fewer than one in 10 women, who had used at least one of six drugs (cannabis, heroin, illicit methadone, amphetamine, crack and cocaine) reported first using one of them in prison.

Research also shows that the level of drug misuse falls dramatically compared with use prior to imprisonment and that prison is one of the key influences in getting people off drugs. Overall, prison contributes to a reduction in drug misuse for the majority of prisoners.

Prisoners: Fingerprints

Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice with reference to his answer of 17 May 2007, Official Report, column 873W, on Prison Service, whether inmates are fingerprinted on reception at (a) HM Prison Brixton, (b) HM Prison Holloway, (c) HM Prison Pentonville, (d) HM Prison Wandsworth, (e) HM Prison Wormwood Scrubs and (f) HM Young Offender Institute Feltham; and if he will make a statement. [163243]

Maria Eagle: Of these prisons, HMP Holloway is currently the only prison which routinely fingerprints prisoners on reception into custody.

Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice with reference to his answer of 17 May 2007, Official Report, column 873W, on Prison Service, whether all prison establishments are required to fingerprint prisoners on reception; and if he will make a statement. [163244]

Maria Eagle: My Department’s policy is that all prisoners, with the exception of those committed into custody for a non-payment of a fine, should be fingerprinted upon their first reception to any prison establishment after their conviction. The effectiveness and future strategy of fingerprinting processes within the Prison Service is to be examined, taking into account any additional benefit gained from these processes over the fingerprinting already carried out by the police.

Prisoners: Ireland

Mr. Garnier: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether he plans to amend prison rules, orders and instructions relating to Irish prisoners following abolition of the Common Travel Area. [163350]

Maria Eagle: There are no plans to abolish the Common Travel Area.

Prisoners: Nationality

Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many foreign prisoners were held in jails in Kent on 31 October. [163789]

Mr. Hanson: The figures requested are published quarterly at the Ministry of Justice website at:

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The following table shows the latest available data, from the publication ‘Population in Custody Monthly Tables September 2007 England and Wales’ (Table 4).

Foreign national prisoners in prison establishments in Kent, 30 September 2007
Establishment Foreign nationals UK nationals Nationality not recorded Total

Blantyre House










Cookham Wood





East Sutton Park(1)




















Standford Hill










(1) East Sutton Park is a women’s prison.
Figures taken from monthly published statistics at:

Dover Immigration Removal Centre is excluded from this table because it holds only those detained under immigration powers, not those serving custodial sentences.

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.


Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if his Department will use the re-offending rates of those released from approved premises in measuring the effectiveness of those premises. [163832]

Maria Eagle: It would not be viable or meaningful to use re-offending rates as a measure of the effectiveness of approved premises. Most offenders accommodated in approved premises are under the supervision of offender managers and subject to a range of controls and interventions. The work done in the approved premises forms one part of an integrated package of supervision. In considering re-offending rates, it would be impossible to isolate the effects of the period of residence in approved premises from the impact of other components.

There would be additional methodological difficulties in trying to gather meaningful re-offending data on offenders who have completed a period of residence in approved premises. These include the relatively small number of offenders accommodated in approved premises, the long follow-up period that would be required given the profile of the offender group, and problems in finding a matched control group with whom meaningful comparisons could be drawn.


Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what guidance his Department has issued on the regard to be given to time spent on remand when sentencing those convicted of more than one offence where time spent on remand has already been taken into account in relation to sentencing for a separate offence; and if he will make a statement. [163730]

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Maria Eagle: Home Office Circulars 20/2005 (Criminal Justice Act 2003 Commencement Order No8, paragraphs 80 to 85) and 37/2005 (Crediting Periods of Remand in Custody: Section 240 Criminal Justice Act 2003) provide guidance to courts that preserves the principles of crediting remand time that were applied by the Prison Service prior to the commencement of the Criminal Justice Act 2003. Additional guidance is contained in Chapter 4 of Prison Service Order 6650 (Sentence Calculation) as amended by para 18.4 of Prison Service Instruction 13/2005 (Amendments to PSO 6650 Sentence Calculation) and Prison Service Instruction 07/2007 (Sentence Calculation - providing Remand Information to Courts). The guidance reflects the intention that remand time should be counted only once; and that it should be counted only where an offender is not otherwise detained.

The Home Office Circulars are available on the Home Office website and the Prison Service Order and Instructions are published on the HM Prison Service website.

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