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30 Jan 2008 : Column 484W—continued

The Government seek regular updates from the Law Society to ensure that progress is being made in
30 Jan 2008 : Column 485W
continually improving the service, and are awaiting a detailed response from the Law Society to the LSCC Special Report.

The Government have legislated in the Legal Services Act 2007 to create an independent Office for Legal Complaints which will remove complaints handling from the legal professional bodies. It will also enable approved regulators to deal more effectively with cases of widespread wrongdoing in the future.

Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will establish an investigation the payments made between solicitors as identified in the Legal Services Complaints Commissioner’s recent report on the handling of Coal Health Compensation Schemes and the trade unions which referred cases to them. [178833]

Bridget Prentice: The legal profession is independent, and complaints about solicitors’ conduct are therefore a matter for the Law Society rather than Government.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has authorised investigations 60 firms of solicitors; 20 firms have been referred to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal, and the SRA has won the first three disciplinary cases heard there.

Life Imprisonment: Prisoner Release

Mr. Garnier: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many prisoners sentenced to life since 1997 have been released from custody. [178749]

Maria Eagle: To provide the information requested would require manual checking of individual records which could be carried out only at disproportionate cost. The Department is developing a new database that will allow it to accurately capture the information requested. The new database is currently going live in the Public Protection Unit, and it is expected that data migration will be completed by April, subject to data quality assurance. The information requested will not be available until April at the very earliest.

Ministry of Justice

Mr. Gerrard: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many staff in his Department are working on the central management of change programme (a) in London and (b) in each region. [181935]

Maria Eagle: A small central team of 13 staff full-time equivalents work in the Department’s Centre of Excellence for Programme Management. Among their responsibilities is the management of the Department’s change portfolio of programmes and projects. All the Department’s agencies and business units are responsible for development and delivery of their own change programmes. Information on the number of people engaged in the management of change is not held centrally within the Department and could not be obtained without disproportionate cost. This is because the information is unlikely to be available locally, as it is not required for normal day-to- day operations and change activities are often dispersed nationally across the business units.

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National Offender Management Information System

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how the non-roll-out of C-NOMIS to the Probation Service will affect (a) shared information in real time, (b) risk management, (c) managed sentencing and rehabilitation and (d) efficiency. [182113]

Mr. Hanson: The information requested is as follows:

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many estimated individual offender records relating to offenders held or under supervision by the National Offender Management Service will be on the C-NOMIS system in each of the next 10 years. [182116]

Mr. Hanson: As a result of the changes in the newly revised and deliverable NOMIS programme, which will see the C-NOMIS continuing to be rolled out into public prisons but not probation areas, the estimated number of individual offender records to be held on C-NOMIS is currently under review. However, officials are committed to ensuring that there will always be sufficient capacity in C-NOMIS to ensure the successful running of the system.

National Offender Management Service

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what procedures are being put in place for liaison between probation and prison staff in the end-to-end management of individual offenders. [182114]

Mr. Hanson: A range of procedures have been put in place to support the liaison between probation and prison staff. Standards for offender management, which cover both custody and community, have been set. Joint training for the implementation has been provided, common forms have been issued, and single points of contact have been established. All these measures are designed to ensure good information exchange and liaison between prison and probation staff. Full connectivity of the new offender assessment system has been established between probation services and prisons. This enables the offender manager to adopt a joint approach with prison staff to assessment and sentence planning.

The implementation of end-to-end offender management is overseen by regional implementation groups in all nine regions in England and in Wales. These are composed
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of strategic and operational managers from prisons and probation, and representatives from regional offender managers' offices.

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether it is expected that the end-to-end management of offenders will be available for all persons placed on supervision. [182205]

Mr. Hanson: Offender management is being implemented in phases with all offenders on community orders and licences and offenders in custody assessed as posing a high/very high risk of serious harm or classified as "Prolific or Other Priority" serving a determinate sentence of 12 months or more, already covered. Phase 3 began in January 2008 and extended offender management to offenders serving an indeterminate sentence of imprisonment for public protection (IPP).

Offenders: Foreigners

Nick Herbert: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what estimate he has made of the number of foreign nationals likely to serve custodial sentences in England and Wales in each year to 2014. [178712]

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Mr. Straw: No separate prison population projection for foreign nationals has been made. The latest published prison population projections were published in August 2007 (“Prison population projections 2007-2014 England and Wales”, N de Silva, et al., Ministry of Justice, 2007). A copy is available in the Library of the House. In September there were 11,211 foreign national prisoners in prison in England and Wales, 14 per cent. of the total. According to the Council of Europe this is the second lowest proportion of any major western European nation, and compared with 21 per cent. France, 28 per cent. Germany, 42 per cent. Greece, 34 per cent. Italy and 43 per cent. Austria.

Prison Accommodation

Mr. Garnier: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many prison places at (a) Ashfield, (b) Forest Bank, (c) Dovegate, (d) Rye Hill, (e) Bronzefield and (f) Peterborough prisons were (i) constructed and (ii) originally contracted to provide. [178755]

Mr. Hanson: The numbers of prison places that were constructed and contracted at the sites mentioned are listed in the following table:

Location Date of contract for construction Contractual prison places (including additional prisoner places)


1 July 1998

400 (+40)

Forest Bank

6 July 1998

800 (+240)


27 September 1999

800(1) (+60)

Rye Hill

23 July 1999

600 (+60)


20 December 2002

430 (+20)


4 February 2003

840 (+180)

(1) 200 therapeutic community places

Prison Sentences

Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what average length of sentence had been served by each of those serving life sentences who were released from prison in each year since 2000; and if he will make a statement. [182626]

Mr. Hanson: Information on the average time served by first released lifer prisoners from all prison establishments in England and Wales in each year since 2000 can be found in the following table.

Mean time served by lifers released from prison on first release in England and Wales 2000-06
Mean time served (in years)















Table taken from table 10.5 of Offender Management Caseload Statistics 2006

If released, life sentence prisoners are on licence for the rest of their lives and liable to recall at any time.

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.

Prison Service: Training

Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many prison officers at each prison establishment are trained to use cutting gear designated for dealing with hostage situations; and if he will make a statement. [182147]

Maria Eagle: No prison officers within establishments are trained in the use of such equipment. This duty is carried out by a specialist team of HMPS staff known as control and restraint (C and R) national instructors.

There are 21 specialist staff divided between two sites based at Oxford and Doncaster. The role of the C and R centres is to develop and deliver all aspects of legal use of force training within HMPS.

C and R national instructors are responsible for providing an emergency national tactical response to incidents of concerted indiscipline, hostage intervention and incidents at height.

Prison Staff: Crimes of Violence

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many knife attacks were made on prison staff by prisoners in prisons in 2007. [178780]

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Maria Eagle: The information requested is set out in the table and subject to important qualifications. The Prison Service Incident Reporting System processes high volumes of data which are constantly being updated. The numbers provide a good indication of overall numbers but should not be interpreted as absolute. There is a slight lag in reporting which means that the provisional number mentioned here will rise a little in the coming months. Assault information is recorded at establishment level in four categories: Prisoner on Prisoner, Prisoner on Officer, Prisoner on Other, and Other. Recording of assaults on prison officers sometimes includes assaults on other prison staff.

The use of weapons is also recorded at establishment level. Weapons which function as knives are usually manufactured/assembled by prisoners and these artefacts are sometimes also categorised as sharp instruments.

Type of weapon Prisoner on Officer



Sharp Instruments


2007 total


This table does not include data from CNOMIS (offender management information system) sites where data was not available at time of compilation.

Prison Staff: Injuries

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many injuries were reported as sustained by prison staff whilst they were off-duty but deemed to be related to the office they held in 2007; and if he will make a statement. [178777]

Maria Eagle: The Prison Service does not collect this information centrally and it can be obtained only at disproportionate cost. Any accidents or incidents that result in injury at or in connection with work are recorded, but not those that occur whilst staff are off-duty. In order to obtain this information it would be necessary to ask every member of staff across the prison estate. Staff may not wish to disclose injuries received while off duty as a result of the office they hold.


Mr. Garnier: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the average duration of a prisoner’s stay in any one custodial location has been over the last three years. [178771]

Mr. Hanson: Information on the length of time prisoners spend in each prison establishment is not held centrally and to gather it would require extensive manual inspection of records, which would incur disproportionate cost.

Prisoners Transfers

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many prisoners convicted of wounding were transferred to open prisons in 2007; [182422]

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(2) how many prisoners convicted for a violent offence were transferred to open prisons before reaching the final 28 days of their sentence in 2007. [182437]

Mr. Hanson: I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 29 January 2008, Official Report, column 300W.

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice by what means his Department ensures that transfers of prisoners to the open estate comply with Prison Service Instruction 17/2007. [182604]

Maria Eagle: Prison Service Instruction (PSI) 17/2007, which has been replaced by PSI 46/2007, requires prison governors and directors of contracted prisons to put in place arrangements to conduct categorisation reviews at six-monthly intervals for all prisoners in the last 30 months of their sentence. In closed prisons, categorisation reviews must be carried out following the successful completion of any period of release on temporary licence.

Governors (and directors of contracted prisons) must ensure that prisoners are only excluded from allocation to open conditions for reasons that are consistent with the normal categorisation and risk assessment process.

Women prisoners are included in these arrangements. However, prisoners under 18 are not covered by the instruction, and will continue to be placed by the Youth Justice Board.

Compliance with these mandatory actions is managed via the operational line. The categorisation and allocation process is also subject to external audit procedures.

Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many transfers of high-risk offenders from a (a) category A and (b) category B prison to open prisons there were in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. [182635]

Mr. Hanson: Information on the transfer of prisoners within the prison estate of establishments within England and Wales is not held centrally, and to collect it would require extensive manual inspection of records.

Prisoners are assessed objectively in a process looking at all aspects of their offending behaviour, actions they have taken to reduce their likelihood of reoffending, and the risk they pose to the public. They are placed in the lowest security category consistent with their assessed risk. Only prisoners placed in the lowest security category (D) may be allocated open conditions.

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