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19 Feb 2008 : Column 600W—continued

The JAC have already made 38 recommendations for appointment to me in 2008 and current plans are for some 30 further selection exercises to be completed, covering in excess of 250 posts for both courts and tribunals. These figures are, however, subject to change,
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as business need and priorities can vary in-year, affecting both the timing of selection exercises and the number of vacancies to be filled.

I plan to continue the work under way as part of the Judicial Diversity Strategy, which was agreed between my predecessor, the Lord Chief Justice and the Chairman of the Judicial Appointments Commission in May 2006, and to work constructively with stakeholders to drive progress in this challenging area. This includes legislative changes to extend the ranger of individuals eligible to apply for judicial office; outreach work to promote judicial service to a wider pool of applicants; judicial mentoring and work-shadowing schemes; and work to produce guidance for Diversity and Community Relations Judges in engaging communities.

I am also exploring what more we can do to work with others to support and encourage greater diversity in our legal professions

Magistrates: Easington

John Cummings: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many magistrates on the Peterlee Bench are resident in Easington constituency. [186212]

Mr. Straw: There are two local justice areas administered by the Durham Advisory Committee: North Durham and South Durham. There is no separate Peterlee local justice area. North Durham has 18 magistrates who are resident in the Easington constituency. South Durham has one magistrate resident in the Easington constituency.

Magistrates: Public Appointments

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps he is taking to encourage the appointment of more magistrates from areas which experience the highest levels of crime and antisocial behaviour; and if he will make a statement. [185007]

Mr. Straw: Her Majesty’s Courts Service in liaison with the Advisory Committee will determine how many magistrates are needed and recruitment campaigns are run locally.

The need is based on workload forecasts which take account of anticipated number of cases coming to the magistrates court including criminal and antisocial behaviour cases. They also take into account projected retirements; possible resignations; average sitting days; bench make-up (responsibility to ensure that the magistracy is reflective of the communities it serves in terms of gender, ethnic origin, age, disability, geographical spread, occupation and industry); local workload data; resources and the use of district judges (magistrates courts).

Specific initiatives to encourage the recruitment and diversity of magistrates include: advertising materials to raise the profile of recruitment campaigns; information including a DVD that gives extensive and accessible information about the qualities and commitment required; a dedicated website; and awareness raising schemes including magistrates in the community, mock trials, and the magistrates shadowing scheme.

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National Offender Management Service

Nick Herbert: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how much was spent on offender services for adults by the National Offender Management Service (a) in prison and (b) in the community in the latest year for which figures are available. [185546]

Mr. Straw: Expenditure by the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) is not routinely divided between offender services for adults and non-adults. By deducting expenditure on the Youth Justice Board, its Sponsor Unit and an estimate of Probation Boards’ contributions to Youth Offending Teams, from the total NOMS expenditure for 2006-07, the estimated expenditure relating to adults is £3.9 billion. Extracting a precise figure across all offender management activity would involve disproportionate cost.

Police National Computer

Nick Herbert: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether there is a unique personal identifier to connect individual data records in OaSys, C-NOMIS, Libra and the Police National Computer. [185542]

Mr. Straw: The information is as follows.

OASys, C-NOMIS, Libra and Police National Computer (PNC) systems do not share a ‘unique personal identifier’ that is common to all these systems. This has been a continuing challenge for joining-up the Criminal Justice System. The connection of individual data records, where specifically required to date, has largely been accomplished by other indirect identification methods which are further detailed by system.

OCJR is undertaking a review as to how a common unique personal identifier for the CIS might be achieved; the first stage of which is due to be completed by the end of March 2008.

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Prison Service: Finance

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the cost of publishing and printing the communities engagement newsletter for HM Prison Service was, including staff costs, in the latest period for which figures are available. [186253]

Maria Eagle: The Community Engagement Newsletter is produced by a member of the Prison Service Race Equality Action Group (REAG): the higher executive officer (whose, annual salary is around £29,000) spends approximately 33 per cent. of his time producing the newsletter. There is a nil production cost as the newsletter is posted on and disseminated via the REAG site on the Prison Service intranet.

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what work the Anne Peaker Centre has carried out for HM Prison Service in each of the last three years; and how much they have been paid by HM Prison Service. [186277]

Maria Eagle: A representative of the Prison Service has attended one meeting at the Anne Peaker Centre in a consultative capacity. The service has had no other contact with the centre.

Prisoners: Death

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps the Government intend to take to reduce the numbers of deaths in prisons. [186297]

Maria Eagle: A broad, integrated and evidence-based prisoner safer custody strategy (an umbrella term for suicide prevention, self-harm management and violence reduction) is in place. The strategy can be summarised as,

It integrates with other agendas that share the aim of improving the quality of life in prisons; such as resettlement, drugs, detoxification, health, and staff leadership and training.

Prison Service Order (PSO) 2700: Suicide Prevention and Self-Harm Management, aims to embed improved methods of working in all relevant areas of prison life. Building on several years of learning from the experiences of prisoners, staff, investigators, inspectors and others, it incorporates developments such as the introduction of ACCT (Assessment, Care in Custody and Teamwork) a new care-planning system for at-risk prisoners, improved cross-agency information flows, and integrated local safer custody teams pursuing a continuous improvement plan in each prison. Also reflected in the PSO are long-standing areas of safer custody work such as listener and insider peer supporters, suicide prevention co-ordinators in each prison, and working with outside organisations.

A focus on personal safety, supporting victims, and repairing the physical and emotional harm caused by violence or abuse, links closely with the suicide prevention strategy. The recently revised PSO 2750
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requires all prisons to have local violence reduction strategies appropriate to needs, encouraging a whole prison approach to reducing violence and the fear of violence. The PSO takes account of the recommendations of the report into the death of Zahid Mubarek (murdered by his cell-mate in 2000), and brings together policy on violence reduction, anti-bullying and cell sharing risk assessments.

Prisoners: Drugs

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps the Government intend to take to reduce re-offending rates by reducing the rate of prisoner dependency on drugs. [186296]

Maria Eagle: The National Offender Management Service (NOMS) has in place a comprehensive strategy to address the misuse of drugs by offenders serving custodial sentences. The strategy for prisons has a three-way focus:

NOMS’ comprehensive drug treatment framework, based on the National Treatment Agency’s revised Models of Care, addresses the different needs of drug-misusers in prison. Interventions comprise:

The Integrated Drug Treatment System (IDTS) will bring considerable improvements to the quality of prison treatment. With £18.7 million invested in 2007-08, around 24,500 prisoners annually will benefit from improved quality clinical treatment.

Offenders who are released on licence may have conditions attached to their licence that require them to address their problem with drugs. Prolific and other priority offenders who are released on licence may be required to submit to drug tests.


Nick Herbert: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the value of new contracts let for prisons was in each of the last 10 years, in terms of (a) annual value and (b) value over the life of the contract. [185545]

Mr. Straw: The following table gives the financial details available regarding prison contracts awarded in the last ten years

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Date of award of contract Name or prison Annual value at current prices (£) Value over the life of the contract (£)

1 July 1998



121 million over 25 years

6 July 1998

Forest Bank


197 million over 25 years

23 July 1999

Rye Hill


154 million over 25 years

27 September 1999



240 millions over 25 years

20 June 2000



140 million over 10 years

20 December 2002



219 million over 25 years

5 January 2003



45 million over 10 years

14 February 2003



291 million over 25 years

1. The annual value is based on the payments made to the contractor during the contractual year.
2. The value over the life of the contract is based on the net present value (NPV) calculated for the winning bidder at the award of the contract. The NPV is a. standard method used for the financial appraisal of log term projects and is calculated in accordance with the HM Treasury Green Book. This information has previously been published.
3. There is no direct relationship between the annual value of the contract shown and the NPV for the whole life of the contract.
4. We do not hold details of annual contractual value for the duration of the contract as there are a number of changeable factors e.g. population levels, services requirements which would have a significant impact on the values.

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice by what means prisons are assessed on the effectiveness of their community engagement. [186209]

Maria Eagle: The effectiveness of community engagement in establishments is measured by internal audits of the Prison Service Standard on Race Equality. These are conducted annually.

It is also measured during inspections by Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prisons.

Prisons: Race Equality Action Team Training

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many people in HM Prison Service have completed race equality action team training; and how much this training has cost; [186204]

(2) how many people in HM Prison Service have completed the race equality officer training course; and how much this training has cost. [186205]

Maria Eagle: The Race Equality Action Team (REAT) training was rolled out in October 2006. Five training for trainers courses have taken place, training 79 associate trainers. In total, 1,576 REAT members had been trained by 31 December 2007—this includes 1,317 Prison Service employed REAT members, 166 prisoner representatives and 93 external representatives.

The Race Equality Officer (REO) training was rolled out in September 2007. 81 REOs have been trained to date.

The revised courses, including all course literature, were developed ‘in-house’ by two members of the Race Equality Action Group (REAG). Responsibility for the delivery of the training is shared between REAG, area offices and training services, and no figure for the cost is collected centrally.

Race Equality Action Group Conference

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the cost was of the recent Race Equality Action Group Conference held at the Emirates Stadium; and how many HM Prison Service staff attended the conference. [186254]

Maria Eagle: The Race Equality conference held on 27 September 2007 at the Emirates Stadium, London, entitled ‘Uncovering Hidden Racism: The Next Challenge’, was attended by 323 delegates at a cost of approximately £34,000.

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