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7 May 2008 : Column 984W—continued

Electoral Systems

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether the Government plans to change the voting system used to elect hon. Members. [203137]

Mr. Wills: The Government published the Review of Voting Systems in January 2008 which considers the experience of the new voting systems introduced in the United Kingdom since 1997. The Review forms part of the continuing debate on electoral reform, and at this point the Government are not seeking to change the electoral system for the House of Commons.

Electronic Voting

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the Answer from the hon. Member representing the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission of 31 March 2008, Official Report, column 451W, on electronic voting, which recommendations of the Electoral Commission on e-counting his Department has undertaken to implement. [202815]

Mr. Wills: The Government are currently reviewing the Electoral Commission’s recommendations in response to the Gould report concerning the future use of e-counting. Along with the valuable lessons which we have learnt from previous e-counting pilots, these will help to inform our future policy for e-counting.

Emergency Workers (Obstruction) Act 2006

Mr. Alan Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many prosecutions under the Emergency Workers (Obstruction) Act 2006 have been made since its introduction; and what the outcome of those prosecutions has been. [203336]

Maria Eagle: I refer the right hon. Gentleman to the answer I gave on 20 February 2008, Official Report, column 778W to the hon. Member for Teignbridge (Richard Younger-Ross).

The Emergency Workers (Obstruction) Act 2006 came into force on 20 February 2007. We do not yet have prosecution figures covering 2007. We would expect the number of prosecutions to be small. Any act involving violence against emergency workers would be covered by the general law on assault and the new offence is limited to obstruction only.

Peterborough Prison: Foreigners

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many foreign nationals are detained at HMP Peterborough. [203683]

Mr. Hanson: At the end of March 2008, the latest date for which figures are available, there were 155 foreign national prisoners (101 male and 54 female) detained in Peterborough prison.

This information is available at the following website where it is updated quarterly.

7 May 2008 : Column 985W

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: Manpower

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many people are employed in HM prison service in England and Wales. [203300]

Maria Eagle: As at 31 January 2008 there were 52,621 directly employed staff within HM Prison Service establishments in England and Wales, including privately managed prisons.

Prisoners Transfer: Young Offenders

Dr. Vis: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what guidance has been issued by the Youth Justice Board to secure units on the transfer of 15 year old boys into prisons. [203071]

Mr. Hanson: The Youth Justice Board issued revised placements guidance in 2004 to all under-18 custodial establishments and youth offending teams. It includes a transfer protocol, which specifies that placements of boys aged 15 and older in secure children’s homes and secure training centres should be regularly reviewed to assess whether they still require the level of support provided by those establishments.

Boys aged 15-17 are normally placed in young offender institutions unless they are assessed as requiring the different environment and level of support that a secure training centre or a secure children’s home offers.

Prisoners: Females

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what assessment he has made of the recommendations to member states contained in paragraphs 19 to 29 of the European Parliament's resolution of 13th March 2008 on the particular situation of women in prison and the impact of the imprisonment of parents on social and family life; what plans he has to implement the recommendations; and if he will make a statement. [201294]

Maria Eagle: The recommendations will be considered in the context of implementation of the commitments set out in the Governments response to the Corston report, and within a joint priority review by the Department for Children Schools and Families and the Ministry of Justice to support the children of offenders to achieve better outcomes.

Prisoners: Internet

Mr. Simon: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what his Department’s policy is on blogging by prisoners. [203938]

Maria Eagle: There is no policy on prisoners contributing to blogs. Prisoners do not have direct access to the internet, other than under controlled circumstances or
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for specific educational purposes, which is via controlled connectivity to secure NOMS accredited sites. NOMS policy on prisoner communications does, however, set out restrictions on material that prisoners may send if it is intended for publication.

Prisoners: Suicide

Mr. Garnier: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many suicides within (a) adult prisons and (b) young offender institutions in (i) 2006 and (ii) 2007 took place within the first seven days of custody; and how many prisoners who committed suicide in their first seven days in custody had on one or more of those seven days been housed in police or court cells. [203195]

Maria Eagle: There were six self-inflicted deaths(1) in adult prisons(2 )within the first seven days of prison custody in 2006 and 10 in 2007. There was also one self-inflicted death of an adult prisoner in each of 2006 and 2007 in prisoner escort custody prior to arrival in prison. There were no such deaths in young offender institutions in either 2006 or 2007.

Information regarding time spent in court or police custody prior to first reception in prison is not held centrally.

Prisons: Finance

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how much the Government has budgeted for the construction of new Titan prisons. [203299]

Mr. Hanson: The cost of construction of the Titan prisons has been estimated to be around £350 million each at 2007-08 prices.

The cost of building and operating the Titan prisons, which will be post 2011 spending review period, will be subject to the usual comprehensive spending review processes.

David Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how much prisons in England and Wales received for work done by prisoners from (a) private and (b) public sector organisations in each of the last five years; and what assessment he has made of the potential to increase prison revenue from such sources. [203783]

Maria Eagle: The following table shows the value of both internal and external sales from work done by prisoners in public sector prisons in England and Wales. While the Prison Service would seek to receive revenue where possible it should also be acknowledged that prison industries have a number of other objectives including purposeful activity as well as skills and employment opportunities.

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Internal sales( 1) External sales( 2)
















(1) The total sales value of goods and services provided using prisoners for internal consumption, including sales to the Ministry of Justice. The general reduction over the period is predominantly due to the phased implementation of hard charging. (2) Total sales revenue from predominantly private sector organisations. (3) Reliable data are not available for 2005-06 due to a system failure. (4) Data extracted from internal (prison industry) monitoring and recording systems.

Prisons: Mental Health Services

Mr. Garnier: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps he is taking in response to the comments of HM Inspector of Prisons that four out of five mental health in-reach teams in prisons feel unable to respond adequately to the range of needs they face. [203196]

Maria Eagle: The report, The mental health of prisoners thematic (HMIP, 2007) made a number of recommendations about improving mental health care in prisons. The Department of Health is preparing its response to all these recommendations.


Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many convictions there were for shoplifting in each of the last three years. [202975]

Maria Eagle: I refer the hon. Member to the answer of 5 March 2008, Official Report, column 2631W.

Court proceedings data for 2007 will be available in the autumn of 2008.

The information requested covering cautions, convictions and penalty notices for disorder (PNDS) for the years 2004-06 is provided in the following table.

Number of offenders cautioned, defendants found guilty and penalty notices for disorder (PNDs) issued for shoplifting, England and Wales 2004-06( 1,2)
Cautioned Found guilty PNDs issued













(1) The cautions and found guilty data are provided on the principal offence basis. PND data is a count of all penalty notices for disorder issued during the year.
(2) Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the police forces and courts. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.
(3) The offence of retail theft (goods of value under 200) was added to the PND scheme on 1 November 2004.
Court proceedings and penalty notices for disorder databases—Office for Criminal Justice Reform

7 May 2008 : Column 988W

Young Offender Institutions: Education

Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many young offender institutions provide discrete (a) personal, (b) social and (c) health education courses. [203555]

Mr. Hanson: An audit of education in secure accommodation carried out by the Youth Justice Board (YJB) in 2002 identified the need for Special Educational Needs Co-ordinators (SENCOs), and funding was obtained by the YJB to ensure that each Young Offenders Institution has the support of a SENCO. This requirement is incorporated into the Offenders Learning Journey (Juvenile) which sets out the delivery of learning and skills services to young offenders in custody in England. The Learning and Skills Council are also currently undertaking a review process which will ascertain the level and range of educational need for offenders in each custodial and community setting, thus informing the range and types of provision to be commissioned. We expect the reviews to include an analysis of the level of need for learners with learning difficulties and disability.

Young Offenders: Sentencing

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what mechanisms are in place to reduce the number of people under the age of 21 years in prison for non-violent offences. [203303]

Mr. Hanson: While sentencing in any individual case is a matter entirely for the court, the Government believe that prison should be reserved for serious and dangerous offenders. Other offenders are normally better punished in the community. The Government introduced the generic community order for adults in the Criminal Justice Act 2003 and provisions in the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill currently going through Parliament will create the youth rehabilitation order, a broadly similar sentence for juveniles. Such orders enable the courts to choose from a wide range of requirements so as to effectively meet the circumstances of the offence and the offender. They should enable the courts to have greater confidence in community sentences and to use them instead of custody in all cases other than when custody really is the only punishment that will meet the circumstances of the offence.

Home Department

Alcoholic Drinks: Misuse

Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much was spent on the website in each month since its inception; what the budget for the website is for 2008-09; how many staff are employed to maintain the website; and how many unique visitors there were to the website in each month since its inception. [200376]

7 May 2008 : Column 989W

Mr. Byrne: We are unable to provide costs split out on a monthly basis for the website, but can provide annual costs as follows on table 1.

Maintenance of this website is the shared responsibility of Department of Health and Home Office Know Your Limits Campaign teams and does not require a full time member of staff to maintain.

From the end of June 2008, the website will no longer exist, and visitors will be redirected to a new NHS units awareness site, which will be funded by the Department of Health. Therefore the forecast for 2008-09 is based on an estimated monthly maintenance fee for April, May and June and may be subject to change.

Table 2 shows the numbers of unique users there have been to this website by month.

Table 1
Financial year Spend (£)





2008-09 (budget forecast)


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