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Nick Herbert: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many prisoners in open prisons in England and Wales were convicted of (a) offences of violence, (b) sexual offences or (c) offences of supplying illegal drugs. 
Mr. Straw: At the end of March 2008 there were (a) 1,240 prisoners serving sentences for violence against the person offences, (b) 50 prisoners serving sentences for sexual offences, and (c) 1,270 prisoners serving sentences for drugs offences in prison establishments in England and Wales whose main function is as an open prison.
Open prisons house category D prisoners. These are prisoners whose risk of absconding is considered to be low and who have been assessed as posing a low risk of harm to the public. Within this population are long term prisoners coming towards the end of their
sentence who, over time, have substantially reduced their level of risk and who would benefit from the regime available in an open prison as part of their preparation for eventual release.
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 and the figures have been rounded to the nearest 10.
Nick Herbert: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) whether the Government plan to uprate the upper limit of £500,000 compensation that can be received by victims of violent crime under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme; 
(2) whether the Government intend to amend the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme to reflect the severity of injuries suffered by victims of terrorist attacks in England, Scotland and Wales. 
Mr. Straw: The Government are considering the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme and will make an announcement in due course. The Great Britain's Scheme is the most generous within the European Union and, probably, the world.
Mr. Straw: No mandatory life sentence prisoner convicted of murder can be considered for release until they have served their tariff or minimum term, i.e. the period of imprisonment considered necessary for the requirements of retribution and deterrence. The release of all tariff expired life and indeterminate sentenced prisoners, including those detained in special hospitals as well as in prisons, is now a matter for the independent Parole Board. The Parole Board can direct a lifers release on or after tariff expiry, only if it is satisfied that the prisoner no longer poses a risk of serious harm to the public. Where a whole life tariff has been set, the Parole Board cannot determine the question of release.
Under the provisions of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, the responsibility for setting minimum terms in mandatory lifer cases transferred from the Home Secretary to the courts. Transitional arrangements in the Act allow any existing mandatory life sentence lifer whose tariff has been set by Ministers or whose tariff has not yet been set, to apply to have a tariff set or re-set by the High Court. It is understood that Peter Sutcliffe has submitted representations to the High Court under those transitional processes. In fact, no tariff was set by Ministers in this case.
It is a matter for the High Court to determine the tariff in Mr. Sutcliffes case. If the court fixes a whole life tariff, then his case cannot be referred to the Parole
Board for consideration of release. Mr. Sutcliffe was transferred to Broadmoor hospital in 1984 and has remained there ever since. For as long as he remains lawfully detained in hospital under Mental Health Act powers, and meets the Mental Health Act criteria for detention, his release cannot be considered by the Parole Board, even in the event that he received a determinate tariff by the High Court.
Maria Eagle: The Prison Governors' Association have not requested any discussion with the Secretary of State or ministerial colleagues regarding the turnover of prison governors and have not raised this area in any recorded correspondence. However, National Offender Management Service officials maintain an ongoing dialogue with PGA representatives, and are willing to discuss with the PGA any views or concerns it may have on this issue.
Nick Herbert: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many prisoners have opted out of or failed to apply for (a) end of custody licence and (b) home detention curfew in each year since these schemes were initiated. 
Mr. Straw: The following table shows the number of prisoners who, according to the Prison Service IT system, were potentially eligible for the home detention curfew (HDC) scheme and who opted out in each year since the scheme began on 28 January 1999:
|Number who opted out|
Data are not held as to why prisoners have opted out of being considered for HDC. However, among the most likely reasons are that the prisoner cannot provide details of a release address or will consider that that he/she is highly unlikely to pass the risk assessment and so does not bother to apply.
Mr. Straw: Foreign national prisoners who will be subject to deportation at the end of their sentence are not eligible for release under the End of Custody Licence scheme. I refer the hon. Member to the regular publication 'End of Custody Licence: releases and recalls', copies of which are available from the Library of the House and the Ministry of Justice website
Between 29 June 2007 and 31 March 2008, there were 23,716 releases from all prisons in England and Wales under the End of Custody Licence Scheme. Of these, 1,384 were foreign national prisoners (6 per cent.) not liable for deportation, consisting of 767 EU nationals and 617 non EU nationals.
Maria Eagle: For long journeys, the maximum time that escort contractors can confine a prisoner in a prisoner transport vehicle without a break is two and a half hours. If a journey is scheduled to take less than two and a half hours but is delayed due to road conditions, prisoners are offered a comfort stop where this is practical and possible.
David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many foreign national prisoners held in Category D prisons were convicted of (a) Class A drug trafficking, (b) terrorist offences and (c) violent offences. 
The Home Office, Ministry of Justice and Attorney-General's Office are currently working with the National Coordinator for Terrorist Investigations to improve the quality of data relating to those convicted under terrorist legislation and those convicted under
other legislation but following a terrorist investigation. As soon as this is complete a statistical bulletin to cover information on arrests and convictions will be published.
|(1) Fewer than 10. Note: Data have been rounded to the nearest 10.|
Establishment classified as open are Askham Grange, East Sutton Park (with open YOI unit), Ford, Hewell Grange, Hollesley Bay (with open YOI unit), Kirkham, Leyhill, Moorland open (with open YOI unit), North Sea Camp, Spring Hill, Standford Hill, Sudbury, Thorn Cross and Usk/Prescoed.
Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many instances of self-harm by women prisoners were recorded in each year since 2000, broken down by establishment; and if he will make a statement. 
Maria Eagle: As a new system for recording self-harm was introduced in December 2002 and only bedded down over the course of 2003, figures before and after 2003 are not comparable. Under the new system a wider range of incidents are captured. The information requested is presented in the following tables.
As the presence or absence of serial self-harmers in a prison can account for a disproportionate number of self-harm incidents, rises or falls in the numbers of such incidents from one year to the next is not a good indicator of underlying trends at individual prisons.
|Table 1: Self-harm incidents using F213SH (not directly comparable with earlier years)|
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