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Protecting children and young people is one of the key areas within the Government's recently published Consultation on the Future of Tobacco Control, and includes references to the predictors of regular smoking by young people. Copies of the consultation have already been placed in the Library.
Dawn Primarolo: The Department has received a report from the British Medical Association entitled Forever cool: the influence of smoking imagery on young people. The report calls for a range of measures to reduce young people's exposure to positive images of smoking.
The Department has recently published A Consultation on the Future of tobacco control. Copies of the consultation have already been placed in the Library. The consultation seeks views on protecting children and young people from smoking. The paper includes the evidence on the influence of tobacco promotion on young people and seeks views on banning the display of tobacco products in retail outlets.
13. Mr. Mahmood:
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what recent steps his Department has taken to
prevent young people convicted of knife and gun crime from reoffending. 
Mr. Straw: My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary yesterday gave further details to this House of the new national knife crime programme in the eight police areas where knife crime is most prevalent. The courts have made clear their increasingly tough approach. Sir Igor Judge, now Lord Chief Designate said in the case of Povey
Even if the offender does no more than carry the weapon, even when the weapon is not used to threaten or cause fear, when considering the seriousness of the offence courts should bear in mind the harm which the weapon might foreseeably have caused. So the message is stark. This is a serious offence and it should be treated with the seriousness it deserves.
14. Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what representations he has received on the provision of circuit judges for child care cases in north and mid Wales; and if he will make a statement. 
Bridget Prentice: One, in a letter from the hon. Gentleman on 8 July 2008. The complement of circuit judges has been reduced by the unfortunate illness of His Honour Judge Dafydd Hughes and the delay in securing a district judge replacement at Rhyl. However, no judicial time has been lost, and replacement judges have been found to cover all existing cases listed in the North Wales courts.
Bridget Prentice: Following the European Court of Human Rights judgment in the case of Hirst v. UK requires the Government to reconsider their policy of a blanket ban on the voting rights of convicted prisoners. That requirement is a consequence of a judgment in the European Court of Human Rights and is something that would need to be implemented in the UK even if the Human Rights Act was not in place.
In response, we undertook a first stage consultation which concluded in March 2007. However, since that point the context for the debate about the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, and in particular the exercise of the franchise, in the United Kingdom has changed significantly following the launch of the Governance of Britain Green Paper and publication of the Goldsmith Review.
I can confirm that the Government remain committed to carrying out a second, more detailed public consultation on how voting rights might be granted to serving prisoners, and how far those rights should be extended. But we consider it essential that any changes to the law to extend the franchise to those held in custody are considered in the context of the wider development of policy on the franchise and the rights that attach to British citizenship.
During April 2008 we provided the Committee of Ministers with a detailed note about implementing the Hirst judgment and we have undertaken to submit
further information in due course on the form and timing of a further consultation in the light of the wider debate which is now taking place. Following consideration of the outcome of consultation, legislation to implement the Governments final approach will be brought forward as soon as parliamentary time allows.
Mr. Hanson: The Government are committed to reducing reoffending in England and Wales. In the last 10 years the Government have invested in a wide range of programmes to tackle the root causes of offending behaviour and punish and reform offenders. This is reflected in the Governments commitment to reduce the volume of reoffending and address the level of serious re-offences in the new Make Communities Safer PSA 23. To provide strategic direction for this work and to promote an effective cross-government partnership response, I co-chair a Reducing Re-Offending Inter Ministerial Group (IMG) which includes Ministers from 14 Government Departments.
Maria Eagle: The Government recognise that women offenders have specific needs which are being addressed in the design of community sentences in order to reducing their reoffending. The Community Order introduced in 2005 enables courts to tailor community sentences to the needs of all offenders. Both nationally and at probation area levels, we are looking to increase the provision of community-based sentences for women including the availability of women-only settings for their delivery. We are also looking to increase the skills and knowledge within the probation service to enable staff to deliver appropriate interventions that will enable more women to complete their sentence successfully.
18. Michael Fabricant: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what recent discussions he has had with the Home Secretary on the deportation of foreign prisoners on their release from prison. 
Mr. Hanson: The Government are giving careful consideration to the recommendations of the chairs of the independent review of restraint in juvenile secure settings, Andrew Williamson and Peter Smallridge. We intend to publish the chairs full report alongside our response to its recommendations by the end of October.
20. Mrs. James: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what measures he has put in place to increase co-operation with other Government Departments to improve the rehabilitation of offenders. 
Mr. Hanson: The new suite of public service agreements (PSAs), and in particular the Home Office led Make Communities Safer and Cabinet Office led Socially Excluded Adults PSAs, provide important levers to support a cross-government focus on offender rehabilitation and reducing re-offending. To provide strategic direction for this work and to promote an effective cross-government partnership response, I co-chair a Reducing Re-Offending Inter Ministerial Group (IMG) which includes Ministers from 14 Government Departments. We have recently completed a formal consultation that builds on our partnership work to date and informs us in moving forward.
Bridget Prentice: The Lord Chief Justice and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor meet on a regular basis. The Lord Chief Justice set out his views on sharia law in a lecture on 2 July 2008 at the East London Muslim Centre.
Maria Eagle: The Government want to work towards making community justice the norm. Therefore, we have set up 13 community justice courts across England and Wales with a view to testing the concept fully before extending out to all courts.
Mr. Hanson: The Government are considering any encouragement they can provide to support continued growth of adult restorative justice, taking account of the research report published on 16 June on its impact on reoffending. Restorative justice is embedded in youth justice. Pilots of a new out of court disposal started in April 2008.
Mr. Wills: We published the Review of Voting Systems earlier this year 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. The White Paper on House of Lords reform, published yesterday, which includes a number of options on possible voting systems for elections to an elected second Chamber, contributes to this continuing debate.
Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps he plans to take to ensure that victims' personal statements are (a) encouraged, (b) drawn to courts' attention and (c) taken into account. 
Maria Eagle: The Ministry of Justice has been reviewing the use of the victim personal statement. We are currently updating guidance for victims and CJS practitioners with a view to running an awareness raising campaign later this year.
One example of the way in which use of the VPS in court has developed is via the CPS Victim Focus Scheme where (since October 2007) in cases of murder, manslaughter and qualifying cases involving road traffic fatalities the prosecutor will offer to read out in court a VPS made by a family member of the victim.
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what statutory offences there are of causing a miscarriage through violence against a pregnant woman; and how many prosecutions there have been for such offences in the last 12 months. 
Causing a miscarriage is an offence under section 58 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861. Causing a child to die if the child is capable of being born alive is an offence under section 1 of the Infant
Life Preservation Act 1929. Both are subject to the Abortion Act 1967, which makes the medical termination of pregnancy lawful in certain circumstances. Offences under these Acts do not differentiate between miscarriages caused by violence and other miscarriages.
If a miscarriage is caused by violence, it would normally be dealt with as an offence of violence against the mother, such as assault causing actual bodily harm. In this case, the circumstances of the offence are not recorded separately.
The information reported to the Ministry of Justice on court proceedings shows one prosecution for child destruction under section 1 of the Infant Life Preservation Act 1929 and no prosecutions under section 58 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 in 2006, the latest year for which data have been published. Data for 2007 will be available in the autumn of 2008.
Mr. Wills: The Ministry of Justice was created on 9 May 2007 bringing together the former Department for Constitutional Affairs (DCA) and parts of the Home Office, namely the National Offender Management Service, which includes HM Prison Service and the Office for Criminal Justice Reform.
The following figures show the number of employees for the former Department for Constitutional Affairs for the period mentioned, and for the first year of the new Ministry of Justice. The machinery of government change creating the new Ministry brought together several organisations from the Home Office, contributing to the significant increase against those figures for the former DCA. The new organisations account for 99 per cent. of the overall increase in the number of staff, most of whom work for HM Prison Service. Staff within the Probation Service are paid through a number of different arrangements with local authorities and are not included in these figures.
|Ministry of Justice: Staff numbers|
|F ull-time equivalents (FTEs)|
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