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21 July 2008 : Column 907W—continued


Mr. Burrowes: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice which companies or employers are members of the corporate alliance working with prisons. [220644]

Mr. Hanson: Employers who support the Reducing Re-offending Corporate Alliance have agreed to employ offenders or are contributing to improving offenders’ skills or employability. In signing up to the Alliance they have agreed that their experiences can be used to promote the case for employing offenders with other employers.

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Employers that have signed up to the Reducing Re-offending Corporate Alliance are:

Prisons: Electronic Surveillance

Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer of 9 June 2008, Official Report, column 104W, on prisons: electronic surveillance, how many covert surveillance operations relating to hon. Members were authorised by the Home Secretary in 1999; what the Government's policy was in 1999 on the surveillance of hon. Members meeting their constituents in prison; and if he will make a statement. [220619]

Mr. Straw: It is our policy to neither confirm nor deny covert surveillance operations in prisons. I refer the hon. Member to the then Prime Minister Tony Blair's written answer to the hon. Member for Lewes (Norman Baker) on 4 December 1997, Official Report, column 321W, which made it clear that the Wilson doctrine applied to telephone interception and to the use of electronic surveillance by any of the three security and intelligence agencies. Visits by MPs to prisoners in prisons were not excluded from this policy.

Prisons: Food

Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what estimate he has made of the cost per day of the food allowance for prisoners in (a) prison cells and (b) police station cells. [219140]

Mr. Straw: The cost of providing food in prisons is approximately £2 per prisoner per day. For prisoners held in police cells under Operation Safeguard, the cost, agreed between NOMS and ACPO, is up to a ceiling of £12. This may be exceeded under exceptional circumstances.

The difference arises because the provision of food in prison can be planned with much greater certainty and prison establishments are able to make use of bulk purchasing.

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Prisons: Homicide

Mr. Garnier: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many homicides have occurred in (a) prisons and
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(b) young offender institutions in England and Wales in each year since 1997. [218879]

Mr. Straw: The answer is given in the following table.

Homicides( 1) in prisons and YOIs

1997 1998 2000 2003 2004 2005 2007

(a) Prison

HMP Birmingham



HMP Cardiff


HMP Full Sutton


HMP Garth


HMP Leeds



HMP Leicester


HMP Lewes


HMP Liverpool


HMP Manchester


HMP Risley


HMP Rye Hill


HMP Wayland


HMP Woodhill


(b) YOI

HMYOI Feltham


HMYOI Stoke Heath


(1) This includes apparent and suspected homicides where no conviction has been obtained and/or inquest verdicts have not yet been returned. This table does not include uncategorised deaths which may subsequently be classified as homicides by NOMS.

Prisons: Medical Equipment

Mr. Garnier: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many (a) prisons and (b) young offender institutions are equipped with readily accessible and operational defibrillators; and what measures are in place to train staff in (i) defibrillator use and (ii) cardiopulmonary resuscitation. [218877]

Mr. Hanson: There are no central records of defibrillators held in prisons and young offender institutions. It is the responsibility of the governing governor or director of each prison or young offender institution to determine the requirements for first aid training and training in defibrillator use for their establishment by conducting a risk assessment and training needs analysis in line with Prison Service general training requirements and Health and Safety Executive (HSE) legislation.

Prisons: Voluntary Organisations

Mr. Burrowes: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice which prisons employ a voluntary sector coordinator. [220643]

Maria Eagle: Prison Service Order 4190 “Strategy for working with the Voluntary and Community Sector” (2002) includes a mandatory action for governors, area managers and head of groups to “give responsibility to a member of their senior management team for oversight of voluntary and community groups as part of their job description”. Although some prisons have a dedicated voluntary sector co-ordinator, this role is usually undertaken part-time by the head of reducing re-offending, head of learning and skills, the diversity manager, a member of chaplaincy or another member of staff depending on the establishment.

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what progress has been made towards the UK withdrawing its reservation to article 36(c) of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. [219961]

Mr. Hanson: The United Kingdom (UK) does not have a reservation against Article 36 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. I assume the hon. Gentleman’s question refers to the UK’s reservation against Article 37(c) of the Convention.

My right hon. Friend the Minister of State for Children, Schools and Families (Beverley Hughes) and I are considering the findings of an official level review into whether or not the reservation remains relevant to the secure estate for children and young .people in England and Wales. The reservation against Article 37(c) applies to the United Kingdom as a whole and so we are considering the overall position with the Scottish Executive and Northern Ireland Office.

Volunteer Referral Order Panel

Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice for what reason members of the Volunteer Referral Order panel are disqualified from serving in that capacity for more than six years; and if he will make a statement. [220806]

Mr. Hanson: The tenure of volunteer youth offender panel members is currently limited to a maximum period of six years; an initial three year period which can then be extended to a maximum of six. These terms are set out in “Referral Orders and Youth Offender Panels—Guidance for courts, Youth Offending Teams and Youth Offender Panels” issued jointly by the Home Office,
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Lord Chancellor’s Department and the Youth Justice Board in February 2002. This guidance is currently being reviewed and the matter of tenure for volunteer youth offender panel members is being considered as part of this review. In the interim volunteer panel members may have their service extended by a further year. The review is expected to be completed this autumn.

Young Offender Institutions: Crimes of Violence

Mr. Garnier: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many violent incidents involving knives and other offensive weapons occurred in (a) young offender institutions and (b) prisons in England and Wales in each of the last 10 years for which figures are available; and what proportion of such incidents involved prisoner (i) on prisoner and (ii) on staff violence in each such year; [218875]

(2) how many (a) knives and (b) other offensive weapons have been found in (i) young offender institutions and (ii) prisons in England and Wales in each of the last 10 years for which figures are available. [218881]

Mr. Straw: The Prison Service Incident Reporting System (IRS) processes high volumes of data which are constantly being updated. The data provide a good indication of overall numbers but should not be interpreted as absolute. In addition information recorded as assault incidents may involve one or many prisoners as some assault incidents may involve more than one assailant or more than one victim. In a proportion of incidents only the victim is known.

The National Offender Management Service (NOMS) defines violence in prisons as ‘any incident in which a person is abused, threatened or assaulted. This includes an explicit or implicit challenge to their safety, well-being or health. The resulting harm may be physical, emotional or psychological'. This definition takes into account the impact of fear on emotional health and well-being.

The numbers on IRS given in the tables refer to all incidents recorded as assaults. These may also include threatening behaviour, projection of bodily fluids and other non-contact events and allegations.

Assault information is recorded at establishment level in four categories: Prisoner on prisoner, prisoner on officer, other (including miscellaneous assault information) and prisoner on other. The recorded incidents of prisoner on officer are not completely exclusive to officers; establishment recording sometimes includes in this category assaults on other prison staff. The category ‘prisoner on other’ contains few entries and these may also include prison staff as well as visitors, legal visitors etc. However, for the purpose of this response the categories ‘prisoner on officer’ and ‘prisoner on other’ are used to answer the question regarding prisoner on staff assaults.

In the majority of assault incidents there is no recorded use of weapon. The figures in relation to staff are very small so that proportions are not meaningful.

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