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10 Sep 2008 : Column 1978W—continued


More work will be carried out in 2009 to test the feasibility of using more complex statistical techniques to enable comparison between custodial sentences of different lengths.

For more information on the latest adult re-offending statistics please consult:

Mr. Garnier: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many prisoners serving indeterminate sentences for public protection do not have (a) an offender assessment or equivalent and (b) a sentence plan. [220909]

Mr. Straw: In August, the data base created to support management of offenders serving indeterminate sentences of imprisonment for public protection (IPP) indicated that, for those IPP prisoners with recorded tariff dates, where tariffs expired on or before 31 March 2008, (a) 4 - less than 1 per cent. of the total were recorded as not having an assessment; and (b) 29 - just over 4 per cent. of the total were recorded as not having a sentence plan. For those offenders serving an IPP sentence with a tariff expiry date between 1 April 2008 and 30 September 2008, the data base indicated that (a) 3 - less than 1 per cent. of the total—did not have an assessment and (b) 34 - just over 7 per cent. of the total did not have a sentence plan.

The data base is necessarily a large administrative system tracking a changing and moving population and it therefore may not be 100 per cent. complete on any one day. It is updated at intervals rather than being a real time record.

Prison Service: Ethnic Groups

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps his Department is taking to increase the number of prison officers and prison staff from an ethnic minority background. [220870]

Mr. Hanson: The attraction of people with suitable competencies from ethnic minority backgrounds is a key element in all recruitment campaigns for prison staff. In particular, for operational staff, including prison officers and senior managers, the National Offender Management Service is using a range of methods for attracting ethnic minority staff such as targeted advertising, outreach and other recruitment procedures. The recent prison officer recruitment campaign has been successful in attracting 13 per cent. of applicants from a non-white background.

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many and what proportion of prison officers in England and Wales were from an ethnic minority background in (a) 2007 and (b) 1997. [220871]

Mr. Hanson: Information in the following table shows the total figures for public and contracted establishments.

The number and proportion of prison officers from an ethnic minority background( 1, 2, 3)
As at 31 December each year Number of BME prison officers Proportion prison officers recorded as BME (Percentage)

1997

525

2.27

2007

1269

5.19

(1) Prison officers: Includes prison officers, senior officers and principal officers within the public sector Prison Service and custody officers and senior custody officers within contracted establishments, where available.
(2) Ethnic minority background has been classified as those staff from a black and ethnic minority background (BME).
(3) Per cent. as a proportion of those with known ethnicity.

Information is provided for four of the eleven contracted establishments as at the time of the request data were not available from three separate providers. In 1997 only four contracted prisons Altcourse, Doncaster, Parc and Wolds were open.


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Prison Service: Females

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many and what percentage of prison officers in England and Wales are women. [220872]

Mr. Hanson: Information in the following table shows the total figures for public and contracted establishments.

The data are provided as a snapshot at the end of June 2008(1).

Number and proportion of female prison officers ( 1)

Number of female prison officers

6,557

Proportion prison officers recorded as Female (Percentage)

23.73

(1) Prison Officers: Includes prison officers, senior officers and principal officers within the public sector Prison Service and custody officers and senior custody officers within contracted establishments, where available.

Prisoners Release

Mr. Garnier: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice for what reasons the 110 prisoners who remain unlawfully at large have been recalled to custody while on end of custody licence. [223351]

Mr. Straw: 1,153 offenders had been recalled from the end of custody licence scheme during the period since the scheme began and until 31 July 2008. As of 15 August, 1,043 such offenders had been successfully apprehended and returned to custody. A subsequent check has confirmed that there were 109 offenders who were still unlawfully at large as of 15 August (not 110 as previously reported). A breakdown of the reasons for which these offenders were recalled is outlined in the following table.

Offenders may be recalled for more than one reason. A total of 123 reasons for recall have been recorded in respect of the 109 offenders reported as unlawfully at large.

Reasons for recall from ECL Number of offenders

Alleged reoffending

22

Failure to live at an approved address

34

Out of touch with the probation service

58

Poor behaviour

9


Mr. Garnier: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what estimate he has made of the number of prisoners who will be released early under the end of custody licence scheme between the commencement of the scheme in June 2007 and January 2009; and what proportion of the prison population this figure represents. [223352]

Mr. Straw: The ECL bulletin published on 29 August showed that between 29 June 2007 and 31 July 2008 34,175 prisoners were released under the ECL scheme. Around 2,500 prisoners are released each month on ECL. This figure is not expected to vary appreciably between now and January 2009. If the type of prisoner
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received into prison and the eligibility of those prisoners remains constant, we would expect around 15,000 prisoners to be released in the six months to the end of January 2009. This would bring the cumulative total since the scheme began to around 49, 000 releases.

The average ECL caseload is 1,350. This represents 2 per cent. of those in prison based on a population of 84,139 at the end of July 2008.

Information on numbers released under the scheme is published monthly in the statistics bulletin End of Custody Licence releases and recalls, available from the Library of the House and the Ministry of Justice website at the following address:

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.

Prisoners Release: Hertfordshire

Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many people have been released on end of custody licence from prison in (a) St. Albans constituency and (b) Hertfordshire in each year for which figures are available. [221413]

Mr. Hanson: The available information on numbers released by establishment is published monthly, in Table 2 of the statistical bulletin End of Custody Licence releases and recalls, available from the Library of the House and the Ministry of Justice website at the following address:

The end of custody licence scheme was introduced on 29 June 2007. From 29 June 2007 to 31 July 2008 there were 17 prisoners released from The Mount prison, Hertfordshire, under the scheme. There are no prisons in the St. Albans constituency.

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.

Prisoners: Ethnic Groups

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many and what percentage of (a) male and (b) female prisoners in England and Wales were of an ethnic minority background in (i) 2007 and (ii) 1997. [220873]

Mr. Hanson: Information on the size of the prison population, by sex, ethnic group, and nationality, is published in the annual volume Offender Management Caseload Statistics (Table 8.4), available from the Library of the House and from the Ministry of Justice website at:

and (2007 data) in the publication Statistics on Race and the Criminal Justice System—2006-07 at the following link:


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At the end of June 2007, the latest published information, there were (a) 19,658 male ethnic minority prisoners held in all prisons in England and Wales, or 26 per cent. of the total male prisoner population (based on those with known ethnic group); and (b) 1,250 female ethnic minority prisoners or 29 per cent. of the total female prisoner population. The corresponding figures at the end of June 1997 were (a) 10,587 male ethnic minority prisoners, or 18 per cent. and (b) 659 female ethnic minority prisoners, or 25 per cent.

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. Prior to 2004 the 1991 census codes were used.

Prisoners: Food

Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice when the amount allocated to the daily cost of food for a prisoner in a (a) prison cell and (b) police station cell was last increased. [220924]

Mr. Straw: The public sector Prison Service does not set a daily food allowance. Each Governor sets a food budget based on the establishment's requirements. The average daily food cost per prisoner in public sector prisons is around £2.

Under an agreement between NOMS and ACPO there is an upper limit to the amount the police may charge for the provision of meals for prisoners held overnight in police cells under Operation Safeguard. From 1997 to June 2006 the daily charge remained at £10. Since June 2006, when the figure was last increased to take account of rising costs, the police have been able to charge up to £12 for the provision of meals for a twenty-four hour period or part twenty-four hour period. This may be exceeded under exceptional circumstances.

The difference between costs under Operation Safeguard and in prison 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.

Prisoners: Voting Rights

Paul Holmes: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what representations his Department has received from (a) the Council of Europe and (b) EU institutions following the European Court of Human Rights' judgment in the case of Hirst v. UK on voting rights for prisoners; [223436]

(2) what plans he has to launch a consultation on extending voting rights to prisoners in England and Wales. [223437]

Mr. Straw: The judgment of the European Court of Human Rights 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, the Government 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
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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.

The Government remain committed to carrying out a second, more detailed public consultation on how voting rights might be granted to serving prisoners.

Since the judgment we have kept the Committee of Ministers updated on progress towards implementing the ‘Hirst No. 2’ judgment. During April 2008 we provided the Committee's Secretariat with a detailed note about implementation of the judgment and we have undertaken to submit further information in due course on the form and timing of a further consultation.

Prisons: Discipline

Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what arrangements are in place to facilitate the transfer of enhanced status points awarded in recognition of good behaviour in young offender institutions and prisons between establishments. [223244]

Mr. Hanson: It is a requirement of the Incentives and Earned Privileges Scheme that young offenders and adult prisoners retain their enhanced status on transfer between prison establishments so that their good behaviour continues to be recognised. Paragraph 2.23 of Prison Service Order (PSO) 4000 (Incentives and Earned Privileges), explains this in greater detail. A copy of the full PSO has been placed in the Libraries of the House and at:

Prisons: Drugs

Peter Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will estimate the level of use of illegal drugs by prisoners in each of the last 10 years. [223430]

Mr. Hanson: The best measure of drug misuse in prisons is the random mandatory drug testing programme. The percentage of prisoners testing positive under the programme in each of the last 10 financial years is detailed in the following table. The data illustrate the success of the National Offender Management Service’s drug strategy for prisons. This strategy has three key elements:

The Government have recently commissioned a report on drug use in prisons and accepted the recommendations.


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Percentage of prisoners testing positive under the random mandatory drug testing programme in each of the last 10 financial years

Positive rate (percentage)

1998-99

18.1

1999-2000

14.4

2000-01

12.2

2001-02

11.5

2002-03

11.7

2003-04

12.5

2004-05

11.8

2005-06

10.3

2006-07

8.8

2007-08

9.1

2008-09 year to date (April to July 2008)

8.3


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