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The latest reoffending statistics for adults, ‘Reoffending of adults: results from the 2006 cohort’, were published in September 2008 and can be obtained from:

UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion

Kelvin Hopkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what response he plans to make to the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief's report of her mission to the UK (A/HRC/7/10/Add.3). [190523]

Gillian Merron: I have been asked to reply.

The Government welcome the publication of the report on the United Kingdom by the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief. The Government have noted the contents of her report and welcomed the positive statements about freedom of religion or belief in the United Kingdom as well as her recognition of the great wealth of experience we have on this issue. We expect to make a statement at the
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Human Rights Council in March 2009 in response to the Special Rapporteur's presentation of her report there.

The Government were pleased that, during her visit to the UK in June 2007, the Special Rapporteur was able to meet a wide range of government officials, political leaders, legal professionals, academics and representatives of religious communities and civil society.

The Government, and the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, are firmly committed to upholding the right to freedom of religion or belief, including through legislation and policies which address discrimination, intolerance and violence.

The Government's aim is cohesive communities in which every individual, regardless of ethnic origin or religion or belief (or lack of it) is able to fulfil his or her potential through the enjoyment of equal rights, opportunities and responsibilities.

I apologise for the delay in replying to your question.

Unpaid Fines: Sentencing

Julie Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many women from Wales were held in prison for non-payment of fines on 1 April (a) 2008, (b) 2007, (c) 2006, (d) 2005 and (e) 2004. [237690]

Mr. Hanson: Figures showing the number of women who were held in custody at 31 March 2004-2008 whose sentencing court was in Wales can be found in the following table.

As at 31 March Number

2004

0

2005

1

2006

2

2007

0

2008

1


These figures are based on the court from which the prisoner was received.

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.

Whitemoor Prison

Mr. Moss: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many prison officer staff have contested dismissal through tribunal from HMP Whitemoor in each of the last 10 years; and what the outcome was in each case. [237050]

Mr. Malik: In 2007, the number of prison officer staff contesting their dismissal through an employment tribunal was five. Three of the cases are continuing. In one case the claim was unsuccessful and the other was settled. There have been no cases in 2008. Details in respect of earlier years are not available.

Mr. Moss: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many prison officer staff have been dismissed from the service from HMP Whitemoor in each of the last 10 years, broken down by grounds for dismissal. [237051]


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Mr. Malik: Records are available only for 2007 and 2008. In 2007, the number of prison officer staff dismissed was 20. Of that number 13 were dismissed for medical inefficiency with seven dismissed for misconduct. For 2008, as at 18 November; three prison officer staff have been dismissed, all for medical inefficiency. Information on earlier years is not readily available.

Young Offenders: Education

Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether education or training is compulsory for young offenders aged (a) between 15 and 17 and (b) between 18 and 21 years in young offender institutions. [238289]

Mr. Hanson: The Young Offender Institution Rules and Prison Rules provide that, in the case of a young person of compulsory school age, arrangements shall be made for his participation in education or training courses for at least 15 hours a week within the normal week.

The Youth Justice Board require that 90 per cent. of young people in juvenile accommodation (including those aged 15-17) in YOIs receive 25 hours of education, training and personal development activity per week.

Neither education nor training is compulsory for young offenders aged between 18 and 21 years in young offender institutions.

Young People: Remand in Custody

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many supported accommodation beds are available for juveniles on remand, broken down by youth offending team area; [236829]

(2) how many remand foster beds are available for juveniles, broken down by youth offending team area; [236830]

(3) how many beds are available for juveniles detained overnight pending court appearances under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, broken down by youth offending team area. [236831]

Mr. Hanson: This information is not collected centrally and to do so could be carried out only at disproportionate cost.

Local authorities have responsibility for placement of juveniles on non-secure remand in a range of accommodation based on their needs. The accommodation may be supported, placement in foster care, in a children’s home or in the family home. The provision of these places is a matter for the local authority to meet local need.

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what proportion of juveniles who have been remanded in custody or under court ordered secure remand pending trial were (a) acquitted and (b) received a non-custodial sentence upon conviction in each of the last five years; [236832]

(2) how many (a) remands in custody and (b) court ordered secure remands were made in respect of those under 18 years old in (i) youth courts, (ii) adult magistrates courts and (iii) Crown courts in each of the last five years; [236833]


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(3) what the average length of custodial remands for children tried in (a) youth courts, (b) adult magistrates courts and (c) the Crown court is; and what the average was in each case in each of the last five years; [236834]

(4) how many juveniles were (a) detained by the police overnight, (b) placed in local authority accommodation and (c) bailed pending a first court appearance in each of the last five years; [236835]

(5) what proportion of juveniles charged with an offence were remanded in custody in the latest period for which figures are available, broken down by offence. [237745]

Maria Eagle: With regards to the proportion of juveniles who have been remanded in custody or under court ordered secure remand pending trial and the proportion of juveniles charged with an offence were remanded in custody broken down by offence, I will write to the hon. Member within two weeks when it is anticipated that the data to address those juveniles who have been acquitted and received a non-custodial sentence upon conviction will be available.

These data are not routinely collated and require five years of data from large administrative datasets to be analysed which is a resource intensive and time-consuming process. It is planned to review the remands data collection during 2009.

The information to answer the remainder of the questions is not readily available and would require individual court files to be examined which could be carried out only at disproportionate cost.

Northern Ireland

Abortion

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he expects the Northern Ireland Assembly will take on responsibility for the criminal law in Northern Ireland, with particular reference to abortion; what recent discussions he has had on the issue; what recent representations he has received on the issue; what response he gave; and if he will make a statement. [237713]

Mr. Woodward: I refer the hon. Member to the written ministerial statement I made on 19 November 2008, Official Report, column 23WS.

I have received a number of representations from interested parties on all sides of the debate on the abortion law in Northern Ireland. The Government’s position remains that the best forum for discussion of these matters is the Northern Ireland Assembly when it assumes responsibility for the criminal law. While the precise timing of the devolution of policing and justice is a matter for the Assembly, an agreed process is under way that will end in the transfer of policing and justice powers, including responsibility for the criminal law relating to abortion.

Alcoholic Drinks: Crime

Sammy Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many and what proportion of arrests in Northern Ireland were for drunken and disorderly behaviour in each council area in each of the last five years. [239271]


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Paul Goggins: That is an operational matter for the Chief Constable. I have asked him to reply directly to the hon. Member, and a copy of his letter will be placed in the Library of the House.

Departmental Buildings

Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Rochford and Southend, East of 6 October 2008, Official Report, columns 85-86W, on departmental buildings, what the cost of each refurbishment was. [233392]

Paul Goggins: The information provided in the answer of 6 October related solely to offices that were newly opened and requiring fit-out works before occupation. None of these premises required refurbishment.

Departmental Consultants

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many external consultants work for his Department. [236653]

Mr. Woodward: 25 external consultants work for the Northern Ireland Office.

Departmental Hospitality

Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much his Department has spent on (a) hosting events and (b) bottled water in the last 12 months. [234239]

Mr. Woodward: The amount spent by the Northern Ireland Office, excluding its agencies and executive NDPBs, on hosting events in 2007-08 was £318,176.

The amount spent on bottled water which includes water provided for water coolers for the 2007-08 financial year was £25,777. The NIO has recently reviewed its drinking water policy and decided that where staff have access to tap water which is of drinking water quality, bottled water should no longer be purchased.

Departmental Information Officers

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many full-time equivalent press officers (a) work and (b) provide assistance for his Department. [236654]

Mr. Woodward: 13 full-time press officers and one part-time press officer work for my Department.

Departmental Internet

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many page hits from and visitors his departmental website received for the 2007-08 financial year. [236655]

Mr. Woodward: During the financial year 2007-08, my departmental website (nio.gov.uk) had 263,214 visitors and 11,356,942 page hits.


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Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the cost of maintaining his departmental website (a) was in 2007-08 and (b) are expected to be in 2008-09. [236656]

Mr. Woodward: The cost of maintaining my departmental website (nio.gov.uk) in 2007-08 was £4,308. It is expected to remain the same in 2008-09.

Departmental Manpower

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people who are not civil servants his Department employs; and how many civil servants it employs. [234230]

Paul Goggins: Within the Northern Ireland Office, its agencies and legal offices, 16.5 people are employed who are not civil servants.

The numbers of civil servants employed by the Northern Ireland Office, its agencies and legal offices are as follows:

Departmental Pensions

Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the cost of pension contributions incurred by his Department was in each of the last three financial years; and what the planned expenditure on pension contributions is for 2008-09. [234233]

Paul Goggins: The cost of pension contributions incurred by the Northern Ireland Office Core Department in the last three financial years are £4,379,000 (2005-06), £5,073,000 (2006-07) and £5,422,000 (2007-08). The estimate for expenditure for 2008-09 is £5,612,000. That estimate assumes a 3.5 per cent. inflationary rise on the 2007-08 position.

Departmental Travel

Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) how much was spent on his Department's staff's travel within the UK in the last 12 months; [234243]

(2) how much was spent on his Department's staff's international travel in the last 12 months. [234244]

Mr. Woodward: The Northern Ireland Office, excluding its agencies and executive NDPBs, spent £3,187,123 on travel costs during 2007-08. It is possible to separate domestic and international travel only at disproportionate cost.


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