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Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what (a) representations he has received from and (b) discussions he has had since October 2008 with hon. and right hon. Members wishing to amend the Coroners and Justice Bill to (i) repeal and (ii) clarify the provisions of the existing tow on the prohibition of assisted suicide; what response he gave; and if he will make a statement. [242670]

Maria Eagle: I have received four letters from hon. Members and right hon. Members during this period. Of these, one was on behalf of a constituent who wanted the law to be changed so that terminally ill people have the right to seek medical assistance to die; and three were on behalf of constituents who were concerned about the application of the law in this area to websites promoting suicide and suicide methods.

With regard to the issue of legalising assisted suicide, the Government believe that this is an issue of individual conscience and hence a matter for Parliament to decide. Proposals to legalise doctor-assisted dying have been debated in Parliament on a number of occasions but none of the previous private Members’ Bills has progressed further than Second Reading. As to the concerns about possible links between suicide and the internet, I informed the House on 17 September 2008, Official Report, column 142WS, that we intend to update the language of the Suicide Act in a way which we hope will make clear that it applies as much to online actions as it does offline. I have had one meeting with an hon. Member about this.

Human Trafficking: Refuges

Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many victims of human trafficking have gone missing whilst in safe accommodation in each of the last five years. [243306]

Maria Eagle: Data on the number of victims of human trafficking who have gone missing over the past five years is not collected.

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Human Trafficking: Telephone Services

Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether the Government has recently considered establishing a helpline in order to provide information for victims of trafficking. [243304]

Maria Eagle: The Government funded Poppy project already has a well known telephone number that is used in awareness campaigns and for information for victims.

Offenders: Coastal Areas

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will estimate the number of (a) ex-offenders living in the principal seaside towns, (b) ex-offenders per 10,000 population in such towns and (c) ex-offenders per 10,000 population nationally. [244316]

Mr. Hanson: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 25 November 2008, Official Report, columns 1238-39W, which stated:

Powers of Attorney

Mr. Ian Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what further steps he will take to reduce the time taken by the Office of the Public Guardian for the registration of lasting powers of attorney. [243111]

Bridget Prentice: Currently the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) aims to register all Lasting Powers of Attorney that do not contain defects within nine weeks of receipt. This includes a statutory six-week waiting period during which objections to registration can be made.

Where there are defects within an application we aim to inform parties of the problem within two weeks of receipt. Timescales for the processing of applications beyond that point will be dependent upon the nature of the defect and how easily it can be rectified. The OPG has already changed its processes in relation to applications with rectifiable defects to trigger the statutory waiting period from the same point as for valid applications. Previous practice was to wait until the fault was resolved before triggering

the waiting period. This has potentially reduced the time taken to register applications containing defects (where they can be resolved) by up to six weeks.

The OPG is undertaking a review of the implementation of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 to determine how well the Act's aims are being met in practice. Among the areas to be looked at are the current LPA forms and the processes by which they are made and registered. We
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will be considering carefully to what extent the time taken to register applications can be reduced as part of this work.

However we need to keep in mind that the six-week statutory waiting period forms a large part of the current timescale. This is an important safeguard and allows objections to be made to the Public Guardian in relation to the application. We would need to think carefully about whether this period could be reduced significantly without limiting its value.

Prison Service: Industrial Relations

Mr. Garnier: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what industrial relations agreements are in place between his Department and the Prison Service on the one hand and (a) the Prison Officers Association and (b) the Prison Governors Association on the other; and what contractual or other rights (i) the Prison Officers Association and (ii) the Prison Governors Association have with regard to access to the Prison Service Pay Review Body. [243616]

Mr. Hanson: NOMS recognises the POA for collective bargaining purposes. However, following the POA’s withdrawal from the Joint Industrial Relations Procedural Agreement in May, there is no formal industrial relations agreement in place. However, a new local (prison level) disputes procedure was agreed and implemented in November 2007 and further negotiations will take place on developing a new national disputes procedure.

There is a Voluntary Agreement in place between the Prison Service and the PGA, which includes arrangements for progressing industrial relations disputes.

The Prison Service Pay Review Body (PSPRB) was set up by means of statutory instrument in April 2001. There is no contractual right for the Prison Officers Association or the Prison Governors Association to access the PSPRB.

Prisoners: Rehabilitation

Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what his estimate is of the number of people who (a) started and (b) completed offending behaviour programmes (i) in prison and (ii) on probation in each of the last five years; and what the rate of re-offending was for each, broken down by type of programme. [243282]

Mr. Hanson: The following tables sets out the estimated number of starts or commencements and completions for accredited offending behaviour and drug treatment programmes in prison and probation from 2003-04 to 2007-08.

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Programme Starts( 1) Completions


Offending Behaviour



Drug Treatment




Offending Behaviour



Drug Treatment




Offending Behaviour



Drug Treatment




Offending Behaviour



Drug Treatment




Offending Behaviour



Drug Treatment



(1) The figures for offending behaviour programme starts are estimates


Programme Commencements Completions


Domestic violence



Sex offender







Domestic violence



Sex offender







Domestic violence



Sex offender







Domestic violence



Sex offender







Domestic violence



Sex offender






(1) Other includes general offending behaviour programmes, substance misuse programmes and violence programmes

There will be a difference between the two sets of figures as offenders may begin and complete a programme in different years and some offenders will fail to complete the programme. The reasons for non completion vary but include, transfer, breach of programme requirement, removal of programme requirement by the court or receipt of a custodial or other sentence. These figures have been drawn from administrative data systems. Although care is taken when processing and analysing the returns, the detail collected is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large scale recording system.

Reconviction rates are not measured on a programme by programme basis. Instead NOMS relies on research evidence to determine effectiveness.

Prisons: Construction

Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what estimate he has made of the expected annual capital cost of the prison building programme in each year between 2007-08 and 2014-15. [244178]

Mr. Hanson: The following table shows the current estimated capital cost of the capacity programme in each financial year from 2007-08 to 2011-12. This does not include capital costs for the three prison clusters, but does include an allowance for the purchase of land for the first prison cluster.

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Current Forecast Capital (£ million )











Prisons: Essex

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many prison places his Department expects to be available in Essex in each year from 2007 to 2012. [243904]

Mr. Hanson: There are no plans at present to expand HMPYOI Chelmsford and HMPYOI Bullwood Hall, which have a combined operational capacity of 923.

We are currently undertaking searches for appropriate sites for three prison clusters (formerly known as Titans) in regions of high strategic need, including London and the South East, but no final decisions have yet been made.

Prisons: Mental Health Services

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what estimate he has made of the additional cost per prison placement of treating in prison a prisoner with a severe psychiatric disorder. [240745]

Phil Hope: I have been asked to reply.

No estimate has been made. A person whose mental illness is too severe to justify their remaining in prison is transferred to national health service secure services. All mental health services within prisons have now been mainstreamed with the NHS, and it is the responsibility of the relevant primary care trust to commission these services.

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what training is provided for prison officers who deal with offenders with severe psychotic disorders; and what the cost of such training was in the latest period for which figures are available. [240747]

Phil Hope: I have been asked to reply.

Over £600,000 funding has been available over three years to provide mental health awareness training for prison officers and staff. This funding is available for 2008-09 and will continue to provide staff with training and the skills to better understand and support prisoners with mental health problems in custody.

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