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Mr. Garnier: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice when the recent outbreak of sickness caused by a norovirus infection was first detected at HMP Young Offender Institute (YOI) Glen Parva; how many prisoners and staff have been infected since then; how many prisoners required medical treatment outside the YOI; how the infection was introduced into the YOI; when he expects the YOI to be clear of the infection; what effect the infection has had on (i) prison security and (ii) the provision of education and rehabilitation for the prisoners; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hanson: On 6 December, 16 prisoners at HMYOI Glen Parva reported sick with symptoms of sickness and vomiting. The following day this number had risen to 142. The illness was confirmed as being the norovirus on 9 December. By 10 December, the number of prisoners reported to be suffering from this had peaked at 154.
Those prisoners who displayed symptoms had their movement restricted in order to reduce the risk of the illness spreading. All received medical attention and were cared for appropriately. No prisoner required outside medical treatment.
Since 6 December, there has been a slight increase in staff sickness across the establishment, however, only a handful of staff have reported to be experiencing similar symptoms to those described. The prison has worked closely with the local Environmental Health and the Health Protection Agencies in an attempt to establish potential causes and to reduce the risk of further infection. It is believed that the infection was introduced in the main prison population by either a member of staff or prisoner working from within the main prison kitchen.
In the initial stages some changes to the prison regime were necessary, however, as the outbreak occurred over a weekend period when the establishment operates a restricted regime, only prisoner association periods were affected. This was minimal and the prison was operating business as usual from 9 December. There has been no impact on prison security.
Mr. Dhanda: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the reasons were for the decision to downgrade Gloucester prison; if he will communicate those reasons directly to the prisons authorities; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hanson: Prison ratings are determined using a range of performance data which can then be reviewed and moderated to take into account further evidence. The data for Gloucester indicated some concerns in their performance on providing purposeful activity and releasing prisoners on temporary licence. For these reasons the rating of 3 was reached. Explanations for ratings will be communicated to establishments and I understand NOMS Agency is in the process of doing this.
Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many beds are available for victims of trafficking at the Poppy Project; and how many new beds have been provided in each of the last five years; 
Maria Eagle: The Government have funded the Poppy project to provide specialist, high-level support to victims of human trafficking for sexual exploitation since 2003. During the piloting of the project between 2003 and 2005, the service provided 25 supported accommodation places on a rolling basis. Funding was increased in 2006 to provide 25 acute places, 10 resettlement places and an outreach service. In 2007 and 2008 the project was provided with an additional small flexible budget to help with capacity building so victims can be temporarily accommodated in other refuges where necessary.
The Poppy project has supported 401 women since it opened in 2003; 210 received supported accommodation and 191 received outreach support. A breakdown on occupancy levels by year is not available. Data on the number of victims that have not been able to access the Poppy project due it reaching capacity in the last five years are not available.
Janet Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will instruct the Legal Services Commission to reply to the letter dated 22 October 2008 from the Rossendale Citizens' Advice Bureau; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Malik: As a result of an administrative oversight, the reply to the letter from Rossendale Citizens Advice Bureau was unfortunately delayed by the Legal Services Commission. A response to the letter will be sent out shortly.
Mr. Hanson: As of 15 December 2008, 304 prisoners who were given a mandatory, discretionary or automatic sentence of life imprisonment or a sentence to be served at Her Majesty's Pleasure on or after 1 January 1997 have been released from custody. No life sentence prisoner can be released until they have served the appropriate punitive period of imprisonment (the tariff period). The sentence planning and parole processes help ensure that such prisoners will only be released if the Parole Board is satisfied that it is safe to do so.
Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what response his Department has made to those recommendations of the Foresight report into Mental Capital and Wellbeing which relate to his Department's responsibilities; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hanson: The Ministry of Justice was consulted in the preparation of the Foresight Report, Mental Capital and Wellbeing and welcomes its publication. The Ministry has a strong interest in the report's implications for dealing with offenders with mental health problems, and will work closely with the Department of Health and other Government Departments to ensure that the report is taken into consideration in developing relevant policies and services, including early interventions.
Mr. Hanson: In the Ministry of Justice, figures are not held for former prisoners now employed by the Ministry of Justice. The policy on employment of ex-offenders recognises the important role that access to employment opportunities can have in the rehabilitation process for ex-offenders and in reducing re-offending. The Ministry will consider ex-offenders on their individual merits. Having a criminal record will not necessarily bar an individual working for the Ministry. This will depend on several considerations including:
The nature and seriousness of the offence
The relevance of the conviction i.e. the possibility of impetuosity of youth or immaturity and consideration that the individual's circumstances or character may have altered since to the extent that the conviction will not now be significant
The nature of the work and location
Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many people under 18 years have been convicted of offences related to the carrying of a knife in each year in (a) Hemel Hempstead and (b) Hertfordshire since 1997; and what range of penalties were imposed. 
Maria Eagle: Data showing the number of people under 18 years of age found guilty of Having an article with a blade or point in a public place and Having an article with a blade or point on school premises in Hertfordshire police force area, and the type of sentence given for each year since 1997 are in the following table. Information on court proceedings are centrally collected only for each police force area, therefore data for Hemel Hempstead cannot be supplied.
|Number of people under 18 years of age found guilty at all courts, with the type of sentence given, for having an article with blade or point in a public place or on school premises( 1) , in the Hertfordshire police force area, 1997 to 2007( 2, 3)|
|Found guilty||Conditional discharge||Fine||Community sentence||Immediate custody|
|(1 )Includes the following offences and statutes;|
Having an article with blade or point in public place. (Criminal Justice Act 1988 S.139 as amended by Offensive Weapons Act 1996 S.3).
Having an article with blade or point on school premises. (Criminal Justice Act 1988 S.139A (1)(5)(a) as added by Offensive Weapons Act 1996 S.4(1)).
(2 )The statistics relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences the principal offence is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe.
(3 )Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.
Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many people (a) were sentenced following conviction for the offence of possession of a knife in a public place in each of the last 10 years and (b) began to serve custodial sentences immediately, broken down by length of sentence. 
Data held by the Ministry of Justice show the number of offenders sentenced to an immediate custodial sentence. It is not possible to determine how many of those offenders began serving those sentences immediately as some may have been released having served their sentence on remand.
|Total number of persons sentenced( 1) and number given immediate custody for possession of a knife in a public place and length of sentences, 1997 to 2007|
|(1) These data are on the principal offence basis|
These figures have been taken from administrative IT systems, which, as with any large scale recording system are subject to possible errors with data entry and processing.
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