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Magistrates: Equality

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what targets are in place for the recruitment of magistrates who are (a) female and (b) from an ethnic minority; [268165]

(2) what (a) funding and (b) other incentives are provided in respect of the recruitment of magistrates who are (a) female and (b) from an ethnic minority. [268166]

Mr. Straw: There are no national targets for the recruitment of (a) female or (b) black minority ethnic (BME) magistrates. Magistrates are recruited according to local need and should reflect the diverse communities they serve. Local advisory committees, who are responsible for recruiting and selecting magistrates, are allocated funding to recruit candidates in their respective areas.

In 2008-09, advisory committees bid for and were allocated a total of £200,000 to recruit new magistrates. Recruitment funding is not apportioned specifically to recruit women or BME candidates. To achieve diversity, advisory committees are required to target their recruitment at groups under-represented on the local Bench.

My Department has also provided substantial funding to specific awareness raising initiatives such as Operation Black Vote’s Magistrates Shadowing Scheme, which was allocated £70,000 in 2008-09.

There are now more female than male magistrates (51.2 per cent.).

Of the 1,899 magistrates appointed in 2008, just over 10 per cent. were from BME backgrounds.

Overall, the proportion and magistrates from BME backgrounds was 7.3 per cent. in 2008.

National Offender Management Service: Cwymbran

Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what use is being made of the former Centrex site in Cwymbran now owned by the National Offender Management Service. [268073]

Mr. Straw: The former Centrex site in Cwmbran is not currently in use other than for occasional training exercises by Gwent police. Following the decision in February 2009 not to build a new prison on the site consideration is being given to its disposal.

Offenders: Rehabilitation

Mr. Grogan: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what plans the Government have to bring forward proposals to amend the law on the rehabilitation of offenders in line with the 2002 report, “Breaking the Circle”. [268633]

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Maria Eagle: The Government committed to reform of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 in 2003, following the recommendations set out in the report “Breaking the Circle”. We have since had to review the position in the light of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006, based on the recommendations of the Bichard report, which made significant changes to the disclosure landscape. While the Government remain committed to reform, no timescale for this has yet been set.

Parking Offences: East Sussex

Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many convictions there were for parking offences committed in (a) Eastbourne and (b) East Sussex in each of the last five years. [267266]

Maria Eagle: The number of findings of guilt for obstruction, waiting and parking offences in the Sussex police force area is given in the table from 2003 to 2007 (latest available). Centrally collected data held on the Ministry of Justice Court Proceedings Database do not separately identify parking offences from other offences of obstruction and waiting.

Court proceedings data are available at police force area level; information is not available for Eastbourne and East Sussex.

Data for 2008 will be available in autumn 2009.

Findings of guilt for obstruction, waiting and parking offences in the Sussex police force area, 2003 to 2007( 1)












(1) It is known that for some police force areas the reporting of court proceedings, in particular those relating to summary motoring offences, may be less than complete. (2) This is not the figure originally published within the Home Office Statistical Bulletin “Motoring Offences and Breath Test Statistics, England & Wales 2004”, which was released on 30 March 2006. The figure originally released in the above named publication was incorrect, due to a processing error. Note: 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. Source: Office for Criminal Justice Reform—Evidence and Analysis Unit.

Prisoner Escapes: Research

Mr. Garnier: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the Answer of 10 March 2009, Official Report, column 243W, on prisoner escapes, if he will publish the results of the research referred to. [268109]

Mr. Hanson: A copy of the report entitled “An Analysis of Absconders in 2002 and 2003” will be placed in the House of Commons Library.

This report is now dated. The success in reducing absconds and escapes from prisons has meant that
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further research work in this area has not been a priority. The number of absconds has reduced from 1,115 in 1996-97 to 513 in 2007-08.

Prisons: Crimes of Violence

Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many (a) prison officers, (b) prison governors and (c) non-officer members of staff working in prisons were assaulted in the course of their work in each of the last five years. [268147]

Mr. Straw: The information is set out in the following table. Assault data are not recorded in the form requested but is recorded at establishment level in four categories: prisoner on prisoner, prisoner on officer, prisoner on other and other (which may include non-prisoner perpetrators). The recorded incidents of assaults on prison officers are not completely exclusive to officers; establishment recording sometimes includes assaults on other prison staff in this category and may include managers and non-officer staff such as health care professionals and teachers, etc. The category prisoner on other contains few entries but these may include prison staff as well as visitors, legal visitors, etc. The category other will contain some assaults on prison staff by non-prisoners, for example, by visitors.

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The numbers supplied refer to the number of individual assault incidents; they include all incidents recorded as assaults and may also include threatening behaviour, projection of bodily fluids and other non-contact events and allegations.

The information set out as follows is subject to important qualifications. The NOMS incident reporting system processes high volumes of data which are constantly being updated. The numbers provide a good indication of overall numbers but should not be interpreted as absolute. Assault data is complex and the numbers need to be interpreted with caution. 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. Additionally, in a proportion of incidents, only the victim is known.

Reducing violence in prisons is a priority for Ministers, NOMS and the Prison Officers Association and they are collectively committed to working towards a zero tolerance approach to prison violence. Since 2004, a national strategy has directed every public sector prison to have in place a local violence reduction strategy and since mid-2007, this has been applied to the public and contracted-out estate. A whole prison approach is encouraged, engaging all staff, all disciplines and prisoners in challenging unacceptable behaviour, problem-solving and personal safety.

Assaults on prison staff
Classification 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008

Prisoner On Officer






Prisoner On Other












NOMS Incident Reporting System.

Sean Hodgson

Mr. Mullin: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what assistance his Department and its agencies have offered to Mr. Sean Hodgson since his release from prison; and if he will make a statement. [267911]

Maria Eagle: The Ministry of Justice through the National Offender Management Service funds the royal courts of justice advice bureau to run the miscarriages of justice support service (MJS). MJS provides advice on legal, housing, benefits and compensation issues. In its press release of 11 March 2009, the Criminal Cases Review Commission stated that it had brought Mr. Hodgson’s case to the attention of the MJS and arrangements were being made to provide Mr. Hodgson with appropriate support and advice.

Supreme Court: Expenditure

Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how much had been spent on the project to site the Supreme Court in the Middlesex Guildhall building on the latest date for which figures are available. [264118]

Mr. Straw: As announced on 14 June 2007, the estimated set-up costs for the UK Supreme Court are £36.7 million for capital construction, which will be met over a 30-year period through rental payments of £2.1 million per annum, increasing at a rate of 2.5 per cent. per annum, plus £20.2 million of other set-up costs (including provision of library, visitor facilities etc.). The only change to this estimate is an additional £2 million for repair work (as announced on 3 July 2008) and new security measures (where we will update the House with costs once we have the final figure).

As at February 2009 the Supreme Court Implementation Programme has spent £14.3 million.

Youth Justice: Voluntary Work

Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many volunteer members of youth offending panels there are; [268076]

(2) how many volunteers served as members of youth offending panels in each month since July 2007. [268077]

Mr. Straw: The Youth Justice Board does not currently collect data on the number of youth offender panel members, who are employed by youth offending teams.

However work carried out last year by the Youth Justice Board on a separate issue relating to youth offender panel member, estimates that there are over 5,000 panel members currently serving across the 157 youth offending teams.

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Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will place in the Library a copy of each document in his Department’s file FPS 15/27 Unborn Children (Protection) Bill: Mr Ken Hargreaves; and if he will make a statement. [266968]

Dawn Primarolo: A copy of the file has been placed in the Library.

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many late abortions were performed in pregnancies of 24 weeks or more in the latest year for which figures are available; how many and what percentage of those abortions were performed on each of the relevant legal grounds; and how many and what percentage of those abortions were performed by each of the six doctors who performed the largest number of such abortions. [266984]

Dawn Primarolo: There were 135 abortions performed at gestations of 24 weeks and over in 2007. The majority were performed under Section l(l)(d)(1) of the Abortion Act 1967. For confidentiality reasons, and in line with the Office for National Statistics guidance on the disclosure of abortion statistics, the total performed under Sections l(l)(b)(2), l(l)(c)(3) and 1(4)(4) cannot be released but there were less than 10 (between zero and nine). For the same reasons, the information requested by each of the six doctors who performed the largest number of abortions at 24 weeks and over, cannot be released.

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many officials in his Department have responsibility for the (a) formulation and (b) implementation of policy on abortion, broken down by pay band; what relevant specialist qualifications each holds; what other posts each has held to date; and if he will make a statement. [266986]

Dawn Primarolo: There are seven officials in the Department who, as part of their duties, have direct responsibility for the formulation and implementation of policy on abortion.

Official Number

Senior Executive Officer


Grade 7


Grade 6


Senior Civil Service 1


Senior Civil Service 2


Senior Civil Service 3


Permanent Secretary (Chief Medical Officer)


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Each of these officials have been appointed to these posts following agreed procedures and taking into account relevant experience from previous posts held both in the Department and other organisations. Each meets the core competencies appropriate to their grade.


Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what percentage of deliveries resulted in (a) a baby with low birthweight and (b) stillbirth in each lower layer super output area in the most recent period for which figures are available. [267699]

Kevin Brennan: I have been asked to reply.

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated March 2009:

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