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|Total probation staff( 1,2,3)||Year on year growth (percentage)||Cumulative growth (percentage)|
|(1) Figures for 1993-2007 are as at 31 December and are taken from the Home Office RDS Probation Statistics [1993-2003) and the Quarterly Workforce Information Reports produced by NOMS (2003-07).|
(2) Figures for 2008 are as at 30 September.
(3) Figures for 2008 have been collected from Probation Areas/Trust via the HR Data Warehouse and are correct at publication. Areas/trusts have the ability to resubmit historical data which may result in occasional variation in subsequent reports.
1. Total probation staff figures shown as full time equivalents.
2. Staff in post figures for 2009 are currently unavailable.
Probation has received significant increases in resources since this Government came to power in 1997. Our record shows that we take the probation service and its place in the Criminal Justice System very seriously. Total probation staffing (expressed as full time equivalents) was up from 13,968 in 1997 to 20,859 by September 2008 a 49.3 per cent. increase over the period.
Maria Eagle: I regularly meet officials from both NAPO and Unison and discuss a variety of issues of mutual concern and interest including staffing levels. I have also met with UNITE. Most recently on 29 October 2009, I met the NAPO chair and a delegation of trainee probation officers specifically to discuss staffing levels.
Since 12 February 2007 the maximum custodial sentence for knife or offensive weapon possession offences has been four years. Therefore the answer gives data from March 2007 to June 2009 (the most recent
published data from the Knife Crime Sentencing Quarterly brief). Further information is available at:
According to data recorded by the police on the Police National Computer, during the period March 2007 to June 2009, six offences (committed by six offenders) of possession of a knife or offensive weapon received a four year custodial sentence in England and Wales.
More custodial sentences are being given for knife and offensive weapon possession and those that are sent to jail are serving longer sentences. The proportion of immediate custodial sentences given for possessing a knife or offensive weapon increased from 17 per cent. to 19 per cent. of all sentences between the second quarter of 2008 compared with the same period in 2009. The average sentence length in the second quarter 2009 was 194 days which is a 42 per cent. increase from the same quarter in 2008.
These figures have been drawn from the police's administrative IT system which, as with any large scale recording system, is subject to possible errors with data entry and processing. The figures are provisional and subject to change as more information is recorded by the police.
We plan to increase the capacity of the prison estate to 96,000 places by 2014 through an extensive capacity programme. Since April 2007, 5,370 places have been delivered under the core capacity programme. The new buildings produced by the capacity programme are providing modern, fit for purpose, accommodation.
On 27 April 2009, Official R eport, column 569, my right hon. friend, the Justice Secretary (Jack Straw) announced that, instead of building three 2,500 place prisons, we plan to build five 1,500 place prisons. The 7,500 places provided by these new prisons will allow for the closure of up to 5,000 of the most worn out, inefficient places. Initially we will build two new 1,500 place prisons and close 500 places. These measures support our aim, not only to provide additional capacity, but to modernise the estate and improve the quality of accommodation and other facilities.
For existing accommodation, we have a rolling programme of refurbishment and a reprioritised maintenance programme that allows the critical maintenance of the estate to be undertaken and general improvement to buildings and conditions, as funding permits. We take into consideration the recommendations made in Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons,
Independent Monitoring Board, Measuring the Quality of Prison Life and Audit reports and take action where appropriate.
Alun Michael: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice at which prisons there has been (a) a change of governor and (b) the introduction of an acting governor for one month or more in each of the last five years; when each such change occurred; and what the names were of the governors involved in each change. 
Maria Eagle: During the past five years all public sector prisons have had at least one change of governor in charge. It is the policy of the National Offender Management Service to move governors to different types of establishment to enhance their experience and for reasons of self development. When governing governors transfer, the gap between permanent postings will be kept to a minimum but given the significance of the role, an interim governor will always be appointed to cover such a gap.
While NOMS holds information on the length of tenure of current in charge governors, it does not hold information on any interim arrangements centrally and could obtain this only at a disproportionate cost.
Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many prison staff have been suspended following allegations of the possession of (a) illegal drugs and (b) illicit mobile telephones or SIM cards in the last three years. 
Public sector Prison Service establishments have only been required to notify headquarters of their intention to suspend a member of staff from duty since October 2007. According to the records held centrally, on 28 October 2009 a total of 48 members of staff were suspended from duty while some aspect of their conduct was under investigation. While the reasons for suspension are recorded centrally, this would be under a broad heading and not to the level of detail required to answer your specific question.
In order to provide a detailed response to the hon. and learned Member's question, NOMS would need to contact all public sector Prison Service establishments, ask them to provide details of all staff suspensions for the last three years and update the central records accordingly. To retrieve these data would incur disproportionate cost.
Escapes have been falling for over a decade with the current low levels having been sustained for some years now. This is despite considerable increases in population over the same period. Rigorous investigations following any escape are designed to highlight any failings and ensure they are not repeated.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many prisoners have (a) escaped from custody and (b) been returned to custody having escaped in the each month of the last five years. 
Maria Eagle: Escapes from prison have been falling for over a decade and last year saw the lowest level of prison escapes since centralised recording of these incidents began. The data in the following table show the number of prisoners who have escaped from prisons in England and Wales between 1 April 2004 and 5 November 2009 and those who have been returned to custody. There have been 24 escapes in this period and 22 of these prisoners have been returned to custody.
|Prisoners escaping from prison establishments between 1 April 2004 to 5 November 2009 by month of escape and showing numbe rs returned to custody|
|Escapes from custody||Returned to custody|
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