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Mr. David Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) by what proportion HM Courts Service plans to reduce its numbers of front-line staff in 2010; and if he will make a statement; 
Detailed business and operational planning for 2010-11 is currently under way but specific workforce plans are not yet available. Therefore it is not possible to state what change in staff numbers if any may be necessary.
Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many (a) prosecutions and (b) convictions there have been for offences under the Hunting Act 2004 at courts in Yorkshire in each year since the Act entered into force. 
Claire Ward: There have been no prosecutions or convictions reported to the Ministry of Justice in the North Yorkshire, South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire police force areas for offences under the 2004 Hunting Act from 2005 (the Act came into force on 18 February 2005) to 2007 (latest available).
Bridget Prentice: There is not a separate budget for legal aid in respect of asylum matters. Asylum cases are funded from the overall legal aid budget, which forms part of the overall Ministry of Justice departmental expenditure limit.
The latest forecast indicates that the cost of asylum matters in 2009-10 will be about £54 million. The figures above do not include judicial reviews concerning asylum as these cannot be disaggregated from the overall immigration and asylum category.
David Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) whether officials employed by or seconded to the head office of the National Offender Management Service have authority to advise or instruct probation staff to alter supervision plans in individual cases; 
(2) in what circumstances staff employed by or seconded to the head office of the National Offender Management Service contact probation staff in relation to the supervision of individual cases; 
Officials in the National Offender Management Service (NOMS), including those seconded from probation areas or trusts, provide policy instructions and practice guidance to advise probation staff how to complete sentence plans. They represent the Secretary of State at Parole Board oral hearings and consider whether risk management plans for recalled offenders provide adequate safeguards in protecting the public.
They consider reports submitted by probation areas and trusts in respect of offenders recalled on post release licence and those offenders being considered for parole. They may liaise with areas/trusts about more unusual cases presenting serious risks to the public, for example a terrorist offender.
In fulfilling these roles, they do not have the authority to instruct probation staff to alter sentence plans except where a breach of rules about disclosure of information (for example about a victim) would otherwise occur. However, NOMS may offer advice in specific cases. They may also review the quality of sentence plans, and other aspects of practice, when an individual is responsible for committing a serious further offence.
It is not possible to specify all the circumstances in which staff from NOMS might contact probation staff about the supervision of individual cases. The following examples cover the main situations where such contact might occur:
when an offender is considered to present a particularly serious risk to the community, for example a terrorist offender or one registered as a critical public protection case;
when a practitioner seeks advice from an official at the Ministry of Justice about the management of an offender; or
when an offender makes a complaint to the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman, their Member of Parliament or NOMS about an aspect of the service he or she has received.
The following examples cover situations where routine reports are prepared by probation staff and considered by staff in NOMS. On some occasions they might result in discussion between the two about the supervision of a case:
when a probation area is seeking the recall to custody of an offender released on licence;
when the Parole Board is considering a prisoner's re-release following recall; or
when a prisoner is being considered for release on parole; or
when an offender has committed a serious further offence while under supervision and the management of the case is subject to review.
Senior managers might receive intelligence about individual offenders in a number of situations. Examples of this include: multi agency public protection arrangements; multi agency arrangements for managing prolific and other priority offenders; and via the Violent and Sex Offenders Register (ViSOR) database, which is shared with the police. It would usually be good practice for any intelligence they might acquire to be passed on to the person managing the case. There are no standard procedures for monitoring this exchange of intelligence between senior managers and supervisors and therefore it is not possible to confirm the frequency of occurrence without an unreasonable amount of time to gather the information.
Alan Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 29 October 2009, Official Report, columns 26-7WS, on the Probation Service, what estimate he has made of the number of trainee probation officers who are expected to graduate in (a) 2009 and (b) 2010 without an offer of a full-time permanent job as a probation officer. 
Maria Eagle: Currently 285 trainee probation officers (TPOs), who graduated in October 2009, do not have a permanent probation officer contract. 126 TPOs have secured a temporary contract as a probation officer, and a further 62 are employed as probation services officers (34 in permanent roles and 28 employed temporarily). 305 TPOs are expected to graduate in 2010, but it is too early to predict how many will be offered permanent probation officer contracts.
The additional £26 million funding announced for Probation Board/Trust budgets in 2010-11 is specifically targeted on front line delivery. It will enable probation employers to revisit their workforce planning assumptions and potentially offer permanent probation officer contracts to TPO graduates from both 2009 and 2010.
Directors of offender management will negotiate specific service level agreements/contracts with boards/trusts. At this time it is not possible to provide the exact number of probation officer jobs available as the allocation for each probation area and trust will be agreed with the relevant director of offender management by the end of December.
Mr. Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what rules and procedures apply to the consideration for parole of prisoners who have received (a) a life and (b) an indeterminate sentence; and what procedures apply in respect of each such sentence. 
Bridget Prentice: All life sentence and indeterminate sentence for public protection (IPP) prisoners are eligible to have their case for release on parole considered once they have served the minimum period as set down by the court. The process for considering both life sentence and IPP prisoners' parole applications is broadly the same. The independent Parole Board is responsible for determining whether it is safe to release a life sentence or IPP prisoner back into the community.
Under Section 32(6) of the Criminal Justice Act 1991 and Section 239(6) of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, the Secretary of State for Justice has powers to set Directions to the Parole Board to guide them in their considerations. These Directions are available from the Library of the House or at:
The rules which govern the Parole Board's procedures in life sentence and IPP cases are set out in the Parole Board Rules 2004, which were amended in 2009. These rules are available also from the Library of the House or at:
Since 1 April 2009 all indeterminate sentenced prisoners' parole cases have been carried out in accordance with the generic parole process (GPP). The GPP introduced a single timetable and process for all indeterminate sentenced prisoners. The procedures, responsibilities and timescales for this process are managed under Prison Service Order 6010. This Prison Service Order is available from the Library of the House or at:
Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many prison officers have (a) been accused of, (b) been dismissed for, (c) been charged for, (d) been convicted of and (e) commenced a custodial sentence for bringing drugs into a prison in the last three years. 
Maria Eagle: In the National Offender Management Service (NOMS), there is no formal requirement to notify headquarters whenever a member of staff is accused of misconduct. Instead, the matter would be reported at a local level. Details of the number of prison officers accused of bringing drugs into a prison in the last three years could be obtained only by consulting all prisons across England and Wales. This would incur disproportionate cost.
According to centrally held records in NOMS, three prison officers have been dismissed under the internal disciplinary procedures specifically for bringing drugs into a prison since January 2007 (two during 2007 and one during 2008).
Information about the numbers of staff charged under internal disciplinary proceedings is not held centrally, and could be provided only at disproportionate cost by consulting all prisons across England and Wales. Information about staff who have been charged by the police with smuggling drugs could only be provided at disproportionate cost by gathering information held by all England and Wales police forces.
While information is held centrally by NOMS about the numbers of staff who have been dismissed following receipt of a police caution or criminal conviction, details of the offence and the conviction are not recorded centrally in each case. To obtain this information it would be necessary to contact each prison in England and Wales.
Information on the number of staff who have been given a custodial sentence for bringing drugs into a prison in the last three years is not collated and held centrally. To obtain this information it would be necessary to contact each prison in England and Wales.
Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many foreign nationals were serving a custodial sentence at the latest date for which figures are available; and for what categories of offences such prisoners were sentenced. 
However, all staff are expected to report fit for duty at all times and staff who take prohibited drugs while at work or on duty may be subject to formal disciplinary action which may result in their dismissal from service. If there was cause to believe that a member of staff was under the influence of drugs while on duty, the matter may be referred to the police.
Maria Eagle: A prisoner who undergoes a mandatory drug test which results in a positive indication that he or she has taken a controlled drug may be charged with a disciplinary offence under the Prison or Young Offender Institution Rules. If the charge is proved the Governor (or Controller in a contracted prison) may impose any of the punishments set out in the Rules, ranging from a caution, forfeiture of privileges, stoppage of earnings, or up to 21 days cellular confinement.
In more serious cases, such as those involving Class A drugs, Governors can refer the charge to an independent adjudicator (District Judge), who may impose any of the punishments available to the Governor, and, in the case of a determinate sentence prisoner, up to 42 additional days to be served in custody. The guidelines for independent adjudicators, issued by the Senior District Judge, suggest 32 added days as a starting point for Class A drugs, or 12 added days for other drugs.
Whether a charge is referred to the independent adjudicator, and the actual punishment imposed, will depend on the individual circumstances of the case, and the local punishment guidelines set by the Governor in each prison. These punishments are equally applicable to prisoners who refuse to undergo a mandatory drug test.
Around 160 nationalities are represented in the prison population. For ease of reference, the top 10 nationalities (accounting for 49 per cent. of the sentenced population) are shown with the remaining 51 per cent. grouped together.
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