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Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will undertake an impact assessment in respect of the implementation of proposals to conduct the counting of all votes in the general election on the day after polling. 
Mr. Wills: The decision as to the timing of the count at an election is for the relevant returning officer. Under section 5 of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, the Electoral Commission is required to produce a report on the administration of each general election in the UK. The Government will study the commission's report carefully and respond to any issues that emerge. The Government have no plans to undertake any separate assessment in respect of the conduct of counts at the next UK parliamentary general election.
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer of 8 December 2009, Official Report, columns 283-4W, on gender identity disorder: prisoners, if he will review the non-health aspects of the draft Prison Service Order on gender dysphoria; and what guidance is available to prisons and to prisoners on the treatment of prisoners with gender dysphoria. 
Maria Eagle: As indicated in my hon. Friend, the Minister of State for Health's (Phil Hope) answer on 8 December 2009, Official Report, columns 283-84W, on receipt of further advice from colleagues in Offender Health, Ministry of Justice officials will be able to finalise the guidance on the non-health issues within the draft Prison Service Order (PSO) which impacts on the operational aspects of the PSO. While there is currently no formal guidance document available to prisons or to prisoners on the treatment of prisoners with gender dysphoria, the draft guidance is available and policy leads within the Ministry of Justice are in a position to give advice and support when necessary.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many properties in England had a capital value of over £2 million according to records held by the Land Registry on the latest date for which information is available. 
However, Land Registry holds price paid data for the total number of registered residential properties which have been sold at full value during defined periods. This question has been answered using the data available, providing details of the total number of registered residential properties sold at full value of over £2 million for the latest available quarter and the total for the year 2009.
Full value reflects registered residential property transactions where the full price has been paid. The figures exclude a number of transactions including Right to Buy sales at a discount, properties sold by way of a gift and properties sold under a Compulsory Purchase or Court Order. Not all property in England is registered.
Mr. Wills: The Ministry of Justice has no such plans, since reciprocal health agreements are the responsibility of the Department of Health, not the Ministry of Justice. I understand however that Department of Health Ministers have given notice of their intention to terminate the agreement with the Isle of Man with effect from 1 April 2010.
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice with reference to the answer of 21 July 2009, Official Report, column 1388W, on the Political Parties and
Elections Bill, what his plans are for the timetable for the commencement of each provision of the Political Parties and Elections Act 2009 to be commenced by order. 
Alan Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Harborough of 11 November 2009, Official Report, columns 487-88W, on prisoners' release, how many of the 192 prisoners released in error since 2005 remain at large; for how long they have been at large; what estimate he has made of the number of reoffences they have committed after release; and of what nature. 
Maria Eagle: Prison establishments are required to report known releases in error to the intelligence and operations unit in National Offender Management Service headquarters. However, the incident reporting system does not hold records of these events in a format which can be interrogated electronically to obtain the specific information requested.
Since my reply to the hon. and learned Member for Harborough (Mr. Garnier) on 11 November was compiled, some additional cases have been identified and the total number of releases in error now reported, and the outcomes, is as follows:
|Total releases in error reported to the incident reporting system||Number of these who have subsequently been back in custody||Number of these who have since appeared in court||Number for whom there is no record of subsequent contact with the criminal justice system|
|(1) Includes one former prisoner known to be deceased.|
Not all prisoners released in error will be unlawfully at large. For example, they may be released on a valid licence or have been unconvicted prisoners whose cases have now been concluded without a custodial sentence. As the table shows, there are only 12 surviving ex-prisoners who have not been back into the criminal justice system since their release in error. Further inquiries are being made to ensure all appropriate action is being taken to locate them.
Most prisoners released in error are returned to custody quickly. While we are aware of one case in which a prisoner released in error committed a serious offence in 2005, there is otherwise no indication from the available information of any significant level of offending by prisoners who should have been in custody at the time.
Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many armed forces veterans are (a) serving a custodial sentence in a prison in England and Wales and (b) the subject of (i) a court order and (ii) a parole licence. 
Maria Eagle: The Ministry of Defence's Defence Analytical Services and Advice has undertaken an exercise to match Ministry of Justice data on prisoners in England and Wales with the MOD database of service leavers to establish the number of armed forces veterans in custody. The analysis indicates that almost 3 per cent. of the prison population in England and Wales were former armed forces personnel.
Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether he plans to identify armed forces veterans who are the subject of (a) a court report or (b) admission to custody; and whether he plans advice and support packages for such veterans. 
Maria Eagle: Offenders who are the subject of a pre-sentence report and prisoners being inducted into custody are routinely asked for details of their employment history. Prison assessment procedures are being revised to include more specific questions to identify offenders who have served in the armed forces.
A guide for prison officers working with veterans has been developed. This will allow them to provide advice and support as part of their existing offender management work. This material has been informed by some of the existing good practice that has already been developed in a number of prisons where officers are assuming the role of Veterans in Custody Support Officer, to assist veterans with gaining access to the support and specialist help they need. The pack will be distributed to prisons between January and March 2010, accompanied by training for staff and ongoing support for them in its implementation.
Work is in progress to prepare instructions and guidance for probation staff supervising ex-service personnel in the community. Probation staff will be invited to attend the training and networking events that are scheduled for prison staff between January and March 2010.
The Ministry of Defence's Defence Analytical Services and Advice has undertaken an exercise to match Ministry of Justice data on prisoners in England and Wales with the MOD database of service leavers to establish the numbers of armed forces veterans in custody. The analysis indicates that almost 3 per cent. of the prison population in England and Wales were former armed forces personnel.
Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what studies his Department has conducted since 2000 into the number of armed forces veterans serving a custodial sentence; and what the outcome of each such study was. 
Maria Eagle: Three nationally representative surveys of 2,000 sentenced prisoners near release were conducted by the Home Office in 2001, 2003 and 2004. They were asked about their previous employment in the armed forces. The results showed the proportion of prisoners who had previously served in the armed forces in those years were 6 per cent., 4 per cent. and 5 per cent. respectively.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what procedures the Prison Service has in place to enable foreign nationals in UK prisons to vote by post in overseas elections where they have such a right. 
Foreign nationals, including EU citizens, who are eligible to vote in their home state according to that country's domestic law, will be given such reasonable assistance by the National Offender Management Service as is practicable to enable them to exercise their right to vote while in prison, which would principally concern the appropriate handling of postal votes. Currently, any such assistance would be handled at local level and, therefore, figures for the number of foreign national prisoners requesting assistance is not held centrally. However, NOMS are not aware of significant numbers of individuals requesting assistance and it is not anticipated
that this assistance would require significant funding. The responsibility remains with the individual both to register to vote, and to vote.
Criminal Justice Integrated Teams (CJITs), which implement DP in the community, manage offenders who misuse specified class A drugs (ie heroin or crack cocaine) either pre-sentence or after they are released from prison without statutory supervision.
Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many staff are employed as part of the Interventions and Substance Misuse Group within the National Offender Management System; and how many were so employed in June 2008. 
|Interventions and Substance Misuse Group staffing|
|June 2008||December 2009|
Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what (a) assessment has been made of the merits and (b) estimate has been made of the costs per prisoner of places in dedicated drug treatment prisons. 
Maria Eagle: The National Offender Management Service has a comprehensive drug treatment framework, based on the National Treatment Agency's revised models of care, to address the different needs of drug-misusers in prison. The interventions available are designed to meet the needs of low, moderate and severe drug misusers, irrespective of age, gender or ethnicity. Core elements of the framework are available in all adult prisons across England and Wales. Higher intensity services are available in selected sites according to the drug treatment needs of offenders.
Given the large numbers entering prisons with a history of drug misuse and the range of problems that they face, we have not considered it appropriate formally to assess the merits of dedicated drug treatment prisons. However, where prisoners are assessed as suitable for high intensity drug interventions such as therapeutic
communities or the 12-step programme every effort is made to move them to an establishment offering that programme.
As no formal assessment has taken place, we have not estimated the cost of places in dedicated drug treatment prisons. However, average costs in 2008-09 indicate that the additional cost of places on prison-based accredited drug treatment programmes (eg 12-step, Therapeutic Communities) can range from £1,200 to £7,200. Variations in cost are dependent upon the mix of staff delivering the programme and its length/intensity.
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