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Mr. Wills: The acting returning officer for Poole has provided the Ministry of Justice with helpful information on the practical issues surrounding the timing of the count at the next UK parliamentary general election.
This information along with the views received from other key stakeholders, including the Electoral Commission, Association of Electoral Administrators and SOLACE helped to inform the clause that was inserted into the Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill ('CRaG Bill'), at Commons Report stage on 2 March which amends schedule 1 to the Representation of the People Act 1983 (the Parliamentary Elections Rules) to provide that a returning officer must take reasonable steps to begin counting the votes given on the ballot papers as soon as practicable within four hours of the close of poll. The clause also requires that:
(i) the Electoral Commission must produce guidance on this duty;
(ii) in instances where the count does not begin by 2 am, returning officers to publish and send to the Electoral Commission a statement within 30 days of the poll giving the time that the count began, explaining, why it did not begin before 2 am, and setting out the steps taken to begin the count by 2 am.
(iii) the Electoral Commission to list those constituencies that did not start the count before 2 am in its statutory report on the conduct of the election.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will set out, with statistical information related as directly as possible to Great Grimsby constituency, the effects of his Department's policies on that constituency since 1997. 
Mr. Wills: The Ministry of Justice's work spans criminal, civil and family justice, democracy, rights and the constitution. Every year around 9 million people use our services in 900 locations across the United Kingdom, including 650 courts and tribunals and 139 prisons in England and Wales.
The range of the Department's policies and actions is wide and the statistical information relating to it is not
normally collected on a constituency basis. Consequently, some of the information requested in the question cannot be provided in the form requested except at a disproportionate cost.
Although data on sentencing for the period is not available for the constituency of Great Grimsby, it is available for Humberside. This shows the total number of offenders sentenced annually was 20,950 in 1997 and 14,569 in 2008, the latest period for which such information is available.
The number of offences brought to justice for the Humberside area increased from 18,497 for the 12 months ending 31 March 2001 (the earliest period since which such data has been compiled) to 26,584 (provisional figures) for the 12 months ending 31 March 2009.
With regard to prosecutions, data is not available for the constituency of Great Grimsby. However, the total number of defendants proceeded against at magistrates' courts in Humberside was 26,798 in 1997 compared to 19,101 in 2008.
The latest data, which covers reoffending in the period 1 October 2008 to 30 September 2009, showed that the three month reoffending rate for offenders on the probation caseload in North East Lincolnshire was 12.53 per cent. After controlling for changes in the characteristics of offenders on the probation caseload, there was an increase in reoffending of 1.26 per cent. compared to the 2007-08 baseline. Data is not available prior to 2007 on this basis.
The number of persons commencing court order supervision by the Probation Service in Humberside was 2,139 in 1997 and 3,450 in 2008.
56,172 civil non-family proceedings were started in the county courts of Humber and South Yorkshire HM Courts Service (HMCS) area in 2008, compared to 61,944 in 1998, the first year for which these figures are available. In respect of family law, there were also 4,803 private law applications and 303 public law applications made in the county or High Courts of this HMCS area in 2008-09, compared to 4,530 and 385 respectively in 2003-04, the first annual period for which these figures are available.
Local communities are being better engaged in criminal justice - by giving them a say in the types of community payback projects offenders carry out and allowing them to see justice being done, for example through the use of high visibility jackets. Offenders have now worked more than fourteen million hours, with an estimated value to the taxpayer of over £80 million.
Major constitutional reforms have been delivered, including devolution, the Human Rights Act, Freedom of Information, Lords Reform, and a new Supreme Court for the UK.
Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what contact the Prison Service has had with the National Bullying Helpline since 2004; and whether the Prison Service has made any payments to (a) the National Bullying Helpline and (b) HR and Diversity Management Limited in that period. 
Maria Eagle: The Prison Service has national policies designed to keep prisoners, staff and visitors safe from bullying. These policies do not promote the National Bullying Helpline. Whether prisons locally or offices have ever had any contact with the National Bullying Helpline since 2004 could be known only by contacting each prison and office and asking them to check available information. This would incur disproportionate cost. According to information held centrally, no payments have been made to either the National Bullying Helpline or to HR and Diversity Management Limited.
LIDS is being replaced by a new case management system, called Prison-NOMIS (Prison-National Offender Management Information System). Prison-NOMIS is a national system with a centralised database. It is on schedule to be deployed to public prisons by summer 2010.
Prisons have a well established security information reporting framework. Where concerns are identified about a prisoner's potential criminal activity, prisons can draw on a range of measures to identify and disrupt that activity.
NOMS is also fully engaged in action to address serious and organised crime strategically, including the work identified in the Government report "Extending Our Reach: A Comprehensive Approach to Tackling Serious Organised Crime" to develop a strategy to manage serious organised criminals while in prison.
Mike Wood: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what arrangements have been made to re-categorise (a) HMP Morton Hall and (b) HMP Foston Hall from semi-open to closed prisons; and if he will make a statement; 
Maria Eagle: On 11 February 2009 the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) announced the re-designation of both HMP Morton Hall and HMP/YOI Drake Hall from semi-open to closed prisons. There are no plans to change this decision.
The re-designation, which took effect on 2 March 2009, allowed NOMS to more effectively provide for the needs of all women prisoners through greater flexibility in the use of the estate. It has also improved closeness to home for some women, supported the placement of indeterminate sentenced women in accordance with their needs, and in general enabled more women to
access the resettlement regimes available at these two prisons. There was no requirement to move any of the women out of either prison as a result of the change. Both establishments retained their levels of internal and perimeter security and their resettlement regimes, including their roles as specialist foreign national centres. Women suitable for open conditions are able to go these prisons if such a move meets their resettlement needs.
John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many illicit mobile phones were found in each prison in England and Wales in each of the last 12 months; and how many of those phones were found (a) on staff, (b) on prisoners and (c) in communal areas. 
Maria Eagle: The Government are committed to reducing the number of mobile phones in prisons. We have already strengthened the law through the Offender Management Act 2007, which made it an offence with a penalty of up to two years' imprisonment to bring a mobile phone or component into a prison. We are also taking forward legislation through the Crime and Security Bill to criminalise the possession of devices, including mobile telephones within a prison without authorisation.
The National Offender Management Service (NOMS) does not hold centrally disaggregated information on
the location or ownership of phones seized. Many phones and component parts are not attributable to individuals. Prisons in England and Wales are instructed to send mobile phones and SIM cards found to a central unit for analysis, it is from this unit's records that this answer is based. The figures contained in the tables have been drawn from administrative data systems. Although care is taken when processing data, the detail collected is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large scale recording system. These data are not subject to audit.
The figures understate the actual number of finds, because they do not include items retained by the police for evidential purposes and phones not submitted for other reasons. It is not always appropriate to send phones to the central unit and some phones sent are not interrogated. These have not been included in these figures. NOMS is putting in place new procedures to improve the accuracy of these statistics.
Tackling mobile phones in prison presents substantial and increasing technological challenges, and while the numbers of phones found clearly indicates the scale of the challenge, it is also a reflection of prisons' increasing success in finding them and better reporting. The following tables show the number of mobile phones and SIM cards that have been received from each of the prisons over the last 12 months.
|Mobile phone and sim cards submitted to central unit (February 2009 to January 2010)|
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