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Female Prisoners: New Accommodation

Baroness Hilton of Eggardon asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The information requested is given in the tables.

Accommodation for Female Prisoners Opened since 1974

WinchesterFemale training wing providing 66 places, replacing the male training wing which was closed in December 1994.March 1995
Brockhill1. A wing outside the main prison perimeter (42 places) was re-roled for female use.1. October 1995
2. The remainder of Brockhill was re-roled to female use providing an additional 117 places.2. September 1996
Eastwood ParkFemale prison providing 135 places to replace development at Pucklechurch.March 1996
HighpointHighpoint North re-roled for female use, providing 207 places.November 1996
Foston HallRe-roled to females providing 134 places.August 1997
SendRe-roled to female providing 80 places. More places will be provided over time.June 1998
DurhamH Wing will re-role to female providing an additional 80 places.Before end of 1998
Low NewtonThe work required to re-role Low Newton is currently being assessed.End of the financial year 1998-99

Accommodation for Female Prisoners closed since 1974


PucklechurchThis establishment was closed and replaced with accommodation at Eastwood Park.February 1996

RisleyThe female accommodation at Risley will close and the new houseblock at Styal will provide accommodation for female prisoners currently held at Risley.August 1998

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Prisons Opened/Reopened Since 1995

Baroness David asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Which new prisons have been opened or reopened since 1995; how many places there are in each; and what are the capital and running costs of each.[HL3063]

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Lord Williams of Mostyn: The table lists those prisons which have opened or reopened since 1995. In each case, the prison's opening date, current number of places, capital costs and net operating costs in 1997-98 have also been shown.

Prisons Opened or Reopened since 1995

Prison(12)Date openedCurrent number of placesCapital costs (£m)Net operating costs 1997-98 (£000)
AltcourseDecember 199760088--
Colchester(13)February 199732nil913
Eastwood ParkMarch 1996255144,454
Foston HallAugust 199715042,999
Lowdham GrangeFebruary 199850032--
ParcNovember 199780075--
WeareJune 1997400135,822

(12) These prisons were newly opened, with the exception of Eastwood Park, which was closed as a male establishment and then reopened to house females in March 1996; and Foston Hall, which was formerly part of Sudbury male prison and has now been reopened as a female prison.

(13) Colchester was open for a period of 14 months as a pilot scheme for young offenders. The prison closed at the end of March 1998.

(14) The capital costs given for the newly opened DCMF prisons are the project costs. These include capital expenditure before the prisons' opening and consist mainly of construction costs. Operating costs for these three establishments in 1997-98 are unavailable due to the short period during which they have been open. The cost of building and running each prison is borne by the prisons' operating company, who are repaid annually by the Prison Service over the lifetime of the contract. This annual fee is in the order of £26 million for Altcourse, £25 million for Parc and £13 million for Lowdham Grange.

New Prisons

Baroness David asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Which new prisons are currently planned; what are their planned opening dates; how many places each will provide; and what are the planned capital and running costs of each.[HL3064]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Prison Service is planning to open four new prisons at:

    the site of the former Pucklechurch prison near Bristol-a 400-place male young offender institution, to open in November 1999;

    Agecroft, near Salford--an 800-place multi-functional male prison, to open in January 2000;

    Marchington, near Stafford--an 800-place prison, including a 200-place therapeutic unit, to open in October 2000; and

    the site adjacent to Onley prison, near Rugby--a 600-place male adult training prison, to open in October 2000. These prisons will be designed, constructed, managed and financed by the private sector. The cost of building and running each new prison will be borne by the contractor, who will be paid an annual fee by the Prison

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    Service for the provision of this service over the lifetime of the contract. The projected annual fee is in the order of £17 million for Agecroft, £11 million for Pucklechurch, £23 million for Marchington and £18 million for Onley.

Additional Prison Places

Baroness David asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many additional places have been provided in existing prisons since 1995; how many such places are currently planned; and what is the cost of this provision.[HL3065]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Since January 1995, the Prison Service increased the certified normal accommodation at existing prisons by 6,300 places. Plans are in place to build a further 1,900 places at existing establishments, at a cost of £119.5 million.

Overseas Domestic Workers

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will be proposing changes to the immigration rules in respect of domestic workers coming to the United Kingdom from overseas; and the regularising of the immigration status of those who have suffered abuse or exploitation.[HL3054]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: I refer the noble Lord to the reply I gave to my noble friend Lady Lockwood on 23 July (WA 131).

CIREA: Asylum Information Exchange

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are the functions of the Centre for Information, Discussion and Exchange on Asylum (known as "CIREA") in the context of policies and practices governing asylum seekers within the European Union; and to what extent and in what manner does the Government participate in the activities of CIREA.[HL3057]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Centre for Information, Discussion and Exchange on Asylum (CIREA) was established in 1992 as an informal meeting point for the exchange, documentation and dissemination of information on matters relating to asylum in member states of the European Union. Following the Treaty on European Union in Maastricht in 1992, the CIREA mandate was legally adopted. CIREA's role is to contribute to the development of policy on asylum matters within the European Union. Member states provide information, documentation and statistics on asylum and related issues. Since June 1993, CIREA has shared information about the political, social, religious and economic situations in the countries of origin of asylum seekers.

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The United Kingdom is regularly represented at CIREA meetings at official level. Reports are made to the Justice and Home Affairs Council as necessary. During the United Kingdom Presidency, CIREA conducted detailed examinations of member states' experiences, including the prevailing country conditions of a number of countries of origin of asylum applicants and brought a number of previous studies up to date.

Under the United Kingdom Presidency, CIREA continued its work in consultation with the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in studying country conditions.

Probation Officers Seconded to Prisons

Lord Harris of Greenwich asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many probation officers were employed in Her Majesty's prisons on 30 June in the years 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997 and 1998.[HL3060]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The numbers of probation officers working in prisons on 30 June each year from 1995 (the earliest date for which half year figures are available) to 31 December 1997 (the latest date for which figures are as yet available) are as follows: Seconded probation officers working in prisons (whole-time equivalents).

30 June 1995645
30 June 1996586
30 June 1997483
31 December 1997560

My right honourable friend the Home Secretary has announced new funding of over £200 million to deliver the Government's manifesto commitment on constructive regimes. It is probable that some of that additional funding will pay for an increase in the number of seconded probation officers.

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