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Prisoners

Volume 890: debated on Monday 21 April 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of prisoners serving sentences over four years is at present qualifying for the pre-release employment scheme.

Of all prisoners sentenced to more than four years' imprisonment who were released in 1974, 34 per cent. were selected.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what percentage of prisoners serving over four years is at present taking courses leading to educational qualifications.

I regret that the information is not readily available. Information recorded centrally about education courses does not distinguish between people serving sentences of over four years and other prisoners. More detailed information could be obtained only by a large number of individual inquiries, the cost of which would not be justified.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he has any plans to allow conjugal visits for long-term prisoners.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of prisoners, who take construction industry training courses while in prison, is able to obtain employment in this industry after completing their sentence.

Information about the employment record of prisoners after their release is not available. But the construction industry training scheme operating in prison service establishments has been recognised by the National Joint Council for the Building Industry since 1973, and over 1,400 prisoners have so far secured trade union membership with trainee status before their release. The Prison Department has received a number of offers of employment for men trained under the scheme.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects the results of the research into the pre-release employment scheme, which is currently being undertaken by the Home Office Research Unit, to be made public.

We are currently reviewing the operation of the scheme and hope to announce the results in the course of the year, when reference will be made to the research data collected.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will reduce the threshold of the prerelease employment scheme from four years to two.

Possible alterations in the qualifications prisoners must satisfy will be considered as part of the current review of the operation of the scheme.