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Volume 958: debated on Wednesday 15 November 1978

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what change in circumstances has led him to set up an inquiry into the requirements of Her Majesty's prisons since 11th July last, when he refused the request for such an inquiry from the hon. Member for Bedford.

The hon. Member asked in July whether I had set up an inquiry concerned only with the staff requirements of those prisons which serve a number of Crown courts. I explained that I had not and that the staffing requirements of prisons were kept under constant review. The decision which I announced on 2nd November is to set up a wide-ranging inquiry into the prison system as a whole, as my statement and my answers to the questions which followed it made clear.