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Prison Service

Volume 976: debated on Tuesday 20 November 1979

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what consultations he proposes to hold on the recommendations of the May committee to improve the morale and efficiency of the prison service; and with whom;(2) when he proposes to implement measures to give effect to the May committee's concept of positive custody; and what are those measures;

(3) whether he intends to review all training facilities and programmes for prison staff in line with the recommendations of the May committee;

(4) which of the recommendations of the May committee concerning the role and training of staff, recruitment and conditions of service of prison staff, he proposes to implement immediately; and when he expects to begin consultations, and with whom, on those recommendations;

(5) which of the recommendations of the May committee concerning improvements in working conditions and facilities for staff in prisons he intends to implement; and when;

(6) whether he will return to the situation whereby matters of pay and conditions of service in the prison service are negotiated directly between his Department and the Prison Officers' Association;

(7) if he is satisfied with the present career structure for those entering the prison service;

(8) how, and in what way, he proposes to introduce more openness into the management of penal establishments as recommended by the May committee;

(9) if he will endorse the recommendations of the May committee and set up a force of independent prison inspectors reporting directly to him.

(10) what steps he proposes to take to encourage greater involvement of local volunteers and community groups within penal establishments;

(11) if he will take steps to recruit more black prison officers as recommended by the May committee.

I have nothing to add at present to the statements I made to the House on 31 October when the report was published. The committee's many findings and recommendations are being studied by the Departments concerned and the staff associations and, as I made clear, there will be appropriate consultations.