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Prisons

Volume 79: debated on Friday 24 May 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what formal consultation process there is to ensure that the requirements of prison staff and inmates are fully taken into account in the design of new prison facilities.

Design solutions for new prisons are developed on the basis of full consultation with the various specialist and operational interests concerned, and take account of the range of current thinking on prison de sign generally. The trade unions representing governors, prison officers and other prison staff are formally consulted on new prison projects at the preliminary design stage, and thereafter as necessary.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is satisfied that the design of the redeveloped Holloway prison adequately meets the requirements of staff and inmates.

The design was developed in the late 1960s on the basis of medically orientated treatment concepts which are not now regarded as wholly appropriate. There are also a number of acknowledged design weaknesses. Facilities for staff and inmates are however greatly superior to those provided before the redevelopment began, and will be further improved when the project is finally completed towards the end of this year.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if the terms of reference of the committee of inquiry into conditions at Holloway prison include consideration of and making recommendations regarding the physical design of the prison.

The terms of reference of the project committee do not specifically refer to the physical design of the prison, but the committee is inevitably taking it into account.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will give the original estimates of the capital and annual running costs for the redeveloped Holloway prison; and if he will give details of the latest estimates of these costs together with an explanation of any differences.

As the redevelopment programme was carried out in six main phases under different contracts covering a total period of 14 years, the full information requested could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. The information readily available is as follows:Phase 1 — Commenced August 1971. Cost £1·1 million. Completed November 1985.Phases 2 and 3 — Commenced April 1973. Cost £2·6 million. Completed May 1976.Phases 4 and 5 — commenced October 1977. Cost £7·7 million. Completed June 1984.Phase 6 — Commenced November 1984. Estimated Cost £239,000. Due for completion—November 1985.Information about annual running costs is contained in the Prison Departmental Financial Report 1983–84, a copy of which is in the Library.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what mechanism is in place to ensure that new prison building programmes meet planned capital and operating cost targets.

Capital cost targets for new prison projects are based on standard briefing guides for the particular category of establishment and are examined and re-assessed at specific stages of design and construction. The manpower implications of the design are similarly kept under regular review. Attention is also given, in both design and the selection of materials, to the cost of maintenance and the need to conserve energy.