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Prison Service

Volume 171: debated on Tuesday 1 May 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what percentage of the prison service remand sector he expects to be in the hands of the private sector by 1992;(2) how many remand prison establishments he anticipates being privatised by 1992.

We are not yet in a position to make a further announcement of decisions concerning private sector involvement in the remand system, but hope to be able to do so soon.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the percentage of black prison officers currently serving in British prisons.

Of the 32 per cent. of prison officer grades who responded to the voluntary survey of ethnic origin, 0·43 per cent. identified themselves as black. A primary objective of the current recruitment campaign for prison officers is to increase the number of new entrants from the ethnic minorities: the initial results are encouraging.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was (a) the average number of prisoners held in United Kingdom prisons during the years(i) 1974, (i) 1979, (iii) 1984 and (iv) 1989 and (b) the average number of full-time prison staff employed during this period.

The readily available information is given in the table.

Average population for prison service establishments in England and Wales and average number of staff1 in prison service employment in selected years.
Number of persons
1974197919841989
Average population36,86742,220243349248610
Average number of staff319,22522,41426,73931,863
1 Comprising outstation and headquarters staff.
2 Including police cells.
3 Including part-time staff each of whom is counted as a half: disaggregation would involve disproportionate cost.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the number of prisoners (a) serving sentences in United Kingdom prisons during the last five years for which figures are available and (b) held on remand pending trial or pending sentence.

Information for England and Wales was published in tables 3 and 4 of Home Office statistical bulletin "The Prison Population in 1989" (issue 12/90), a copy of which is in the Library.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the average number of monthly overtime hours worked by prison staff during the last five years for which figures are available.

"Fresh start" ended overtime working for prison officers; in 1986–87, the last full year they worked overtime, the average number of monthly overtime hours worked was 69. Figures are not held centrally for previous years. There are no central records of overtime for prison staff in other grades.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on his programme to (a) refurbish existing prisons and (b) build new prisons.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for Dorset, South (Mr. Bruce) on 30 April 1990 at column 395.