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Prisons

Volume 359: debated on Friday 15 December 2000

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the planned expenditure on (a) new prisons and (b) prison places in (i) the current financial year and (ii) in each of the next two years; what proportion of expenditure is required for (A) reducing overcrowding and (B) accommodating estimated increases in the prison population; and if he will make a statement. [142610]

One new prison is expected to open at Rye Hill, Rugby in January 2001. A further new prison, Dovegate in Staffordshire is scheduled to open in July 2001. These prisons are provided under the Private Finance Initiative. The costs in this current financial year are £2 million, £31 million in 2001–02 and £39 million in 2002–03.Additional funding has been provided for a programme to increase prison capacity by 2,660 places by 2003–04 to meet the projected increase in prison population. No new prisons are planned using this funding. A mix of options is being considered to provide these places including rationalising existing accommodation, building new houseblocks, erecting new ready to use units (RTUs) and extending safe overcrowding. The expenditure on the programme in this current financial year is expected to be £22 million, £125 million in 2001–02 and an estimated £97 million in 2002–03. There are no specific plans to reduce overcrowding.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress has been made (a) on implementing the proposals on modernising the management of the Prison Service in the Laming report and (b) on producing an agreed set of standards for service level agreements between the Prison Service and Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons; and if he will make a statement. [142612]

Good progress has been made. Recommendations 1–3 of Lord Laming's report relate to the management of the Prison Service. The principle of filling governor posts as quickly as possible has been fully accepted and, whenever it is possible to predict vacancies, successors will be identified at the earliest stage to avoid gaps. However it is not always possible to predict vacancies caused by unforeseen events such as resignation or ill health. A database containing the personal details and career experiences of operational governors is being created to provide appropriate information for succession planning and career development. The first "Suitable to be in Charge" job simulation centre was concluded on 28 September 2000. This has provided a pool of accredited governors who have been through rigorous selection procedures and will be available to fill anticipated in-charge vacancies during the next year.New first line manager training (including managing poor performance) is to be introduced in April 2001, and a new performance management system is being introduced in April 2002. The Service is working up a comprehensive package of measures to tackle poor attendance, including piloting the use of vaccinations against flu and a bonus scheme for staff with good attendance. I am monitoring the Service's performance closely. Further measures are under consideration. A major review of training is under way and is developing a new approach to leadership and management development.Lord Laming recommended separately that Service Delivery Agreements (SDAs) should be introduced for all prisons. SDAs are being piloted this financial year and the Service will move to three-year SDAs for all establishments from April 2001. He also recommended that the Prison Service and Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons should work to produce an agreed set of standards against which the performance of prisons should be evaluated. Work is in hand to develop such a set of standards.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the use of sentence planning in the Prison Service. [142614]

Sentence planning applies to all adult prisoners sentenced to 12 months and over with at least six months left to serve, and all young offenders with at least four weeks left to serve. Life sentenced prisoners and juveniles (under 18s) have their own sentence planning system.Sentence planning is used to help prepare prisoners for safe release and to make best use of the prisoner's time. It does this by encouraging them to address the reasons for their offending behaviour and by giving planned experience of work, training and education.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the total expenditure on prison places and new prisons has been since 1995 to accommodate increases in the prison population; and if he will make a statement. [142611]

The information requested is set out in the tables.

The number of new prisons provided since 1995
YearNumber
1995–960
1996–970
1997–984
1998–990
1999–2002
2000–0111
1 The new prison in 2000–01 is called Rye Hill and will open in January 2001
The number of additional uncrowded prison places provided since 19951
YearNumber
1995–961,165
1996–971,857
1997–984,635
1998–991,697
1999–20002,071
2000–01840
1 The number of new places includes those at new prisons and places provided at existing prisons by building houseblocks and Ready To Use Units. It is the total of new places and does not take into account places taken out of use, for example by the closure of Aldington prison.
The cost of additional prison places since 19951
Year£ million
1995–96103
1996–97206
1997–98231
1998–99258
1999–2000225
2000–01264
1 The total cost of new places includes new prisons under the Private Finance Initiative. This is an estimate of the total capital and current cost as the Prison Service does not record separately the running costs of added accommodation at existing prisons.

Note:

A new prison called Dovegate (800 places) is planned to open in July 2001

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prison workshops there are in the prison estate; how many are in regular use; for how many hours per week, on average, prison workshops are used; and if he will make a statement. [142613]

There are currently 367 industrial workshops within the public sector prison estate. Of these 365 are in regular use. This does not include craft or vocational training workshops. The average number of hours per week during which these workshops are in use is 22.17. In private sector prisons there are 46 workshop areas, of which 42 are in regular use. The average number of hours per week during which the workshop areas are in use is 33.16