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Volume 409: debated on Friday 18 July 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what additional funding has been awarded to prisons to reduce the number of suicides in them since January. [124700]

The Prison Service's efforts to reduce the numbers of self-inflicted deaths in prisons are supported by a number of broader approaches for which money is allocated. These include addressing the effects of handling larger numbers and throughput of prisoners, the development of detoxification regimes, and considerable Department of Health resources allocated over the next few years to extend mental health in-reach support arrangements for prisoners.The Prison Service is in the final year of a three-year strategy to develop policies and practices to reduce prisoner suicide and manage self-harm in prisons. The programme includes a series of inter-related projects aimed mostly at improving relevant pre-custody practices; reception, first night and induction arrangements; inter-agency information exchange; prisoner care; detoxification; prisoner peer support; and strengthening investigations into deaths in custody. Investment of over £21 million for the three years from April 2001 focuses on physical improvements and trials at six sites (Birmingham, Eastwood Park, Feltham, Leeds, Wandsworth, Winchester) and on full-time suicide prevention coordinators in the prisons where the risks are highest.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what funding is being provided in 2003–04 for each of the prisons within the Greater London area for the provision of education services for inmates. [123969]

Prison establishments in the London area have been allocated the following amounts:

EstablishmentAmount (£)
Latchmere House38,888
Wormwood Scrubs812,115
These amounts are from the ring-fenced education budget managed by Offenders' Learning and Skills Unit (OLSU) and are for the funding of teaching and induction hours, delivery of library services and for the cost of materials.Additional funding may be allocated in year, either by OLSU, the establishment or from Emergency Accommodation funds, which are allocated by the Prison Service, in response to increases in the prison population.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prison officers from Great Britain have been seconded to work in the prison service in Northern Ireland in each year since 2000. [124143]

The Prison Service of Northern Ireland have no record of any prison officer being seconded to them from the Prison Service of England and Wales since 2000.Prison Officers being seconded from the Scottish Prison Service is a matter for the Scottish Parliament.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the percentage change has been in the prison population in England and Wales in each year since 1997. [124144]

The percentage change in the prison population in England and Wales in each year since 1997 is given in the following table.

DatePopulationPercentage change
30 June 199761,467
30 June 199865,7276.9
30 June 199964,529-1.8
30 June 200065,1941.0
30 June 200166,4031.9
30 June 200271,2187.3
30 April 200372,8532.3

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prisoners have been transferred from prisons in Great Britain to prisons in Northern Ireland in each year since 1997. [124146]

The number of prisoners transferred from England and Wales to Northern Ireland is given in the table.The transfer of prisoners from Scotland to Northern Ireland is a matter for the Scottish Parliament and the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Number of prisoners transferred
1 Since 1 October 1997 when the new trasfer provisions of the Crime (Sentences) Act 1997 came into force.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many extra prison places became available in each year from 1992 to 2003; [125214](2) how many extra prison places were ordered to be constructed in each year from 1992 to 2003; [125215](3) how many

(a) prison places and (b) prisons are (i) under construction and (ii) projected; where they are located; and when they will become available for use. [125217]

The number of prisons, prison places and their opening dates are shown in the following table (Table 1). Table 2 shows projected prison places.

Table 1: Schemes under Construction
EstablishmentPlacesOpening Date
Birmingham1400April 2004
Morton Hall80September 2002
Highpoint South120October 2003
Wealstun180March 2004
Wymott180March 2004
Blakenhurst180June 2004
Swinfen Hall120June 2004
Lindholme180June 2004
Ranby180June 2004
Littlehey40September 2003
Stafford40September 2003
Morton Hall (Intermittent Custody Centre)40September 2003
Kirkham (Intermittent Custody Centre)40September 2003
1 Approximate

Two new prisons are to be built at Ashford (near Heathrow) and Peterborough, which together will provide 1,290 places by the end of 2004–05.

Table 2: Places funded and to be provided



Opening Date

Cell reclaims180December 2003
Location120February 2005
Location120February 2005
Location120February 2005
Location120April 2005
Location120April 2005
Location120April 2005
Location400December 2005
Location180August 2004
Location120August 2004
Location120August 2004

1 At this stage it is not possible to give the location of the places shown in the table.

The Prison Service receives funding to provide additional capacity: order dates for specific elements of the capacity package vary considerably and are not readily available. They could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Table 3 gives information on the number of additional places provided from 1995 onwards: this is the earliest date for which information is available. The data includes places both at new prisons and those provided at existing prisons by building Houseblocks, Ready to Use Units (RTUs) and Modular Temporary Units (MTU). It does not take into account any places taken out of use or prison places provided by subsequent overcrowding.

Table 3: Additional places provided from 1995 onwards

Number of places


To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department to which prisons residents of the South West Bedfordshire constituency have been sent by the courts in the last year. [125819]

In the last year people appearing in court in Bedfordshire have been sent to the following prisons:

Bedford, Brockhill, Bullingdon, Chelmsford, Eastwood Park, Elmley, Feltham, Glen Parva, Highpoint, Holloway, Huntercombe, Leicester, Lewes, Onley, Reading, Send, Stoke Heath, Styal, Woodhill and Wormwood Scrubs.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prison officers were employed in each of the last 10 years. [126809]

The information requested is contained in the table and includes prison officers, senior officers, and principal officers.

At 31 March

Numbers of prison officers


To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to reduce overcrowding in prisons; and if he will make a statement. [124599]

We are committing significant funding to modernising and increasing the capacity of the prison estate. Funding has been provided for 2,820 additional prison places to be built at existing prisons. Two new prisons will also be opened at Ashford and Peterborough. Together with building programmes in progress, such as 400 additional places at Birmingham, the total useable capacity of the Prison Service estate will increase to around 78,700 by 2006.In addition, the Criminal Justice Bill outlines a range of new sentencing options, including: the introduction of two 'intermediate' sanctions—'Custody Minus' and 'Intermittent Custody' which will allow offenders to retain employment and family contact during the week while being held in custody at weekends. These are options for sentencers which avoid the unnecessary use of full-time custody.We have also recently extended the successful Home Detention Curfew (HOC) scheme to four and a half months. HDC, by enabling prisoners to be released early but while still being subject to restrictions placed on their liberty, facilitates a smoother and more effective integration back into society.The Government continue to keep under review the demand on prison places and the capacity of the Prison Service to accommodate those prisoners sent to it by the courts.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prison officers joined and left the Prison Service in each year since 2000–01. [124962]

The information requested is contained in the following table and covers prison officers, senior officers and principal officers.

Officers leavingNewly recruited officersExisting staff re-grading to prison officer

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prison officers have resigned from the Prison Service within (a) six months, (b) one year and (c) two years of starting their employment in each of the last five years. [124913]

DatesPrison officers resigning within six months of recruitmentPrison officers resigning between six and 12 months of recruitmentPrison officers resigning between one and two years of recruitmentTotal officers resigning
July 2000 to June 2001152252372
July 2001 to June 2002241542443
July 2002 to June 2003493718575

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the average cost per annum of imprisoning one offender was in the last year for which figures are available, broken down by (a) cost of incarceration, (b) cost of policing and (c) cost of judicial system and sentencing; and if he will make a statement. [126927]

The average cost to the Prison Service per prisoner in 2002–03 was £36,268 per year.The police spent on average £830 responding to each recorded crime in 2002–03, although this varies significantly by the type of incident. Based on Police detection rates the cost per detection is approximately £3,500, however this includes some police activity on unsolved cases.The cost of processing an offender sentenced to custody through the Criminal Justice System is estimated at around £1,035 for 2000–01. This included costs of the courts, legal aid, the Crown Prosecution Service and some Probation Service costs.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will place in the Library the risk assessment procedures used to assess prisoners' suitability for transfer to (a) category D prisons and (b) Kirkham Open Prison. [125477]

The definition of a category D prison is one that holds "prisoners who can reasonably be trusted in open conditions". Sentenced prisoners may be assessed for category D conditions either on initial categorisation following sentencing or during their sentence following a review of their security category.The initial categorisation procedures use an algorithm to indicate a provisional security category for each individual prisoner. The algorithm takes account of: current offence(s), sentence length, previous offending, previous escapes or absconds and previous breaches of non-custodial disposals. An assessment is then made of this provisional category to determine whether it is appropriate. In the case of prisoners indicated for category D, this may typically include issues such as: current drug use; previous breaches of bail; the nature and circumstances of what may appear a fairly minor offence or vulnerability to bullying or coercion.Prisoners have their security category reviewed at regular intervals. Those serving 12 months to less than four years are reviewed at six monthly intervals; those serving a determinate sentence of four years or more are

The information relating to the last three years is contained in the table. Information concerning the length of service of staff who left prior to June 2000 is not available.reviewed annually. Prisoners may be reviewed more frequently than is warranted by their circumstances. The recategoristaion process places primacy on consideration of risk. The prisoner must be able to demonstrate a significant reduction in risk (to the public and/or of escape/abscond) to warrant recategorisation to conditions of lower security. Where category D is indicated as appropriate in terms of risk, consideration is then given to other issues that might suggest that the prisoner is otherwise unsuitable for open conditions. These might be issues of control, health care requirements or the need to complete educational or offending behaviour programmes. A fundamental review of categorisation is currently under way. Among other things, the review will be looking at the procedures for placing prisoners in conditions of low security.These procedures apply to all prisons in England and Wales. Kirkham accepts prisoners who have been categorised D either by the local prisons or the training prisons. The prison does not accept prisoners who are serving, or who have served, a sentence for sex offences. Other prisoners who may have special requirements or present particular problems are considered on an individual basis for return to the closed estate.I am arranging for a copy of the risk assessment form for a move to a prison of a lower security category and the assessment criteria for Kirkham prison to be placed in the Library.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to his answer to the right hon. Member for Fylde (Mr. Jack) of 24 June 2003, Official Report, column 736W, on prisons, how many of those prisoners reported as having been recaptured by 17 June were recaptured (a) within a week, (b) within a month and (c) within six months; how many returned voluntarily; at what point following absconding a warrant for arrest is normally issued; and if he will make a statement. [124993]

The information requested is not collated centrally and can be obtained only at disproportionate cost. The names and details of prisoners who have absconded are reported to the police as soon as possible after they event. The local police make inquiries in an attempt to find the absconder and ensure that police forces across the country are informed that the prisoner has absconded and is unlawfully at large. It is not necessary for a court to issue an arrest warrant.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prisoners (a) were given day release from prison and (b) absconded from day release in each year since 1990; and if he will make a statement. [124600]

The following table shows (a) the total number of temporary release licences issued, (b) the numbers of prisoners released and (c) the total number of temporary release failures (which includes absconds, but which are not recorded separately) for each year since 1993. Prior to 1993 temporary release statistics were not published and no data for that period is available.

Total number of licences issuedNumbers of prisoners releasedTemporary release failures
Prisoners may be released on temporary licence for a number of purposes including compassionate reasons, training, employment and voluntary work, to re-establish family ties and help prisoners make the transition from prison to life in the community. On most occasions the licences recorded are for one day. For resettlement activities, however, the licence may cover up to five days away from the prison.