Prisoners and young offenders have a statutory entitlement to domestic or social visits. In addition, many establishments offer extended or family visits. The frequency of these additional visits remains a matter for each establishment, taking account of resources and regime. Statistics on the number of visitors are not routinely collated so there is no recent evidence as to the overall level of take up. However, in order to support and encourage more visitors, the Assisted Prisons Visits Scheme, which provides financial assistance for visitors on a low income, was extended in 2004. Good Practice Guidelines have also recently been issued to enable prisons and YOIs to examine and improve the effectiveness of their visits arrangements.
[holding answer 26 June 2006]: Staff to trainee ratios are difficult to calculate, for a variety of reasons. For example, some staff spend almost all their time dealing with trainees; others, for example support staff, will have less frequent contact. The following figures are indicative:
Secure children's homes: the number of staff supervising trainees varies between one member of staff to two children and six staff to eight children.
Secure training centres: the number of staff supervising trainees ranges between two staff to five to seven trainees and three staff to eight trainees. Other staff at the centre include custody officers to supervise visits, admissions and movements in the centre.
Young offender institutions: no simple ratio is available. On each wing, there are between 40 and 60 trainees, under the supervision of between three and six staff. In addition, there are teachers, learning support assistants and support staff.
[holding answer 26 June 2006]: The Youth Justice Board for England and Wales commissions and purchases places in the secure estate for children and young people. It estimates the annual cost per place in 2005-06 as follows:
£ Secure training centre 1171,500 Young offender institution 50,500 Secure children's home 194,800 1 Includes value added tax.
Secure training centre
Young offender institution
Secure children's home
1 Includes value added tax.