Skip to main content

Prisons

Volume 450: debated on Tuesday 24 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to his statement of 9 October 2006, Official Report, column 32, on the prison estate, which two women's prisons are to be re-roled to take men. (94973)

The Home Secretary in his statement the 9 October 2006 said that he had accepted recommendations to change the function of two prisons. The two prisons referred to were Brockhill and Bullwood Hall, which are now category C male prisons.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the risk of recruitment by Islamic extremists among prison inmates; what steps he is taking to avoid the spread of Islamic extremism in prisons; and if he will make a statement. (93789)

The Government are aware of the risk of Islamist extremists using prisons to recruit vulnerable individuals to their cause, and while it recognises that this does take place, it does not consider the problem to be widespread currently. A range of measures are already in place to tackle Islamist extremism within prisons and prisons will continue to take appropriate steps to deal with it, including better intelligence monitoring, training for prison staff at all levels, and developing interventions to counter Islamist extremism.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prisons do not have the use of the Watson Intelligence Database to ascertain the extent of institutional corruption; and if he will make a statement. (93965)

All public sector prisons have access to the Watson Intelligence database at the Professional Standards unit via their Area Professional Standards Manager.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the future of chaplaincy services in prisons. (94075)

Multi-faith chaplaincy teams make a significant and valuable contribution to prison life, providing a wide range of expertise and support including providing religious services and education, courses on restorative justice, bereavement and family issues, and pastoral care—of prisoners and staff. Governors, and prison staff value the commitment of chaplaincy colleagues as they work together to help provide a holistic approach to care in our prisons. We should be proud of the work that Chaplaincy is taking forward; there are no plans to diminish this role or contribution.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what consultation was conducted with different religious groups on the proposed closure of the Church of England chapel at HM Prison Wandsworth; what factors were taken into account when deciding to close the chapel; and if he will make a statement. (94077)

The primary motivation for changing the use of the RC Chapel to a shared Christian chapel was to improve the provision and facilities for all faith groups. Wandsworth had a dedicated RC Chapel, C of E Chapel and Mosque. The RC and C of E Chapels were both larger than the attendance or usage merited. The Mosque is too small.

The work of the chaplaincy in prisons has changed in recent years. The Chaplaincy is increasingly involved with group work focussing on reducing reoffending. By moving to a new single Christian chapel the space vacated will be converted to provide facilities to support this work, and an expansion of the Mosque.

The Governor obtained the agreement of the RC Archbishop of Southwark, as the RC Chapel is consecrated as a RC place of worship, as well as consulting with all faith groups within the prison and the PS Chaplain General.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the process is for the appointment of co-ordinating chaplains across the prison estate; how many prisons have a co-ordinating chaplain in post; when he expects all prison establishments to have a co-ordinating chaplain; what the (a) name and (b) religious affiliation and denomination is of each co-ordinating chaplain; and if he will make a statement. (94078)

Guidance on the appointment of Co-ordinating Chaplains has been provided to prisons in a document entitled “The role of the Co-ordinating Chaplain”. This sets out the key principles that underpin the role, model core competencies and guidelines on allocating the role. Within this framework, it is for the Governor to make the appointment. A copy of the document will be placed in the House Library.

Subject to normal recruitment arrangements relating to staff turnover, all prisons will have a chaplain who undertakes the co-ordinating role though the role will vary between prisons; contracted out prisons may also use different job titles. It would not be appropriate to provide names of the staff holding these positions, but currently, Co-ordinating Chaplain roles or their equivalents are held by one Roman Catholic Chaplain, three Muslim Chaplains, 11 Free Church Chaplains and 113 Anglican Chaplains. In a number of additional prisons the role is shared.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of the number of inmates at each prison establishment who are (a) (i) practising and (ii) non-practising (A) Church of England, (B) Roman Catholic, (C) non-conformist Christian, (D) Hindu, (E) Muslim, (F) Sikh and (b) non-affiliated; when this information was last assessed; how often this information is collected; what mechanisms exist to ensure that there is suitable provision for religious expression for each faith and denomination; and if he will make a statement. (94079)

Information is not collected centrally, and no estimate has been made of the number of prisoners who are practising, or not practising their religion. The Prison Service Performance Standard on Religion provides the framework that enables prisoners to practise their religion. All prisons have multi faith chaplaincy teams to meet and facilitate the religious needs of prisoners. The religious/spiritual needs reflected in chaplaincy teams is kept under review locally.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prisoners have been convicted for drugs offences in each of the past five years; and what percentage of the prison population these figures represent. (94130)

Information on the numbers of prisoners serving prison sentences in the years 2000-04 for drugs offences is contained in table 8.2 in the Offender Management Caseload Statistics 2004, at weblink:

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/omcs.html

The percentage of all sentenced prisoners serving sentences for drugs offences was for each year: 2000, 15.9 per cent.; 2001, 16.9 per cent.; 2002, 17.6 per cent.; 2003, 17.4 per cent.; 2004, 17.2 per cent.

These figures have been drawn from administrative IT systems. Although care is taken when processing and analysing the returns, the detail collected is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large scale recording system, and although shown to the last individual the figure may not be accurate to that level.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of the number and percentage of (a) youths, (b) adult males and (c) adult females in custody following sentencing who experienced (i) drug dependency health problems, (ii) alcohol dependency health problems and (iii) serious mental health problems in each year since 2001. (95415)

[holding answer 23 October 2006]: The information is not measured in the way requested. Instead prisons rely on epidemiological surveys to determine levels of dependence and the extent of mental health problems.

A mixture of two predominant epidemiology surveys reports the following in the table:

Percentage

Young offenders (18-21)

Adult male (sentenced)

Adult female (sentenced)

Drug dependence

1, 576

443

441

Alcohol dependence

570

463

439

Mental health problems

2, 531

3, 444

3, 442

1 Dependent on at least one drug (using the SDS scale). 2 Accessing prison mental health services. 3 Three or more mental disorders. Study group was predominantly substance misusers. Sources:4 Singleton, N., Meltzer, H. and Gatward, R. (1998) “Substance Misuse among prisoners in England and Wales: further analysis of data from the ONS survey of psychiatric morbidity among prisoners in England and Wales carried out in 1997 on behalf of the Department of Health”, ONS. 5 Borrill, J., Maden, A., Martin, A., Weaver, T., Stimson, G., Farrell, M. and Barnes, T. (2003) “Differential substance misuse treatment needs of women, ethnic minorities and young offenders in prison: prevalence of substance misuse and treatment needs”. Online report 33/03, Home Office.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidance his Department has issued to prison Governors on the permission of expression of religious faith; and if he will make a statement. (94179)

The Prison Service Performance Standard on Religion and the Prison Service Order on Religion (4550) provide guidance to Governors on the practice of religion by prisoners. Copies of both are in the House Library.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions he has had on the closure of (a) Church of England and (b) Roman Catholic chapels across the prison estate; if he will list those (i) considered and (ii) determined for (A) closure and (B) amalgamation at each establishment; and if he will make a statement. (94180)

There have been no discussions at national level about the closure of Church of England and Roman Catholic chapels across the prison estate. We have no information centrally about local proposals for individual chapels. Prison Service policy is to provide suitable places of worship for all faiths; how this requirement can best be met will depend on local circumstances. In some prisons, increased ecumenical co-operation has enabled a rationalisation of chapels for the common good.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the sites of consecrated ground within the prison estate; what the denomination is of each; and if he will make a statement. (94181)

Centrally held records list no consecrated land on the prison estate. It is possible that a few prison chapels may have been consecrated but information on this would need to be obtained from local Church of England or Roman Catholic Diocesan records.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when Sudbury Open Prison in Derbyshire was awarded high performance status; and what this award entails. (94429)

Sudbury was awarded High Performing Prison status in July 2006. This is granted to establishments which have consistently held the highest position in the Prison Service Performance Rating System and who demonstrate clear potential for continuing to deliver excellent performance. Recipients are given wide recognition for their achievements, including a plaque, certificate and a performance bonus intended to reward staff and stakeholders.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how Sudbury Open Prison celebrated the granting of high performance status; and how the prison spent the associated award. (94430)

Sudbury prison was awarded a plaque and certificate by the Director General to commemorate the achievement and spent the majority of the financial award on a celebratory event for staff and stakeholders. A smaller amount remains unspent but committed to the creation of a quiet area for staff who are on a break from duty.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the work and future of the present Chaplain General to the Prison Service. (94549)

The Chaplain General is successfully taking forward a programme of work to ensure that chaplaincy is best able to serve the needs of prisoners and staff. To be fully effective, chaplaincy teams need to be wholly integrated into the life of the establishment and operating in an inclusive way. In this work, the Chaplain General is responding to the direction of ministers and successive director-generals of the Prison Service. The Chaplain General works closely with the Chaplaincy Council (representing the major faith traditions) and a wide range of NOMS, Prison Service and other colleagues. The Chaplain General, who is licensed by the Archbishops of Canterbury, York and Wales, also works closely with the leaders of the Christian Churches. I hope that in the future he will build on what has already been achieved and continue to develop chaplaincy and the faith strand of the Faith and Voluntary and Community Sector Alliance. In doing so he seeks to ensure chaplaincy makes a full and distinctive contribution to the life of offenders and ex-offenders.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received from different faith groups concerning the future of chaplaincy services within the prison estate; and if he will make a statement. (94586)

[holding answer 18 October 2006]: Many representations are received about faith provision in prisons; I am not aware of any specifically about the future of chaplaincy services within the prison estate from faith groups.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to alter the commissioning arrangements for chaplaincy services in prisons; and if he will make a statement. (94587)

[holding answer 18 October 2006]: There are no plans, currently, to alter the existing arrangements for securing the services of chaplains in prisons.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what his policy is on the enforced sharing of religious facilities across the prison estate; and if he will make a statement. (94588)

[holding answer 18 October 2006]: Prison Service policy is to enable prisoners to practise their religion which includes being able to participate in weekly corporate worship and to have access to a chaplain from their own religion or denomination. The Performance Standard on Religion requires that suitable places of worship and meditation are provided for all faiths and that such accommodation acknowledges the religious, cultural and symbolic requirements of each faith tradition. It is a matter for governors, in consultation as necessary, how this is best done.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he is taking to support and protect the individuality of particular Christian denominations' liturgical expression at each prison establishment; and if he will make a statement. (94589)

[holding answer 18 October 2006]: Prison Service policy is to enable prisoners from all faiths to attend the main act of corporate worship for their faith each week. Christian corporate worship in prisons is led by chaplains and ministers from a range of Christian denominations to meet the needs of the prisoners in each establishment. The particular liturgy and style of service used is a matter for individual chaplains, in accordance with guidelines and canons of their own denominations.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prisoners have undertaken pre-release placements with voluntary sector providers in the scheme operated by Community Service Volunteers; and if he will make a statement. (95194)

This information is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Since 1984, 4,500 prisoners have been placed in a variety of social care and environmental opportunities, completing more than 720,000 hours. 98 per cent. of those who take part in the programme go on to complete their placement. Volunteers are aged primarily between 18 and 39 and the period of release (on temporary licence) is usually for the last four weeks in custody.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many women from Wales were sentenced to prison (a) for first time offences, (b) for periods of less than a year, (c) for periods of between one and two years, (d) for periods of between two and three years, (e) for periods in excess of four years and (f) for shop-lifting offences in each year from 1995 to 2005, broken down by local authority area. (95195)

The available information is contained in the following table and shows the number of women reported as having been dealt with by police forces in Wales and sentenced at all courts to immediate custody for all offences and for theft from shops separately in each year from 1995 to 2004, broken down by police force area.

Statistics on first-time offenders are not available at a sub-national level.

The figures provided have been drawn from administrative IT systems. Although care is taken when processing and analysing the returns, the detail collected is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large-scale recording system, and although shown to the last figure, the number may not be accurate to that level.

We have started a programme of work in the Home Office looking at the quality of existing court sentencing data and how this might be improved.

Women sentenced to immediate custody by sentence length and number sentenced to immediate custody for theft from shops, by police force area in Wales, 1995 to 2004

Sentence length and type of offence

Police force area

All offences

Dyfed-Powys

Gwent

North Wales

South Wales

Total Wales

Less than 1 year

1995

9

25

30

53

117

1996

14

34

26

65

139

1997

17

33

34

107

191

1998

23

50

60

119

252

1999

35

51

62

137

285

2000

14

52

58

138

262

2001

26

67

76

120

289

2002

18

43

62

148

271

2003

22

47

63

137

269

2004

25

42

69

166

302

1 year and less than 2 years

1995

1

2

8

19

30

1996

6

5

5

14

30

1997

3

2

9

17

31

1998

2

6

5

23

36

1999

5

4

8

28

45

2000

5

9

6

21

41

2001

11

13

7

29

60

2002

7

7

8

22

44

2003

9

6

3

20

38

2004

7

7

7

25

46

2 years and less than 3 years

1995

1

2

4

7

1996

4

3

2

8

17

1997

1

3

1

9

14

1998

1

3

2

3

9

1999

2

3

11

16

2000

1

1

2

9

13

2001

3

1

4

15

23

2002

1

9

3

13

26

2003

1

12

14

27

2004

3

2

3

14

22

3 years and less than 4 years

1995

1

4

5

1996

2

1

1

2

6

1997

1

3

1

2

7

1998

2

1

2

5

1999

1

2

4

7

2000

1

4

5

2001

4

5

6

15

2002

3

1

2

7

13

2003

2

1

7

10

2004

1

5

16

22

4 years and over

1995

2

1

5

8

1996

2

2

4

1997

2

2

7

11

1998

1

1

2

1999

1

1

6

8

2000

2

3

5

10

2001

1

2

1

5

9

2002

1

7

8

2003

5

2

11

18

2004

2

5

1

8

16

Theft from shops only

1995

6

8

13

27

1996

4

4

16

24

1997

3

11

7

16

37

1998

12

17

19

48

1999

3

10

24

25

62

2000

2

16

19

41

78

2001

20

17

23

60

2002

3

11

18

37

69

2003

2

10

23

26

61

2004

2

15

27

30

74

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many deaths occurred in prisons in each police district in each year since 2000. (95289)

This information is not collated centrally in the requested format and could be obtained only at a disproportionate cost.