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Prisons

Volume 455: debated on Wednesday 10 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many offenders released from prison were known to have re-offended within (a) 24 hours, (b) 48 hours, (c) one week and (d) one month of release from prison in the latest period for which figures are available. (112730)

The most recent re-offending information on times to re-offending was published in November as “Re-offending of Adults: results from the 2003 cohort. Home Office Statistical Bulletin 20/06”. The report is available on line at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs06/hosb2006.pdf and covers offenders starting community sentences or being discharged from prison in England and Wales in the first quarter of 2003.

Time to re-offending for offenders released from custody only, and information on re-offending within 24 hours, 48 hours, and one week, are not routinely calculated.

However information on time to re-offending on a monthly basis for offenders released from custody or starting a community sentence in the first quarter of 2003 is illustrated in figure 3, page 5. Figure 4 on page 5 shows the average number of days to re-offending by offence group.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prisoners are serving sentences of (a) less than three months and (b) between three and six months. (112731)

Information on the numbers of prisoners serving sentences of less than six months can be found in the following table which is taken from webtable 8.19 to be published shortly in conjunction with the Offender Management Caseload Statistics 2005, a copy of which can be found in the House of Commons Library.

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 figures may not be accurate to that level.

Population in prison establishments serving immediate custodial sentences up to six months, as at 30 June 2005

Number

Up to and including three months

1,882

Over three months and including six months

4,127

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what his most recent estimate is of the number of prisoners who have accommodation arranged on release from prison. (113609)

Data for the resettlement key performance indicator show that, in 2005-06, 76,774 prisoners reported that they had accommodation arranged on release. This represents 90.1 per cent. of the total released in the year ending March 2006, the latest period for which figures are available.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what arrangements are in place for the provision of advice on (a) benefits and (b) debt to prisoners on release. (113610)

Jobcentre Plus advisers work in most prisons, and offer advice and assistance on potential employment opportunities, closing down benefit claims and the completion of forms, including for community care grants or crisis loans, prior to discharge.

Prisoners who do not have a job or training place to go to on release also have the opportunity to have a Freshstart interview booked prior to release to enable them to attend a local Jobcentre within the first few days of discharge.

This provides them with opportunity to seek employment and links them into the benefit system.

Debt advice is provided across the prison estate through local management arrangements by a variety of voluntary and statutory organisations.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what average number of hours of purposeful activity was undertaken by a prisoner per week in each of the last 10 years for which figures are available; and for what reason this figure is no longer published by the Prison Service or Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons. (113616)

The average number of weekly hours of purposeful activity per prisoner during the last 10 years is shown in the following table.

Purposeful activity outturns since 1996-97

Financial year

Percentage

1996-97

23.8

1997-98

23.3

1998-99

22.8

1999-2000

23.2

2000-01

23.8

2001-02

23.4

2002-03

22.6

2003-04

23.1

2004-05

24.4

2005-06

25.2

Purposeful Activity ceased to be a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) in 2003-04 but remains an establishment-level Key Performance Target (KPT). Ministers agreed that outcome-based KPIs introduced in respect of education, rehabilitation and resettlement provide a better demonstration of the efforts to equip prisoners to be less likely to offend on release. Establishments are set annual targets for prisoner activity and performance continues to be monitored internally.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what average number of hours a prisoner spent outside his or her cell per day in each of the last 10 years for which figures are available. (113617)

The average number of hours of time out of cell for each prisoner during the last 10 years is shown in the following table.

Time out of cell outturns since 1996-97

Average time out of cell per prisoner per weekday

1996-97

11.2

1997-98

10.9

1998-99

10.6

1999-2000

10.2

2000-01

9.6

2001-02

9.6

2002-03

9.8

2003-04

9.9

2004-05

10.0

2005-06

10.0

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what most recent estimate he has made of the number of prisoners who have taken illegal drugs while in prison. (113620)

The best measure of drug misuse in prisons is provided by the random mandatory drug testing programme. The positive rate for 2005-06—the latest period for which data are available—was 10.3 per cent.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the degree to which drug treatment is standardised across British prisons; and if he will make a statement. (113621)

A wide range of standards, good practice guidance and performance measures define the delivery of drug treatment across Prisons in England and Wales. Prisons may vary the framework for delivery in order to best match local need.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what percentage of female prisoners are mothers. (113624)

This information is not kept routinely by the Prison Service. A resettlement survey commissioned in 2003-04 by the then Custody to Work Unit, Prison Service, showed that half of all female prisoners had dependent children (including stepchildren) under 18, and 46 per cent. of those women had lived with at least one dependent child before custody.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what percentage of prisoners have a child under 18 years of age. (113626)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what his most recent estimate is of the number of prisoners who stay in touch with their families during their sentence; (113627)

(2) what his most recent estimate is of the impact of family contact during imprisonment on an offender’s resettlement after release.

Information on the number of prisoners having contact with their families or the impact such contact has on resettlement outcomes is not collated centrally.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prison visits (a) in total and (b) on average prisoners received in each year since 1997. (113629)

Prisoners have a statutory entitlement to social visits and are also able to earn additional visits under the Incentives and Earned Privileges Scheme, Statistics on the number of visits to prisoners are not centrally collated, as there is currently no universal way of recording such data.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department at what average distance from their homes (a) male and (b) female prisoners are held; and how many prisoners are held over 100 miles away from their home. (113631)

As at 29 September 2006, the average distance from home for male prisoners was 50 miles, and for women prisoners the average distance from home was 58 miles.

Around 10,700 prisoners are located over 100 miles from home.

Distance from home is calculated using either home address, which is held for approximately 45 per cent. of prisoners, or where no home address is listed the committal court used a proxy.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what provisions are in place for searching (a) visitors and (b) others entering prisons; and to what extent this is standardised across prisons. (113632)

As a condition of entry, visitors and all other persons entering a prison will be searched in accordance with the prison’s local searching strategy, which must be compliant with the Prison Service National Security Framework (NSF).

The NSF provides that domestic, official and professional visitors and staff are subject to a rub down search, a metal detector/portal scan and a passive drug dog search on entry. The level and frequency of such searches must be agreed between the Governor and Area Manager of each establishment, based on local needs and requirements. In exceptional circumstances, visitors may be subject to a full search.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which prisons make use of body orifice scanning machines to search people entering prisons; and what the cost of one machine is. (113633)

The Prison Service is currently trialling a body orifice scanner in one high security prison. The trial involves detecting contraband held by prisoners and is not currently applied to staff or visitors entering prisons.

It is not possible to provide a costing for the machine as the cost is confidential within the contract.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the means by which illegal substances are most commonly brought into prisons. (113634)

The Home Office commissioned a substantial piece of research that identified patterns of drug use and supply routes. The six main routes identified were social visits, mail, new receptions, prison staff, over the perimeter wall and reception after court visits.

A comprehensive range of measures is in place to target these routes.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent estimate he has made of the number of prisoners suffering from mental health problems; and how many prisons have mental health in-reach teams. (113636)

A survey, “Psychiatric morbidity among prisoners in England and Wales” (Office for National Statistics, 1998) showed that 90 per cent. of prisoners have at least one significant mental health problem, including personality disorder, psychosis, neurosis, alcohol misuse and drug dependence. A copy is available in the Library.

Mental health services for prisoners have been a key part of the Government's recent reforms of health services for prisoners. The Department of Health is now investing nearly £20 million a year in NHS mental health in-reach services for prisoners. These are community mental health teams working within prisons and are now available in 102 prisons, with some 360 extra staff employed. Every prison in England and Wales has access to these services.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent assessment he has made of waiting times between assessment of a prisoner and a transfer to hospital. (113637)

Prisoners with severe mental health problems should be transferred and treated in hospital whenever possible. To help facilitate quicker transfers, a protocol has been issued setting out what must be done when a prisoner has been waiting for a hospital place for more than three months following acceptance by the NHS. Tighter monitoring has also been introduced to identify prisoners waiting an unacceptably long period for transfer.

In 2005, 24 per cent. more prisoners with mental illness too severe for prison were transferred to hospital than in 2002—up to 896 from 722. In the quarter ending September 2006, 43 prisoners had been waiting over 12 weeks for a transfer, down from 58 in the same quarter in 2005.

We are looking to further reduce the national waiting time standard for transfers between custodial settings and hospitals. Pilots of a 14-day maximum wait will take place in 15 mental health trusts next year.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what his most recent estimate is of the incidence of self-harm among (a) male and (b) female prisoners. (113638)

Based on information compiled from incidents recorded on the Prison Service Incident Reporting System, the total number of recorded self-harm incidents in 2005 was approximately 21,600, with 9,100 involving male prisoners and 12,500 involving female prisoners. Many of these incidents involve the same individuals.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what his most recent estimate is of the average cost per year of keeping an offender in (a) an adult prison, (b) a young offender institution and (c) a secure training centre, broken down by main budget heading. (113641)

The cost per place in each type of prison establishment for 2005-06 is shown separately for the public and contracted sectors in the tables.

The Prison Service does not routinely collate cost-per-place data by specific elements of expenditure.

Table 113641 A: public sector prison costs by function

Function name

Cost per prison place (£)

Male category B

25,881

Male category C

21,976

Male dispersal

43,904

Female closed

34,617

Female local

37,366

Female open

23,932

Male closed YOI

32,887

Male juvenile

42,143

Male local

31,912

Male open

120,183

Male open YOI

27,413

Semi open

23,571

Prison totals

28,486

Table 113641 B: contracted sector prison costs by function

Function name

Cost per prison place (£)

Male category B

26,813

Male category C

20,855

Female closed

44,400

Male juvenile

48,669

Male local

33,805

Prison totals

33,722

In 2005-06, the cost of the four secure training centres (STCs), commissioned from the private sector by the Youth Justice Board was £47.2 million, for 274 places. This represents a cost-per-place figure of £172,300.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prisoners were housed (a) with one other person in a cell designated for one and (b) with two other persons in a cell designated for two, in each of the last 10 years. (113642)

The following table shows the average number of prisoners held two to a cell certified for one, for each of the last 10 years, and the number of prisoners held three to a cell certified for two, for each of the last three years. Three to a cell information is not available from before April 2003.

Doubling and three to cell information since 1996-97

Average monthly:

Financial year

Doubling1

Three to a cell1

1996-97

9,498

n/a

1997-98

11,548

n/a

1998-99

12,024

n/a

1999-2000

12,221

n/a

2000-01

11,128

n/a

2001-02

11,449

n/a

2002-03

14,588

n/a

2003-04

16,363

1,270

2004-05

16,878

1,048

2005-06

16,986

1,133

n/a = not available.

1 Figures subject to rounding.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prison places were (a) put out of use and (b) created in each year since 1997; and at which prisons those changes took place. (113643)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many suicides there were in prisons classified as overcrowded in each of the last 10 years. (113644)

The information requested is provided in the following table.

Self-inflicted deaths in crowded prisons

Number

1996

29

1997

38

1998

67

1999

63

2000

61

2001

50

2002

72

2003

82

2004

76

2005

69

Notes:

1. A crowded prison is defined as one in which the prison population is more than the certified normal accommodation.

2. Self-inflicted deaths includes all deaths where it appears the individual acted specifically to take their own life, not only those that received a suicide or open verdict at inquest

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he is taking to ensure that education managers in prisons receive prisoners’ records following transfer from another prison; and if he will make a statement. (113645)

Secure arrangements are in place to transfer individual learning plans and records of prisoners’ achievements and aspirations as they move between prisons and from prison to the community. Further work is under way between the Learning and Skills Council and the National Offender Management Service to develop and introduce a comprehensive electronic system.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the two prisons he announced for reroling in October 2006 are additional to the reroling of Brockhill and Bullwood Hall already announced by his Department in the spring. (113646)

The two prisons referred to in the Home Secretary’s statement of 9 October 2006 were the two women’s prisons, Brockhill and Bullwood Hall.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what percentage of prisoners identified as having drug problems are undergoing intensive drug rehabilitation. (113649)

Based on the number of prisoners engaging in 2005-06 with the counselling, assessment, referral, advice and throughcare (CARAT) treatment service, 16 per cent. went on to engage with an intensive drug treatment programme. This figure excludes juvenile prisons.

Not all prisoners with a drug dependency require an intensive treatment programme or are in prison long enough to gain access.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what percentage of the Prison Service budget was spent on education in 2005-06. (113651)

The Prison Service spent £85.2 million on education in 2005-06. This represents 4.5 per cent. of the gross budget. The Prison Service fully recovered this expenditure by invoicing DfES, which holds the budget for prisoners’ education.

The net cost to the Prison Service was nil.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what his most recent assessment is of the proportion of prisoners who are able to complete a job application form. (113654)

We do not collect this specific information. However, Department for Education and Skills statistics show that 82 per cent. of offenders have writing skills at or below those expected of an 11-year-old. For reading and numeracy the figures are 48 per cent. and 65 per cent. respectively.

As part of wider work to get prisoners into employment, assistance with completing job application forms is provided to prisoners including by Jobcentre Plus staff, prison officers, voluntary sector workers and peer advisers.