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Volume 457: debated on Thursday 8 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many and what proportion of the prison population are from Eastern Europe; for what types of crime such inmates were convicted; and in how many such cases is it known that such inmates had committed crimes before entering the UK. (116415)

At the end of September 2006 there were 166 prisoners from the countries Armenia, Azerbijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russia, and Ukraine being detained in prison establishments within England and Wales, and these countries are the current extent of the officially recognised area of Eastern Europe. This represented 0.2 per cent. of the prison population of 79,355.

Information on the numbers of foreign nationals according to offence type can be found in table 8.29 in the Offender Management Caseload Statistics 2005, at the website: section8.xls

Information about crimes committed by nationals from Eastern European countries before they entered the UK is not routinely collected by the police. Requests for such information are made at the discretion of the investigating police force depending on operational need.

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.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what targets have been set for reclassification and transfer of prisoners in Category B and Category C prisons; and how many (a) category A prisoners, (b) Category B prisoners and (c) Category C prisoners were reclassified as Category D prisoners in the last 12 months for which figures are available; (125352)

(2) how many prisoners were returned to a closed prison following a transfer to an open prison in the last 12 months.

Targets are not set for the reclassification and transfer of prisoners. Prisoners are categorised individually according to the likelihood that they will seek to escape and the risk they would pose should they do so.

Figures on the number of prisoners who are reclassified as category D, and of those returned to closed conditions are not held centrally. In order to answer the question, it would be necessary to examine the individual records of each prisoner and this could only be done at disproportionate cost.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps are taken to consult victims about the reclassification and transfer of the prisoner who committed the offence against them. (125353)

The provisions of the Criminal Justice and Courts Services Act 2000 imposed a statutory duty on the National Probation Service to take all reasonable steps to offer the victims of offenders convicted of a sexual or violent offence (and sentenced to a custodial sentence of 12 months or more) an option to receive information at key stages during the offender’s sentence.

In cases where the victim has consented to receive information from the probation service, it is expected that they will be notified at the points at which the offender is granted a move to a lower security establishment or is being considered for a move to open conditions.