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Prisoners: Females

Volume 468: debated on Thursday 6 December 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many women in prisons in England and Wales are held (a) more than 50 miles and (b) more than 100 miles from the sentencing court. (172123)

Distance from court area for sentenced women prisoners is set out in the following table:

Distance

Women prisoners1

Up to 50 miles

1,639

50 to 100 miles

830

Over 100 miles

769

1 As at 19 September 2007.

159 women prisoners had no recorded court or home address.

Information on sentencing court addresses is not available for every prisoner and where not available home area addresses have been used as a proxy.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the (a) certified normal accommodation and (b) total capacity available to house women prisoners was in each year since 1997. (172124)

The information requested is set out in the following table:

Certified normal accommodation

Operational capacity

1997

2,688

2,772

1998

3,091

3,269

1999

3,240

3,496

2000

3,524

3,763

2001

3,713

3,964

2002

4,493

4,828

2003

4,611

4,924

2004

4,743

5,052

2005

4,996

5,294

2006

4,759

4,996

2007

4,676

4,876

Certified normal accommodation is the uncrowded capacity of the women's prison estate and operational capacity is the total number of places in the women's estate.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice on how many occasions women prisoners have been held in police or court cells over the last 12 months. (172125)

Women prisoners are held in police cells, under Operation Safeguard, only in exceptional circumstances. This has occurred on 21 occasions in the last 12 months (an occasion equates to one prisoner on one night).

Prisoners are also sometimes held overnight in police cells as “lockouts”. A lockout is an operational measure normally only used when the designated prison’s reception will be closed before the prisoner’s arrival time. Women prisoners have been held in police cells as “lockouts” on 33 occasions in the last 12 months.

No women prisoners have to date been held in court cells.