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Prisoners Transfers

Volume 471: debated on Wednesday 30 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many prisoners convicted of wounding were transferred to open prisons in 2007; (182422)

(2) how many prisoners convicted for a violent offence were transferred to open prisons before reaching the final 28 days of their sentence in 2007.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice by what means his Department ensures that transfers of prisoners to the open estate comply with Prison Service Instruction 17/2007. (182604)

Prison Service Instruction (PSI) 17/2007, which has been replaced by PSI 46/2007, requires prison governors and directors of contracted prisons to put in place arrangements to conduct categorisation reviews at six-monthly intervals for all prisoners in the last 30 months of their sentence. In closed prisons, categorisation reviews must be carried out following the successful completion of any period of release on temporary licence.

Governors (and directors of contracted prisons) must ensure that prisoners are only excluded from allocation to open conditions for reasons that are consistent with the normal categorisation and risk assessment process.

Women prisoners are included in these arrangements. However, prisoners under 18 are not covered by the instruction, and will continue to be placed by the Youth Justice Board.

Compliance with these mandatory actions is managed via the operational line. The categorisation and allocation process is also subject to external audit procedures.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many transfers of high-risk offenders from a (a) category A and (b) category B prison to open prisons there were in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. (182635)

Information on the transfer of prisoners within the prison estate of establishments within England and Wales is not held centrally, and to collect it would require extensive manual inspection of records.

Prisoners are assessed objectively in a process looking at all aspects of their offending behaviour, actions they have taken to reduce their likelihood of reoffending, and the risk they pose to the public. They are placed in the lowest security category consistent with their assessed risk. Only prisoners placed in the lowest security category (D) may be allocated open conditions.