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Prison: Paganism

Volume 475: debated on Thursday 1 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice with reference to Prison Service Instruction 2005/33, on the practice of paganism in prison, how many wands are available in prisons in (a) England, (b) Wales and (c) Northern Ireland. (203230)

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

Prison Service policy is to enable prisoners of different faith traditions, including Paganism, to practise their religion. Guidance on the practice of religion in prisons is set out in Prison Service Order (PSO) 4550 (Religion), a copy of which is in the Library of the House.

The PSO contains details of religious artefacts which are allowed in possession for relevant faiths so that prisoners can practise their religion within the constraints of good order and discipline. The information on Paganism was developed in consultation with the Pagan Federation and enables prisons to facilitate its practice properly and responsibly. The religious artefacts for Pagan prisoners include a flexible twig for a wand.

Information on prisons in Northern Ireland is the responsibility of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.