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Volume 486: debated on Tuesday 20 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many prisoners are being held in HM prisons. (247723)

At the end of November 2008, there were 83,423 prisoners detained in all prison establishments in England and Wales. This information is available from the following website, which is updated monthly:

These figures have been drawn from administrative IT systems, which, as with any large scale recording system, are subject to possible errors with data entry and processing.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer of 15 December 2008, Official Report, column 481W, on prisoners, what assessment he has made of the consequences of the absence of a central record of prisoners maintaining innocence; and if he will make a statement. (248062)

The National Offender Management Service (NOMS) works with prisoners to address their offending behaviour and manage their risk of reoffending on the basis that they have been correctly convicted by the courts. As such, a central record of those who maintain their innocence following conviction would serve no useful purpose.

It is also open to any person who believes that they have been wrongly convicted to challenge the safety of their convictions through either the Court of Appeal or the Criminal Cases Review Commission.

Current guidance for Prison Service staff in dealing with prisoners who deny guilt is contained in chapter 7 of (Prison Service Order) PSO 4700 which is available at: _lifer_manual.doc