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Prisons: Bullying

Volume 490: debated on Friday 27 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what protocols and procedures are in operation within prisons to prevent persistent bullying. (267264)

Ministers, the National Offender Management Service and the Prison Officers' Association are collectively committed to ensuring that violence in prisons is not tolerated in any form and since 2004, a national strategy has directed every public sector prison to have in place a local violence reduction strategy. Since 2007 this has been applied to the contracted out estate. Under the national strategy, prisons are instructed to implement a local violence reduction strategy aimed at dealing with all forms of violence in their establishment. Strategies based on reducing violence rather than focusing specifically on bullying help to ensure a more holistic approach to antisocial behaviour that recognises the complexities of managing violence in prisons.

Local strategies to manage violence include identifying problems specific to the establishment, such as bullying between prisoners. Strategies must involve regular analysis of problems such as identifying problem areas, formulating solutions and providing action plans to improve personal safety and reduce violence. All establishments, except open prisons, are required to undertake a cell-sharing risk assessment to inform cell allocation. The violence reduction strategy is due to be reviewed during 2009.