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Prison Accommodation

Volume 495: debated on Monday 6 July 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer of 8 June 2009, Official Report, column 776W, on prisons, what the standard infrastructural, physical and security criteria are for prison buildings that are designated for use by category (a) A, (b) B and (c) C prisoners. (283355)

Because of the wide variety of properties that make up the prison estate, there are no standard infrastructural or physical build specifications for the different security categories of prisons. Instead, there are physical and special security guides. For security reasons these are not publicly available documents. By applying these we can ensure that all prisons meet the required standard of physical security appropriate to the category of prisoner held.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer of 23 June 2009, Official Report, columns 734-5WS, on prison accommodation, how many category (a) C and (b) D prisoners are held in prisons designated for use by category B prisoners; and what percentage of category (i) A and (ii) B prisoners are held in prisons designated for use by category A prisoners. (283362)

All prisoners are placed in the lowest security category consistent with the needs of security and control. Categorisation involves an assessment of the risk of escape or abscond and the potential risk of harm to the public. Prisoners may be held in a prison of a higher security category for operational reasons, although the numbers of such prisoners must be limited by agreement between senior managers.

The information necessary to give a comprehensive answer to the questions about the numbers of category C and D prisoners who are detained in prisons designated for category B prisoners, and the percentage of category A and B prisoners held in category A prisons is not held centrally and obtaining it would involve disproportionate cost.