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Prison Places: Finance

Volume 506: debated on Wednesday 3 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether the cost of (a) prisoner health care, (b) prisoner education services, (c) drug addiction services and (d) dog handling are taken into account in his Department’s estimates of the cost of a prison place in England and Wales. (319437)

For 2008-09 the overall cost of a prison place was £45,000 (to nearest £1,000). This includes expenditure met by the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) and the Youth Justice Board (YJB). It does not include expenditure met by other Government Departments (e.g. for health and education).

In general health care costs are not included. Where prisons have been contracted out to the private sector the cost to NOMS includes health care and this is included in the cost per place above. In general prisoner education services are not included. Where prisons have been contracted out to the private sector the cost to NOMS includes education and this is included in the cost per place above. In general clinical drug addiction services are not included. Services which are the responsibility of NOMS (e.g. drug testing, accredited drug treatment programmes and Counselling, Assessment, Referral advice and Throughcare services) are included. Dog handling costs are included.

Before 2008-09 Her Majesty’s Prison Service Annual report and Accounts included the direct prison cost per place. This included only the expenditure met and managed locally at each prison and excluded expenditure met at area, region or national level. The reported figures included expenditure on health care and education which was recharged to the other Government Departments. It did not include that expenditure met directly by other Government Departments.

The overall average cost for 2008-09 comprises the expenditure on public and private prisons (as recorded in the NOMS Agency Annual Report and Accounts), increased by an apportionment of relevant costs borne centrally and in the regions by NOMS. This involves some estimation. In addition, expenditure met centrally by the YJB is included. The figures do not include the cost of prisoners held in police or court cells under Operation Safeguard, nor expenditure met by other Government Departments (e.g. Health and Education). The prisoner escort service costs are included. Expenditure recharged to the YJB in respect of young people is included.

Cost per prison place is expressed in terms of the Certified Normal Accommodation number of places; this gives a higher unit cost than the cost per prisoner.