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Prisons: Females

Volume 506: debated on Friday 5 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what arrangements have been made to re-categorise (a) HMP Morton Hall and (b) HMP Foston Hall from semi-open to closed prisons; and if he will make a statement; (320165)

(2) what assessment his Department undertook on the effect on women in prison of the removal of the semi-open category of prison.

On 11 February 2009 the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) announced the re-designation of both HMP Morton Hall and HMP/YOI Drake Hall from semi-open to closed prisons. There are no plans to change this decision.

The re-designation, which took effect on 2 March 2009, allowed NOMS to more effectively provide for the needs of all women prisoners through greater flexibility in the use of the estate. It has also improved closeness to home for some women, supported the placement of indeterminate sentenced women in accordance with their needs, and in general enabled more women to access the resettlement regimes available at these two prisons. There was no requirement to move any of the women out of either prison as a result of the change. Both establishments retained their levels of internal and perimeter security and their resettlement regimes, including their roles as specialist foreign national centres. Women suitable for open conditions are able to go these prisons if such a move meets their resettlement needs.