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Young Offender Institutions: Equality

Volume 507: debated on Monday 15 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many young offender institutions have diversity manager posts; and how many such posts are vacant; (321741)

(2) what provision is made for children with a disability in young offender institutions;

(3) how many young offender institutions have a race equality and diversity communication strategy; and when each was last revised;

(4) how many young offender institutions have diversity representative posts; and how many such posts are vacant.

Prison Service Orders (PSO) 2800 (Race Equality) and 2855 (Prisoners with Disabilities) require prisons to have a designated member of staff to act as a liaison for race equality and for disability issues.

Locally prisons and young offender institutions (YOIs) may choose to have a diversity manager to oversee equality issues generally. In addition, all have offender representatives supporting the work of local management teams on diversity issues. On 31 December 2009, 16 from 18 YOIs indicated that they had a diversity manager.

PSO 2855 sets out prisons' and YOIs' requirements for meeting the needs of prisoners with disabilities and how the Prison Service must comply with the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (amended 2005). The PSO does not provide guidance on particular disabilities as it is the intention that the individual needs of the offender are assessed and reasonable adjustments made to address the issues raised, rather than adopting a one size fits all policy.

PSO 2800 requires prisons and YOIs to have a race equality communication strategy setting out how they will communicate and consult with staff, prisoners and visitors. Information on the management of equality in prisons and YOIs is collected quarterly through a questionnaire designed by the NOMS Race and Equalities Action Group. Every YOI reports having a race equality communication strategy. Data are not collected centrally on revision dates.