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Prisoners: Ex-servicemen

Volume 545: debated on Tuesday 15 May 2012

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) whether and with what frequency meetings are held for former armed services personnel who are in prison; (76135)

(2) whether national funding will be made available for veteran support officers in the (a) Prison Service and (b) Probation Service;

(3) how many former armed services personnel are resident in approved premises in England and Wales;

(4) what the latest estimate is of the number of veterans who are (a) in prison, (b) on parole or licence and (c) on probation.

[Official Report, 25 October 2011, Vol. 534, c. 154-5W.]

Letter of correction from Crispin Blunt:

An error has been identified in the written answer given to the hon. Member for Wigan (Lisa Nandy) on 25 October 2011.

The full answer given was as follows:

Meetings for prisoners who are former armed service personnel take place in prisons where an identified need exists, usually as part of the Veterans in Custody Scheme which operates in approximately 120 prison establishments. The delivery or frequency of these meetings is not centrally mandated by the National Offender Management Service (NOMS).

The Veterans in Custody Scheme offers support to prisoners who are former armed service personnel and liaises with relevant service-based charities to ensure that this group of prisoners has access to the full range of services that are available. Certain Probation Trusts are implementing similar schemes, so that support and links to service-based charities are also available to offenders in the community.

NOMS has not provided additional funding to deliver this area of work as it is part of offender management which is already centrally funded.

Data on the number of former armed services personnel who are resident in Approved Premises in England and Wales is not centrally collated and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost by analysing information held on offender files or on local data systems, validating it, and then collating it in a common format in order to provide a response.

The Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Justice announced in a written ministerial statement on 6 January 2010, Official Report, column 7WS, the findings of an initial study by the Defence Analytical Services Agency (DASA) which estimated that, by analysing a database of prisoners aged 18 years and over on 6 November 2009, 3% of the prison population in England and Wales (2,207 prisoners) are ex-Regular service personnel.

In September 2010, DASA revised the estimate of ex-Regular service personnel to 3.5% of the prison population in England and Wales (2,280 prisoners) to take into account the incompleteness of their service leavers database, which did not previously include reliable data for those who had left the services prior to 1979 (Navy), 1973 (Army) and 1969 (RAF).

The initial report and the updated estimate are available via the following links:

http://www.dasa.mod.uk/index.php?pub=VETERANS-IN_PRISON_INIT1AL_REPORT

http://www.dasa.mod.uk/index.php?pub-VETERANS_IN_PRISON

In a third report, published in March 2011, DASA estimated, by analysing a database of offenders aged 18 years and over who were supervised by probation trusts on 30 September 2009, that there were 5,860 former members of the armed forces on probation in England and Wales. This equates to 3.4% of the probation caseload and is roughly in line with the percentage in prison—3.5%.

This report is available via the following link:

http://www.dasa.mod.uk/index.php?pub=VETERANS_ON_PROBATION

The estimate of 5,860 includes an upward adjustment of 499 former service personnel to take into account the incompleteness of DASA's service leavers database which did not capture reliable data for all those who left the services prior to 1979 (Naval Service), 1973 (Army) and 1969 (RAF). Therefore, only a total of 5,361 (or 3.1%) were actually matched to a supervision record.

Of the 5,361 veterans matched to a supervision records, 1,038 (19%) had a post-release licence and 4,331 (81%) had either a community order or a suspended sentence.

Note:

Please note that it is possible for an individual to have matched to more than one type of supervision record.

The correct answer should have been:

Meetings for prisoners who are former armed service personnel take place in prisons where an identified need exists, usually as part of the Veterans in Custody Scheme which operates in approximately 120 prison establishments. The delivery or frequency of these meetings is not centrally mandated by the National Offender Management Service (NOMS).

The Veterans in Custody Scheme offers support to prisoners who are former armed service personnel and liaises with relevant service-based charities to ensure that this group of prisoners has access to the full range of services that are available. Certain Probation Trusts are implementing similar schemes, so that support and links to service-based charities are also available to offenders in the community.

NOMS has not provided additional funding to deliver this area of work as it is part of offender management which is already centrally funded.

Data on the number of former armed services personnel who are resident in Approved Premises in England and Wales is not centrally collated and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost by analysing information held on offender files or on local data systems, validating it, and then collating it in a common format in order to provide a response.

The Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Justice announced in a written ministerial statement on 6 January 2010, Official Report, column 7WS, the findings of an initial study by the Defence Analytical Services Agency (DASA) which estimated that, by analysing a database of prisoners aged 18 years and over on 6 November 2009, 3% of the prison population in England and Wales (2,207 prisoners) are ex-Regular service personnel.

In September 2010, DASA revised the estimate of ex-Regular service personnel to 3.5% of the prison population in England and Wales (2,820 prisoners) to take into account the incompleteness of their service leavers database, which did not previously include reliable data for those who had left the services prior to 1979 (Navy), 1973 (Army) and 1969 (RAF).

The initial report and the updated estimate are available via the following links:

http://www.dasa.mod.uk/index.php?pub=VETERANS-IN_PRISON_INIT1AL_REPORT

http://www.dasa.mod.uk/index.php?pub-VETERANS_IN_PRISON

In a third report, published in March 2011, DASA estimated, by analysing a database of offenders aged 18 years and over who were supervised by probation trusts on 30 September 2009, that there were 5,860 former members of the armed forces on probation in England and Wales. This equates to 3.4% of the probation caseload and is roughly in line with the percentage in prison—3.5%.

This report is available via the following link:

http://www.dasa.mod.uk/index.php?pub=VETERANS_ON_PROBATION

The estimate of 5,860 includes an upward adjustment of 499 former service personnel to take into account the incompleteness of DASA's service leavers database which did not capture reliable data for all those who left the services prior to 1979 (Naval Service), 1973 (Army) and 1969 (RAF). Therefore, only a total of 5,361 (or 3.1%) were actually matched to a supervision record.

Of the 5,361 veterans matched to a supervision records, 1,038 (19%) had a post-release licence and 4,331 (81%) had either a community order or a suspended sentence.

Note:

Please note that it is possible for an individual to have matched to more than one type of supervision record.