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Prison Visitors: Revised Booklet Of Guidance

Volume 416: debated on Monday 19 January 1981

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asked Her Majesty's Government:What changes have been made in the revised booklet of guidance for voluntary prison visitors, in the section relating to communication with other people on the subject of prisons, and why.

A revised handbook to replace the 1964 edition was prepared during 1979, in consultation with the National Association of Prison Visitors. The wording now adopted is particularly intended to be helpful to the less experienced visitor who may need specific guidance about casual discussion of, for example, the geography or the manning of the prison, which might prejudice its security, or of the case history of an individual prisoner, who is entitled to privacy. The new handbook provides that

"A visitor will not discuss with persons outside the prison service information he acquires about the prison or about individual prisoners, and will neither publish nor broadcast material about prison visiting without the consent of the Prison Department".