asked Her Majesty's Government:What facilities for disabled prisoners have been incorporated in the new blocks brought into operation since 1 May 1997 or under construction as at 31 July 1998; and whether, pending the issue of a new Prison Service Order giving further guidance on the management of prisoners with physical, sensory or mental disabilities, they will re-examine current building projects with a view to ensuring maximum flexibility of use for prisoners with disabilities. [HL 3221]
The new houseblocks are a standard modular design which incorporates external access for wheelchairs. However, the cell doors are not wide enough for a wheelchair and there are no specific facilities for disabled prisoners provided in the cells. The feasibility of modifying the standard houseblock design to include a small number of cells designed for disabled prisoners is being investigated and, if this proves successful, the option would be available in appropriate circumstances.Where current building projects are not contractually committed, consideration is being given in appropriate cases to meeting the needs of disabled prisoners in the light of the facilities already available at the particular establishment.