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Prisons: Chief Inspector

Volume 685: debated on Monday 9 October 2006

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the statement by the Baroness Scotland of Asthal on 5 June (HL Deb, col. 1106), on what written evidence they base their claim that the proposed Deputy Chief Inspector of Justice, Community Safety and Justice (Prisons) would have strengthened rather than reduced powers compared to the current powers of the Chief Inspector of Prisons.[HL7381]

In relation to the functions currently discharged by the Chief Inspector of Prisons, the ability of the new Inspectorate of Justice and Community Safety and Custody and the powers of the person charged with fulfilling the statutory function of custodial inspection to undertake prisons inspections will be strengthened because Part 4 of the Police and Justice Bill provides:

an explicit statutory power to enter premises and obtain information without restriction as to time;

a remit to inspect the treatment and conditions of those in custody which has been widened to include custody areas at courts and police stations, and escort arrangements;

the ability, as part of an inspectorate that will inspect the entire criminal justice system, to look beyond issues of treatment and conditions in custody at the offender management process as a whole, including in particular the interfaces between the different agencies involved.