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Prisons

Volume 501: debated on Wednesday 25 November 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what provisions have been made within the design specifications for new-build prisons to encourage the more effective management of visitors, including families and children; (300853)

(2) what provisions have been made within the design specifications for new-build prisons to improve the safety of (a) prison officers and (b) prisoners;

(3) what provisions have been made within the design specifications for new-build prisons to improve staff visibility inside prisons;

(4) what provisions have been made within the design specifications for new-build prisons to improve prison security;

(5) what provisions have been made within the design specifications for new-build prisons to reduce the incidence of violence;

(6) what provisions have been made within the design specifications for new-build prisons to discourage the hiding of contraband;

(7) if he will publish the design principles and specifications used for new-build prisons;

(8) what provisions have been made within the design specifications for new-build prisons to reduce the incidence of prisoner suicide.

New prisons are designed, constructed and managed to promote rehabilitation and education with a view to minimising the likelihood of re-offending, prevent escapes and operated in a way which would ensure that the prison population would, within each perimeter, be held in a safe, secure environment and behave in a controlled and orderly manner.

In August 2009, NOMS ran a series of design workshops to absorb recent innovations to enhance the management, safety and security of staff, visitors and inmates. In so doing it is acknowledged that each site will differ in how the land, planning permissions and any other existing buildings will support these measures as a design level.

Output specifications have been used to support our desired outcomes of management, safety, security and rehabilitation. The new prisons design principle is to encourage the market to innovate in order to improve the operational outcomes. Publishing prescriptive design specifications may therefore constrain innovation and improvement.