HC Deb 09 March 1995 vol 256 c452
10. Mr. Bellingham

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he next expects to visit Her Majesty's prison Whitemoor to discuss prison policy; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Howard

I visited Whitemoor prison on 10 October 1994. I have no plans for a further visit.

Mr. Bellingham

Is my right hon. and learned Friend aware that I visited Whitemoor prison, just outside my constituency, last Monday? As well as meeting the excellent new governor, Mr. Brody Clark, I met many prison officers. The majority of them, while believing that there should be a balance between toughness and rehabilitation, feel strongly that when it comes to prisoners wearing their own clothes, doing their own cooking and receiving as many as five visits a month, there should be more emphasis on punishment.

Mr. Howard

I am grateful for my hon. Friend's interest. He will have heard the answer that I gave my hon. Friend the Member for Welwyn Hatfield (Mr. Evans), which dealt with many of the points made by my hon. Friend the Member for Norfolk, North-West (Mr. Bellingham).

Mr. Mike O'Brien

Will the Home Secretary confirm that in his tough, rigorous prison system it is possible for IRA terrorists to carry Semtex from one prison to another?

Mr. Howard

The hon. Gentleman knows full well of the dreadful events at Whitemoor prison, which the House considered on a previous occasion at some length.