HC Deb 16 February 1977 vol 926 cc244-5W
Miss Richardson

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) to what extent doctors participate in the committal, or oversee prisoners who are committed, to segregation units, isolation cells or psychiatric cells in Her Majesty's prisons;

(2) how many prisoners in the United Kingdom have padded cells; and which prisoners are concerned;

(3) how many prisoners who have been in segregation units, isolation cells or psychiatric cells in Her Majesty's prisons have attempted or committed suicide while in these cells or after release from these cells;

(4) what is the daily schedule of prisoners in segregation units, isolation cells or psychiatric cells;

(5) which prisons in the United Kingdom have segregation units, isolation cells or psychiatric cells; and how many prisoners of what ages and sexes have been in such cells since October 1975;

(6) what is the difference between segregation units, isolation cells or psychatric cells and those cells known as control units.

Mr. John

As regards accommodation used for segregating prisoners from the rest of the prison community, I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to the Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Ormskirk (Mr. Kilroy-Silk) on 7th February—[Vol. 925, c. 524–5]. There has been no control unit since 23rd October 1975. There are no "psychiatric cells".

A protected room may be used for a violent prisoner, but only with the authority of the medical officer and for such period of time as he may direct. There are 52 protected rooms in the 41 prisons listed below. Seven of these rooms were occupied on 10th February 1977, but occupancy varies day to day and even from hour to hour.

A prisoner may not be confined to a cell as punishment unless the medical officer certified that he is fit, and prisoners so confined are visited each day by the medical officer, as are prisoners segregated because they have a record of violence.

The daily routine of prisoners who are segregated varies according to the facilities available at the prison, but would include the statutory entitlement to exercise for those whose health permits it.

It is not possible except at disproportionate cost to ascertain how many prisoners have occupied segregated accommodation since October 1975 or how many of those have committed or attempted to commit suicide either at that time or subsequently.

The prisons with protected rooms are:

Bedford Maidstone
Birmingham Manchester
Blundeston Northallerton
Brixton Nottingham
Bristol Onley
Canterbury Oxford
Chelmsford Parkhurst
Dartmoor Pentonville
Dorchester Portsmouth
Durham Preston
Exeter Reading
Gartree Shrewsbury
Gloucester Stafford
Grendon Swansea
Haverigg Thorp Arch
Hull Wakefield
Leeds Wandsworth
Leicester Wetherby
Lewes Winchester
Lincoln Wormwood Scrubs

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