HC Deb 11 May 1978 vol 949 cc568-9W
14. Mr. Cohen

asked the Secretary of of State for Northern Ireland whether he will make a statement on the issue of special category status.

Mr. Concannon

It has been made plain in successive public statements that special category status will not be granted to prisoners convicted of offences committed on or after 1st March 1976. The Government will not be deflected from this policy, and I trust that this House will give its firm backing to Her Majesty's Government on this important and vital issue.

Originally it took 30 compounds to house the special category prisoners. Now they are in 12. The compounds are subject to frequent searches, without warning, by permanent search teams of prison officers. The degree of freedom given to prisoners within the compounds is not as great as sometimes alleged.

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