HC Deb 27 July 1979 vol 971 cc544-5W
Mr. Arthur Lewis

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will list the prisons in which there are segregation units or isolation units, together with, for the past five years or other convenient time period (a) the capital costs for installation, (b) the annual running costs, (c) the status and qualifications of the persons in charge of the unit and manning such units and (d) the numbers in each category for each prison or penal institution;

(2) what is the purpose of segregation units and isolation units in prisons; what are the reasons for the installation of such segregation units and isolation units; and if the reasons for such installations of segregation units and isolation units are contained in research papers and reports, he will list such research papers and reports stating the authors and the dates of each of them;

(3) what is the empirical data of the after-effects of segregation units and isolation units that justifies their continued use;

(4) for each prison or penal institution in which there are segregation and isolation units, whether he will give the longest period of time which any particular inmate has spent in such a unit; and what proportion of persons who have been in such segregation and isolation units were returned to prison within (a) one year after release and (b) two years after release.

Mr. Brittan

The report of the advisory council on the penal system, published in 1968, on the regime for long-term prisoners in conditions of maximum security, recommended that each dispersal prison should have a segregation unit to enable prison staff to forestall serious trouble by segregating certain prisoners from the remainder of the prison community.

Each of the seven dispersal prisons (Albany, Gartree, Hull, Long Lartin, Parkhurst, Wakefield, Wormwood Scrubs) has a segregation unit, and other closed prisons also have facilities which enable prisoners to be segregated either under Prison Rule 43 or to serve punishment entailing segregation. The accommodation is manned by prison officers and supervised by a member of the governor grades. The use of these units does not arise from research reports. No empirical data is available on the after-effects of their use.

The other information requested is not readily available and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.