HC Deb 14 July 1980 vol 988 cc358-9W
Mr. Grylls

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department which categories of offence by prisoners are dealt with by criminal prosecution, rather than by internal disciplinary proceedings (a) invariably and (b) in some cases; in the case of (b). by whom the decision is made and on what criteria; and how many offences by prisoners have been dealt with by criminal prosecution for the latest available period.

Mr. Brittan

If a prisoner is suspected of a serious offence against the law, the facts are reported to Prison Department headquarters which, taking into account any views expressed by the governor, decides whether the matter should be referred to the police for investigation and possible criminal proceedings or dealt with internally under the prison rules. Incidents so reported usually involve the more serious cases of assault, whether on staff or other inmates, or offences involving trafficking in dangerous drugs. The decision whether to refer the matter to the police or to deal with it internally is taken in the light of the particular circumstances and background to the individual case, but among the general considerations involved are the seriousness of the offence, the previous conduct and history of the suspected inmate and the need for expert enquiry by the police. The information requested in the last part of the question is not collected centrally.