§ Mrs. Renee Short
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will publish in the Official Report details of the research project his Department is carrying out aimed at persuading courts to reduce the prison population.
§ Mr. Mayhew
I expect that the hon. Member has in mind the research project referred to in a report published inThe Guardian on 2 March. This project relates primarily to Hampshire and has been planned with the close co-operation of representatives of the judiciary, the police, the probation and after-care service and the social services department in that county. It is not intended to persuade 323W anyone of any predetermined conclusion, but to test out various ways—suggested mainly by the courts and probation officers themselves—of providing more effective alternatives to custody and otherwise enabling its use to be reduced.