HL Deb 28 July 1982 vol 434 c344WA
Lord Avebury

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What arrangements are made for non-English speaking prisoners in England and Wales to communicate through interpreters when they need to approach the governor, board of visitors or Secretary of State on any matter, and when they are subject to disciplinary proceedings, and what standards of training certification are prescribed for interpreters employed in these duties.

Lord Elton

Prison Rule 7 requires that every prisoner should be provided with information about the prison rules and other matters which it is necessary he should know. Those prisoners who cannot read or who have difficulty in understanding have this information explained on reception. Where a prisoner who cannot speak English wishes to approach the governor or the board of visitors, or to petition the Secretary of State he is helped by prison staff or inmates who are bilingual, or by an interpreter. Professional interpreters are not routinely used to overcome problems of communication, and there are no prescribed standards of training certification. I am not aware of any problems having arisen through a lack of comprehension of English, but I should be glad if the noble Lord would let me have details of any particular difficulty of which he may be aware.