HC Deb 24 February 1984 vol 54 cc660-1W
Mr. Cohen

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will state, in relation to the computer system dealing with the prison records at Bedford (a) the purpose or purposes for which personal data are held (b) the source or sources from which data are obtained, (c) a description of any person or organisations to whom personal data have been disclosed, including the number of such disclosures over the last convenient period of time, (d) the Departments that have or intend to have terminal access to the computer system, and (e) a list of the indices held on the computer system and the number of entries in each index.

Mr. Hurd

The computer project at Bedford prison is still being developed. Subject to this, the answers to the points raised by the hon. Member 'are as follows:

  1. (a) the purpose of the computer project is to make information about inmates in Bedford prison more readily available to staff who need to have it and to reduce time spent on manual listing and analysis;
  2. (b) the principal information source is the inmate himself, the details he gives being supplemented by court and police documentation;
  3. (c) there have been no such disclosures; it is not intended to disclose information from the computer data base except to authorised persons or organisations and subject to appropriate safeguards;
  4. (d) there are no plans at present for terminal access outside the prison department;
  5. (e) there are no indices in the conventional sense. Information to be held on the computer data base will 661 be similar to that held in the manually maintained system and will include for each inmate his number, name, home address, next of kin, religion, details of committal, sentence length, date of release and location within the establishment.