HC Deb 10 June 1985 vol 80 cc368-9W
Mr. McNamara

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many strip searches were made of female prisoners in Her Majesty's prison, Armagh, in May; if he will give the number of persons involved and the number of times each person was searched; whether any prison contraband, smuggled item or illegal correspondence was discovered in any search, indicating which items; in how many cases prisoners refused to be searched and had to be restrained while the search was being conducted; and if he will indicate the reasons for the search, namely, making an appearance at Armagh courthouse on remand, attending trial, inter-prison visit or other reasons.

Mr. Scott

During May 1985 a total of 64 searches were carried out on 27 prisoners in Her Majesty's prison, Armagh. Fifteen prisoners were searched once, 10 were searched twice, one prisoner was searched four times, and a life sentence prisoner taking part in a pre-release programme was searched on 25 occasions. This prisoner was offered accommodation in a separate self-contained unit of the prison, which would have eliminated the need for the full reception search procedure, but she preferred to remain located with other prisoners.

No prohibited article was found during these searches, and no prisoner refused to be searched. Searches were carried out in the following circumstances:

First admission on remand and awaiting trial 10
First admission on sentence and final discharge 11
Attending remand courts (other than Armagh) 6
Bail court appearances 3
Visits to outside hospitals 1
Pre-release programme 21
Home leave scheme 12
Total 64