§ Mr. Tom Cox
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions he is now having on possible changes in the procedures which allow food to be taken into prisons for people held on remand in custody; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Mellor
We are reviewing the need in present day circumstances for the longstanding privilege of unconvicted prisoners to have food and drink sent into prison. Prison service catering offers an adequate and varied diet which prisoners may supplement by purchases from the prison canteen. The remand food privilege provides a means of smuggling unauthorised articles, including drugs, into prisons and requires staff time to be spent in searching that could be put into other use. The views of prison service trade unions have been sought and officials are considering the practical implications of abolishing the privilege.