§ Mr. Beggs
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he plans to extend his policy which enables prisoners in England and Wales to serve sentences in a prison near their family and relatives so that Northern Ireland prisoners on the mainland can be transferred to Northern Ireland prisons to complete their sentences.449W
§ Mr. John Patten
Under the Criminal Justice Act 1961 sentences inmates may be transferred at their own application between United Kingdom jurisdictions. In dealing with requests from inmates in England and Wales for transfers to Northern Ireland, the Department, in consultation with the Northern Ireland Office, considers each case on its merits, applying publicly stated criteria covering such matters as the length of the sentence remaining to be served, the inmate's current behaviour, and his or her history and background.
Transfers of sentenced prisoners to the Republic of Ireland will not be possible unless and until the Republic takes powers to hold prisoners sentenced in another jurisdiction.
Applications for transfers from inmates held in Scottish prisons fall to be dealt with by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland.