HC Deb 23 June 1988 vol 135 c675W
49. Mr. Speller

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will take steps to enable more of the prison population to be available for open-air work and to reduce the length of time younger convicts are confined to their cells.

Mr. Douglas Hogg

About 7,500 inmate in work places are provided on prison service farms and gardens and on building maintenance, most of which involve work in the open air for a whole or part of the time, and there are a number of additional places in locally organised open air activities. Governors already make every effort to keep outside work parties up to strength, and to enable inmates to spend the maximum time out of their cells, a key objective for all prison service establishments, but operational and security considerations may constrain the extent to which these two objectives can be achieved. Full account will be taken of both objectives in planning regimes for young offenders under the unified custodial sentence proposed in the Criminal Justice Bill currently before Parliament. In addition, new performance monitoring arrangements being implemented in all establishments will help us to manage regimes effectively.