HC Deb 03 May 1990 vol 171 cc658-9W
29. Mr. Gow

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is satisfied with conditions in Her Majesty's prisons.

Mr. Mellor

While modern prisons are built and operated to high standards, the conditions in some establishments—particularly local prisons and remand centres where the problems are exacerbated by overcrowding—leave a lot to be desired. Unfortunately, one effect of the recent disturbances is to increase the pressures, and thereby worsen conditions, elsewhere in the prison system. We are determined to see improvements as soon as possible.

We shall continue to tackle the problem of overcrowding by the dual strategy of encouraging the use of non-custodial sentences and prison building, which has proved successful to date. My right hon. and learned Friend has already announced his intention to place more emphasis on refurbishing existing prisons and, in particular, to speed up the provision of integral sanitation. At the same time, levels of regime activity are being improved, or where they are already good, sustained.

56. Mr. Maclennan

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department by what date he will end the practice of slopping out in Her Majesty's prisons.

Mr. Mellor

The Government are committed to providing access to sanitation in prisons. Already the majority of prison places have such access. We are looking at ways of providing access for three quarters of all places within the next few years, and of ensuring that the remaining places are provided with access as quickly as possible thereafter.