§ Lord Brougham and Vaux
asked Her Majesty's Government:
What steps are being taken to improve implementation of the Prison Service's race relations policies.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Earl Ferrers):
The Prison Service is committed to the elimination of racial discrimination in all aspects of its work. This is clearly set out in the service's public policy statement, which emphasises the need to treat all prisoners fairly and without discrimination.
In order to help ensure effective implementation of these policies, we are launching this week a race relations manual for use at all establishments. A copy is being placed in the Library.
The manual explains the service's race relations policies in detail, and their implications for the various areas of prison life. It gives practical advice on how to implement the policies, and enables establishments to "audit" their current performance. All establishments will be required to carry out the audit process, to draw up action plans to ensure that the policies are being implemented and to develop new initiatives and ideas.
The manual will be used primarily by each establishment's race relations management team, which reports to the governor. Governors and their area managers will maintain an oversight of progress. However, the manual emphasises the responsibilities of all staff to help to implement the service's policies. The manual will be available to all staff and prisoners.
Briefings for governing governors are taking place this week and will be introduced by the Director General of the Prison Service. Training sessions have already been held for representatives from race relations management teams. The Prison Service will also be introducing shortly a pack for use by establishments in delivering local race relations training and a pocketbook for staff.
We believe that these initiatives represent a major step forward in ensuring the elimination of discrimination in prisons. They demonstrate the determination of the Prison Service to ensure that all prisoners are treated fairly, with humanity and with respect.