HC Deb 19 February 1992 vol 204 c160W
Mrs. Wise

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what research he has done on the effects of mixing unconvicted and convicted prisoners; and what information he has on the practice of other countries on this matter;

(2) what representations he has had objecting to the proposed mixing of unconvicted and convicted prisoners in Preston and other prisons; and if he will make a statement.

Mrs. Rumbold

My hon. Friend the Member for South Ribble (Mr. Atkins) has drawn to my attention the viewsn expressed by the secretary of the Preston branch of the Prison Officers Association. These views have also been expressed by the branch at their meetings with management to discuss plans to increase the use of accommodation in the prison.

The prison rules 1964 provide that unconvicted prisoners should be kept out of contact with convicted prisoners as far as this can reasonably be done, and provided that the policy should not require a prisoner to be deprived unduly of the society of other prisoners. Most local prisons in England and Wales sensibly operate a degree of mixing to enable them to accommodate the inmates remanded or committed to custody by the courts in their catchment areas. This makes obvious sense, particularly where it avoids the need to hold prisoners in police cells, which are entirely unsuitable for the purpose. In some local prisons the regime for those on remand is improved by mixing with those who are convicted.

As regards practice in other countries, I understand that in a large number the separation of the convicted from the unconvicted is not regarded as obligatory.