§ Miss Emma Nicholson
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the practicability of developing HM prison Dartmoor as a community prison, or as a national resource for prisoners with special needs; and if he will make a statement about the future of the prison.
§ Mr. Peter Lloyd
Dartmoor is too large to become a community prison in the way HM chief inspector of prisons has recommended. However, as the only category B prison in the south-west of England, it fulfils the needs of those prisoners from that part of the country requiring that level of security. The sex offender unit provides a national resource as an integral part of the recent initiative concerned with such prisoners. It incorporates both the assessment and treatment of sex offenders and will continue to develop as part of the national programme.
Major refurbishment is under way at a cost of £25 million and substantial efforts are being made to develop a positive regime for inmates, an example of which is the new intensive therapy unit.
It is the Government's intention that Dartmoor will continue to provide secure accommodation for category B prisoners in the region.