HC Deb 14 December 1993 vol 234 cc528-9W
Lady Olga Maitland

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what consideration he has given to establishing projects for prisoners' work to justify a competitive wage of a nature to enable them to contribute to the costs of their keep, their families and victim support;

(2) what plans there are to review paid work undertaken by prisoners in gaol.

Mr. Peter Lloyd

Responsibility for these matters has been delegated to the Director General of the Prison Service, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter from Derek Lewis to Lady Olga Maitland, dated 14 December 1993: The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent Questions about paid work undertaken by prisoners in jail. A high priority for the Prison Service is to ensure that prisoners participate in active and demanding regimes centred on work, training and education. Improvements in the quantity, quality, productivity and realism of work form an important part of the Service's plans. Prisoners are paid for engaging productively in work and other activities. This includes participation in education and training programmes, manufacturing goods in prison workshops and duties directly contributing to the running of an establishment such as cleaning and working in prison kitchens. To extend the range and quality of work available pilot schemes are in progress where prisoners are paid closer to market rates. The wider introduction of higher rates of pay for prisoners as suggested in the White Paper "Custody, Care and Justice, the Way Ahead for the Prison Service in England and Wales' is under consideration. It may be possible in the longer term to increase pay for productive work more generally. If so payments would be made from increased wages towards accommodation and maintenance costs in prison, compulsory compensation payments to victims and maintenance payments for family and dependents outside. Currently the Secretary of State has a legal obligation to meet the costs of imprisonment for all prisoners.

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