HL Deb 25 February 1993 vol 543 cc19-20WA
The Marquess of Ailesbury

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Why prisoners in HM Prison Cookham Wood are given the choice of reading either tabloid newspapers or no newspaper at all; and whether prisoners in other prisons are given a greater choice.

Earl Ferrers

At Cookham Wood tabloid and broadsheet newspapers were provided until 1990 in keeping with the rules about the issue of newspapers. Following complaints from several prisoners, it was then decided that demand for broadsheet papers was so low that their regular provision was not justifiable. Those few prisoners who prefer a broadsheet paper are able to buy one with their own money. TheObserver is available on Sundays at public expense. The Governor will review the position in order to ensure that not only are the general preferences of prisoners met, but also to provide as full a range as practicable.

The supply of newspapers at public expense in prisons generally is provided for under Standing Order No. 4. Governors make arrangements to supply at least one newspaper for every 10 prisoners. In deciding which newspapers to provide, governors take into account the preference of prisoners, including those from ethnic minorities, and then provide as full a range of newspapers as possible.