HC Deb 17 May 1994 vol 243 cc405-7W
Sir David Steel

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what changes are proposed to the composition of prison visiting committees; which individuals and organisations were consulted before such changes were proposed; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Lang

[holding answer 16 May 1994]: Under The Prison (Scotland) Rules 1952, as amended, appointments to prison visiting committees are made by every local authority in whose area prisoners might have their homes. As a result some committees are extremely large—the Barlinnie visiting committee for example has 35 members —and members have to travel long distances. As currently drafted, under the new Prisons and Young Offenders Institutions (Scotland) Rules only those local authorities within which the prisons lie would appoint members to visiting committees. The position would then be as set out in table 1.

In the new draft rules it is also proposed that half the membership of visiting committees should come from outwith the elected membership of the appointing authorities. It would therefore be open to the latter to appoint whoever they considered appropriate. These proposals were the subject of consultation last September, when views were sought from the organisations and individuals listed in table 2.

No firm view has yet been taken on the final shape of the new rules. We are considering carefully the representations made during the formal consultation process. Thereafter the new rules will be laid before this House.

Name of prison and Names of appointing authorities Numbers of members to be appointed
Grampian Regional Council 3
City of Aberdeen District Council 5
Barlinnie, Glasgow
Strathclyde Regional Council 10
City of Glasgow District Council 15
Cornton Vale, Stirling
Central Regional Council 4
Stirling District Council 5
Name of prison and Names of appointing authorities Numbers of members to be appointed
Dumfries and Galloway Regional Council 3
Nithsdale District Council 5
Strathclyde Regional Council 3
East Kilbride District Council 5
Lothian Regional Council 5
City of Edinburgh District Council 12
Tayside Regional Council 3
Perth and Kinross District Council 5
Central Regional Council 4
Clackmannan District Council 10
Strathclyde Regional Council 3
Inverclyde District Council 5
Highland Regional Council 3
Inverness District Council 5
Strathclyde Regional Council 5
Monklands District Council 3
Low Moss
Strathclyde Regional Council 4
Strathkelvin District Council 6
Tayside Regional Council 3
Angus District Council 5
Dumfries and Galloway Regional Council 3
Wigtown District Council 5
Tayside Regional Council 3
Perth and Kinross District Council 5
Grampian Regional Council 3
Banff and Buchan District Council 5
Name of prison and Names of appointing authorities Numbers of members to be appointed
Strathclyde Regional Council 5
Motherwell District Council 12

List of Consultees

  • Advisory Committee on Prisoners' Management
  • Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland
  • Association of Directors of Social Work
  • The Association of Visiting Committees for Scottish Penal Establishments
  • Church and Nation Committee, Church of Scotland
  • Citizens Advice, Scotland
  • Consultative Committee on Clinical Psychology in Penal Establishments in Scotland
  • Convention of Scottish Local Authorities
  • Crown Agents
  • Faculty of Advocates
  • The Gateway Exchange
  • The Institute of Professionals, Manager and Specialists
  • HM Chief Inspector of Prisons
  • Home Office
  • The Howard League for Penal Reform
  • The Howard League (Scotland)
  • The Joint Prison Chaplaincies Board
  • The Law Society for Scotland
  • Local Review Committees
  • National Union of Civil and Public Servants: Governors' Committee Northern Ireland Office
  • Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration
  • Parole Board for Scotland
  • The Principal Clerk of Sessions and Justiciary
  • Prison Reform Trust
  • Scottish Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders
  • Scottish Association for the Study of Delinquency
  • Scottish Committee of the Council on Tribunals
  • Scottish Council for Civil Liberties
  • Scottish Legal Action Group
  • Scottish Parliamentary All Party Penal Affairs Group
  • Scottish Prison Officers' Association
  • Scottish Prison Service Trade Union Side
  • The Scottish Prison Social Workers
  • Sheriffs Association
  • Sheriffs Principal
  • University of Dundee Department of Law
  • University of Edinburgh Department of Criminology
  • University of Edinburgh Department of Social Policy
  • Visiting Committee Chairmen
  • Women's National Commission