HC Deb 24 May 1994 vol 244 cc101-2W
Ms Ruddock

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received regarding the distribution of condoms in prisons in order to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Peter Lloyd

[holding answer 23 May 1994]: Responsibilty for this matter 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 Ms Joan Ruddock, dated 24 May 1994: The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent Question about representations concerning the distribution of condoms in prisons in order to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS. The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs recommended in their 1993 report on AIDS and drug misuse that condoms be made available to prisoners in order to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS. The Prison Service Health Advisory Committee has now also recommended that condoms be made available for use by prisoners in England and Wales in its comments on the 1992–93 report of the Prison Service Director of Health Care. In addition, the Prison Service is considering a report from the Prison Service AIDS Advisory Committee on HIV in Prisons in which recommendations were made about condoms and cleaning materials. Procedural guidelines issued to prison governors in November 1991 advised that the period leading up to release is an important time for educational measures and for individual counselling of HIV infected prisoners and others with lifestyles which suggest that they themselves may be at risk or that they may be a risk to other people. The guidelines also recommended that governors introduce schemes under which all prisoners released—and perhaps those going on home leave—have discrete access to a small supply of free condoms. The Prison Service is reviewing HIV/AIDS policy generally, including the policy on the issue of condoms.