HC Deb 26 June 1995 vol 262 cc492-3W
Mr. Cox

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will list the foreign language prison information packs which are available for prisons in England and Wales; how such information packs are obtained; and if prisons requiring such information packs are required to pay for them; [29539]

(2) if a list is kept in prisons of prison officers who are able to speak a foreign language and if he will make a statement; [59541]

(3) what funding has been made available to the foreign national liaison committee in prisons in England and Wales; [29538]

(4) what system exists in prisons in England and Wales to help foreign nationals who are held in custody on possible immigration offences and who do not wish to make contact with their high commission or embassy. [59542]

Mr. Michael Forsyth

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 Mr. Tom Cox, dated 26 June 1995: The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent Questions concerning foreign national prisoners' issues in the Prison Service. Two foreign language information packs are issued centrally by the Prison Service. These are the Foreign Prisoners' Resource Pack, which is available in 11 languages and the Prisoners' Information Pack, which is available in 14 languages. These are provided to prisons on request. Other foreign language information packs have been produced locally by some establishments and by other agencies, but details are not kept centrally. Some Prison Service establishments have produced local lists of staff who are able to speak other languages. However, these details are not held centrally and no single comprehensive list exists. The setting up of any committee to consider issues solely relating to foreign nationals, is a matter for individual establishments, as is any funding. To assist those held in custody on possible immigration offences, six Immigration Service advisory leaflets are provided for issue on reception to both foreign and Commonwealth nationals held under the Immigration Act 1971. These leaflets include information about help agencies and are available in a minimum of four languages, although one is available in 11 languages. Further assistance is available from designated prison and probation staff.