HC Deb 07 May 1996 vol 277 cc80-1W
Mr. Gordon Prentice

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received from the chief inspector of prisons about the planned reductions in the prison service budget; and what action he has taken in response. [27858]

Miss Widdecombe

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

Letter from Brian Landers to Mr. Gordon Prentice, dated 7 May 1996:

The Home Secretary has asked me, in the absence of the Director General from the office, to reply to your recent Question about representations from the Chief Inspector of Prisons about the planned reductions in the Prison Service budget; and what action has been taken in response.

There are regular contacts between the Chief Inspector, Home Office Ministers and the Prison Service on a wide range of issues, including cost reduction, which affect the Service as a whole and individual prison establishments. The Director General has told Sir David Ramsbotham that he has advised governors of the importance of maintaining the balance between essential security and control measures, constructive and effective regimes for prisoners and providing support for staff. The emphasis is on reducing costs and not reducing the amount of purposeful activity for prisoners; and resources should continue to be given to those programmes which help prisoners to address their offending behaviour.