§ Miss Widdecombe
[holding answer 30 April 1996]: Responsibility 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 A. J. Pearson to Mr. Roger Berry dated 7 May 1996:
The Home Secretary has asked me to reply, in the absence of the Director General from the office, to your recent Question about prison governors and prison officers convicted of criminal offences.
Centrally held figures relate to the period since 1990. The figures set out in the table below relate to convictions over the period March 1990 to March 1996.
Staff currently serving Indecent assault Other crimes against the person Other offences Prison governors 1 0 1 Prison officers 0 14 108
The Prison Service takes the conviction of any of its staff for any criminal offence very seriously and can take action under its own code of conduct and discipline. Where a member of staff is found guilty of a serious offence, the normal outcome would be dismissal from the Service. Lesser offences may also, depending on the circumstances, result in dismissal or may result in other penalties such as written warnings, loss of promotion opportunities or pay.
In the cases listed, the 'other crimes against the person' are all cases of actual bodily harm. These offences largely relate to domestic disputes. 'Other offences' include first time drink/driving convictions, speeding, fishing without a licence, letting a dog worry sheep etc.