§ Mr. Martyn Jones
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the rules which govern the earnings of prisoners in United Kingdom prisons and the discretion given to individual prison governors. 
§ Miss Widdecombe
Responsibility for this matter in so far as it relates to England and Wales has been delegated to the Director General of the Prison Service, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given. The rules234W
§ Miss Widdecombe
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 Richard Tilt to Mr. George Howarth, dated 13 November 1996:The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent Question about the numbers of prisoners tested for drugs, the number of prisons testing and the number of prisoners testing positive for each drug type since March 1996.The attached table sets out the numbers tested and the numbers testing positive for each drug under all forms of Drug Strategy testing. These comprise the random, on suspicion, risk assessment, frequent testing and on reception types of mandatory drug test, and voluntary testing. Since forms of targeted testing of drug misusers are included in these figures and because multiple drug positives from a single sample have all been counted, these figures indicate higher levels of drug misuse than those for random mandatory drug testing previously published in Hansard. Since the end of March this year all prison establishments have been testing for drugs.
governing the earnings of prisoners in Scotland are a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland.
Letter from Richard Tilt to Mr. Martyn Jones, dated 13 November 1996:The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent Question about the rules which govern the earnings of prisoners within the United Kingdom. The rules governing prisoners' earnings in Scotland are a matter for the Secretary of State for Scotland, so this reply only relates to England and Wales.235WUnder Rule 28(6) of the prison Rules 1964 (as amended) relating to England and Wales, prisoners may be paid for their work at rates approved by the Secretary of State, either generally or in relation to particular cases. The present Prison Service pay scheme for prisoners, introduced in 1992, is designed to encourage prisoners to engage in purposeful activity (work, education or other purposeful activity); to allow governors flexibility to use pay to meet their local priorities; and to ensure a reasonable degree of uniformity in rates of pay for similar work in different establishments.Under the scheme prisoners willing to engage in purposeful activity but who cannot be offered a place receive a wage sufficient to meet their basic needs (the basic rate). Prisoners who engage in purposeful activity and perform to an acceptable level of quality and effort receive a higher wage designed to meet their reasonable needs and to provide a real incentive to engage in such activity (the employed rate). These two rates of pay are set nationally, and currently stand at £2.50 and £4 per week respectively.In addition, governors may set rates of pay above these amounts for prisoners engaged in purposeful activity to acceptable levels of quality and effort measured against targets made known to each prisoner in advance.Within these parameters, governors will establish a standard working week for each activity according to the needs of the establishment; and they may establish differentials between activities in recognition of regime priorities, the regular working of long hours, environmental conditions, and any other factors which in the governor's view merit financial recognition. Governors therefore calculate their budgets for prisoner pay on the basis on an average of £7 per week (£8 per week in dispersal prisons).Some prisons are able to operate schemes under which prisoners may earn higher amounts for higher productivity. Such schemes must be self-financing. Average earnings under the schemes currently running is about £15 per week, although a few prisoners have been able to boost their earnings to £30 in some weeks.The Prisoners' Earnings Act 1996, which receive Royal Assent in July, provides a framework by which governors can make deductions from the wages of a prisoner earning enhanced wages in a prison operating the enhanced wages scheme. This allows for payments to be made in respect of a prisoner's own maintenance and accommodation, to support their dependants, towards organisations involved with victims and crime prevention and towards savings against release. It is intended that the Act will be implemented in spring next year.