§ Dr. Godman
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to put into practice the proposals contained in the report on health in the special secure units at Full Sutton, Whitemoor and Belmarsh prisons; and if he will make a statement. 290W
§ Miss Widdecombe
[holding answer 26 February 1997]: 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 Dr. Norman A. Godman, dated 27 February, 1997:The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent Question about the implementation of the proposals contained in the report on health in the special secure units at Full Sutton, Whitemoor and Belmarsh prions.Sir Donald Acheson's review of the possible effects on the health of prisoners of the regime in the special secure units contained nine recommendations. Eight of these recommendations endorsed existing policy or have since been implemented through amendments to the SSU Operating Standards.We cannot accept the recommendation that prisoners in SSUs should have access to open visits with members of their immediate families. The recommendation was qualified by the assertion that it should be possible for the Prison Service to devise a system of open visits which prevented the passage of unauthorised items. The policy of closed visits was introduced in 1995 precisely because it represented—after analysis of the options and taking into account humanitarian concerns—the only guaranteed means of preventing the passage of such items.