HC Deb 23 January 1997 vol 288 c737W
Mr. Porter

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make it his policy to reduce the amount provided for facilities, fixtures and fittings in the budget plans for the top security unit at Woodhill prison, Milton Keynes and implement a regime of minimal facilities; and if he will make a statement. [11189]

Miss Widdecombe

[holding answer 21 January 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 Mr. David Porter, dated 23 January 1997: The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent Question about facilities at Woodhill prison. The costs identified to refurbish the high security unit at Woodhill have been properly quantified to meet the needs of security, the regime and safety of the public, staff and prisoners. The costing exercise has not identified any areas where savings could be made without compromising security and safety. The cells in the high security units at Woodhill prison will have integral sanitation, as does every other cell at Woodhill. The rules on volumetric control will apply as elsewhere and there will be no in-cell television or video. Furniture in the cells will be standard prison issue and association areas will have standard furnishing and equipment. Meals will be provided from the kitchen and there will be no facility for prisoners to cook their own meals. The high security units at Woodhill will form part of a co-ordinated series of close supervision units each holding a small number of prisoners with varying regimes ranging from the strict through to more structured regimes. When they are ready for use they will provide:

  • a structured regime unit with limited association where the behaviour of prisoners can be assessed
  • a restricted regime unit with a strict, no association regime for prisoners who continue to be disruptive or dangerous
  • a programme intervention unit offering structured therapy programmes and full association for those who would benefit from such an approach.
It is anticipated that the high security unit at Woodhill will be ready for use at the end of this year.

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