§ Mr. Kidney
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what instructions he has given to the Prison Service to ensure that wherever possible convicted prisoners should serve their sentences in prisons within reasonable travelling distance of close relatives. 
§ Ms Joyce Quin
Prison Rule 31 provides that special attention should be paid to the maintenance of such relationships between a prisoner and his family as are desirable in the best interests of both. Circular Instruction 7/1988, a copy of which is available in the Library, sets out the principles governing the allocation of convicted adult male prisoners. Similar instructions exist for women and males under 21 years of age. The needs of the individual prisoner, including the facilitating of visits, is one of four priorities governing allocation.
Wherever possible, prisoners are located close to their home and family. However, security is the primary consideration in a prisoner's allocation and account must also be taken of the need to maintain good order and control and, particularly because of the current population pressures, the need to make best use of the estate.