§ Mr. George Howarth
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what would be the cost of replacing all the locks in each of the privately operated prisons; 
(2) if he will make a statement on the security grounds on which the Prison Service may withhold payment to privately operated prisons on the basis of unsatisfactory performance. 
§ Miss Widdecombe
Responsibility for these matters has been delegated to the Director General of the Prison Service, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.128W
Letter from A. J. Pearson to Mr. George Howarth, dated 11 March 1997:
The Home Secretary has asked me, in the absence of the Director General from the office, to reply to your recent Questions about security at privately operated prisons.
We have a commercial contract for the supply of locks for all prisons, including the existing privately operated prisons. The cost of relocking establishments will vary according to the size of the prison and the class of locks. Typical costs will be in the range of between £40,000 and £64,000.
Payments may be withheld from contractors at privately operated prisons for failure to deliver contracted performance; this may include failure to meet required security standards.