HL Deb 23 February 1998 vol 586 cc72-3WA
Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What steps they are taking to ensure that First Step Agencies within the prison system are observing the Prison Service's guidelines, in the light of the shackling of a 30 year-old pregnant woman from Brockhill Prison, Worcestershire, to a radiator at Leek Magistrates' Court. [HL594]

Lord Williams of Mostyn

The decision to secure the prisoner concerned to the radiator at the court stemmed from the lack of secure custody facilities there, but it was still wrong. The Prison Service and the escort contractor involved, Premier Prison Services, regret what happened. Premier's staff otherwise looked after the prisoner well while she was in their custody and the company has an excellent record of prisoner care generally.

All escort contractors have been reminded in writing that prisoners should not be secured to fixed objects. In addition, the Prison Service will be reviewing with contractors their operational procedures to see whether, in the light of this case and the inadequate facilities at many courts, any further changes are necessary.