§ Mr. Burstow
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many children aged 15 years or below are currently being held in prison. 
§ Mr. George Howarth
Provisional information shows that there were 203 persons aged 15 years in Prison Service establishments in England and Wales on 30 September 1998.
On that date, there were also 44 young people held under a secure training order—a sentence for persistent offenders aged 12–14 years on conviction—who serve the custodial part of their sentence in a secure training centre or in local authority secure accommodation but not in Prison Service establishments.
Other persons aged under 15 years are remanded to local authority accommodation. Information about these is published in a Department of Health publication entitled "Children accommodated in secure units" (reference A/F 97/21). This information is presented on a financial year basis, with the last report covering the year ending 31 March 1997.