To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the average resettlement grant made to prisoners released under the early releases scheme in Northern Ireland; who is responsible for distributing this money; what criteria are used in determining the levels of awards; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Ingram
Prisoners in Northern Ireland do not receive resettlement grants.
Every prisoner, however, including those released by decision of the independent Sentence Review Commissioners under the provisions of the Northern Ireland (Sentences) Act 1998, is entitled to a Discharge Grant paid and administered by the Northern Ireland Prison Service.
The Discharge Grant is intended to ensure that each discharged inmate has enough money for his immediate needs and the rates are calculated to reflect the rate of Income Support Benefit currently in payment by the Social Security Agency.
Current rates, uprated in April 1999, are as follows:
A Standard Grant is payable at the rate of £40.70 for inmates aged 18 to 24 years and £51.40 for inmates aged 25 years and upwards.
A Higher Grant is payable at the rate of £103.81 to any inmate who satisfies the prison authorities that he or she is effectively homeless on discharge. The higher amount takes into account the average costs of hostel or bed and breakfast accommodation in Northern Ireland.