HC Deb 03 March 2000 vol 345 cc443-4W
Mr. Cox

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department who has the responsibility for the provision of foreign language newspapers or books for non-English speaking prison inmates held in prisons in England and Wales; and if he will make a statement. [111985]

Mr. Boateng

Foreign language materials are provided in prison establishments through the local public library authority, in accordance with 'Guidelines for Prison Libraries (1997)' which details the standards under which prison libraries should operate. Each establishment has a local public authority librarian working to a joint service level agreement.

Governors of prisons in England and Wales will make arrangements to supply at least one newspaper for every ten prisoners, to be purchased out of prison funds They should provide as full a range of newspapers as possible, taking into account the preferences of those prisoners from ethnic minority groups. This is underpinned by the Prison Service race relations policy, which highlights the importance of prisons being aware of the needs of foreign prisoners and the materials that can be obtained to meet their needs. Subject to security considerations, prisoners are also allowed to receive newspapers, periodicals, magazines or books of their choice.