HC Deb 18 December 2001 vol 377 c239W
Mr. Blunt

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the annual budget for the Assisted Prison Visits Unit in respect of visits to(a) British nationals and (b) foreign nationals; and under which vote the funds are provided. [22815]

Beverley Hughes

The assisted prison visits scheme for England and Wales exists to help prisoners maintain contact with their close family. To qualify for assistance the visitor must be in receipt of a low income or one of a number of benefits as set out in the rules of the scheme. Visitors who meet the qualifying criteria are eligible for assistance without regard to the nationality of the prisoner whom they wish to visit. The scheme provides financial assistance to meet the cost of visiting prisoners who are held in prisons in England and Wales but there are reciprocal arrangements in place with the prison services in Scotland, Northern Ireland, and the Channel Islands.

The opening budget for the assisted prison visits scheme for 2001–02 is £2.6 million. These funds are provided under Home Office Request for Resources 2 (RfR2): Protecting the public by holding prisoners in decent conditions and reducing re-offending after release.