HC Deb 11 April 2002 vol 383 cc560-1W
Mr. Hancock

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on overcrowding in prisons. [42893]

Beverley Hughes

At the end of February 2002, a total of 13,963 prisoners were held in overcrowded conditions. This is 20 per cent. of the prisoner population.

Most overcrowding is attributable to the numbers held two in a cell designed for one, commonly known as doubling. Within the total overcrowding figure above, 12,516 prisoners were held doubled. The average rate of doubling for the current year to the end of February is 17 per cent. which remains below the Key Performance Indicator (KPI) target for 2001–02 18 per cent or less.

Data are provisional and subject to validation by prisons.

Mr. Sheerman

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps are being taken to address overcrowding in women's prisons. [43536]

Beverley Hughes

The female prison population on 15 March 2002 was 4,229. This was 146 below the total certified operational capacity of 4,375 for the same day. The Government sets no target for the prison population as it is for the courts to determine who is sent to prison. The Government will provide the places necessary to accommodate safely and securely those sentenced by the courts. New prison capacity is opening this year for female prisoners. Buckley Hall, a 350 place prison near Rochdale, will change function shortly from male to female use. Female capacity will increase by 80 places later this year when two ready use units are opened at Morton Hall in Lincolnshire. A further 810 places will be provided by 2004, in new prisons at Ashford (near Heathrow) and at Peterborough.

Mr. Sheerman

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what aftercare is made available to women prisoners with mental health problems after they have been released. [43558]

Jacqui Smith

The Care Programme Approach (CPA), which is intended to address the health and social care needs of individual service users, applies to those women with mental health problems who leave prison in the same way that it applies to other mental health service users. It is intended to deliver care through a care plan to meet the individual needs of the service user, and is an effective co-ordination process. Most women prisoners with a serious mental illness should leave prison on enhanced CPA.

Women prisoners with mental health problems should be able to access a full range of the community supports they need in order to promote their recovery and integration back into society through their CPA care co-ordinator or general practitioner. This should include housing, education, employment and leisure and the establishment of appropriate links with the benefits agency and probation service.

Mr. Sheerman

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what ratio of prison officers to inmates is provided for(a) female and (b) male prisoners. [43539]

Beverley Hughes

On 31 January 2002, the ratio of prison officer grades to prisoner was——within public sector prisons:

  • 1:2.54——female prisoners;
  • 1:2.73——male prisoners,
within privately managed prisons:
  • 1:2.18——male prisoners only.

The definition of prison officer grades differs within the public and private sector. On 31 January 2002, no privately managed prison accommodated female prisoners.

Mr. Stinchcombe

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if they Pay Review Board's recommendations for pay increases for prison offices will be met in full. [44420]

Beverley Hughes

I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave my hon. Friend (Huw Edwards) on 21 March 2002,Official Report, column 480W.

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