HC Deb 11 December 2002 vol 396 cc368-9W
Mr. Stinchcombe

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the impact of the measures contained in the Queen's Speech on prison occupation in England and Wales. [83714]

Hilary Benn

The Queen's Speech outlined a commitment to reform the criminal justice system to deliver justice for all and to safeguard the interests of victims, witnesses and communities, and the Criminal Justice Bill which was laid before the House on 21 November.

I have already announced that the Review of Correctional Services is addressing a wide range of questions regarding the effectiveness and value for money delivered by the correctional services and developing a strategy for managing the prison population. The impact of the proposals contained in the Queen's Speech are being considered in the context of the Review.

We have not made final decisions about the implementation of the sentencing reforms in the Criminal Justice Bill but, on the basis of the modelling which has been done of the impact of the sentencing reforms, we do not expect them to generate significant increases in the prison population. The sentencing reforms should result in a small reduction in places in 2004 and 2005 followed by a modest increase of up to 1,000 places thereafter.