HC Deb 05 May 2004 vol 420 cc1547-50W
Mrs. Gillan

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many life sentence prisoners were(a) in Category C conditions and (b) in open conditions on (i) 31 March and (ii) 31 March in each of the last five years. [168026]

Paul Goggins

The number of life sentence prisoners held in(a) Category C prisons and (b) Open prisons on 31 March 2004 and in each of the last five years is given in the table.

Population of lifers in Category C and open prisons, 31 March
Category C Open
1999 767 314
2000 782 354
2001 870 304
2002 884 375
2003 966 397
2004 1,014 400

Mrs. Gillan

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prisoners are expected to be released from custody(a)on home detention curfew, (b) on parole and (c) at the end of their sentence in each of the next 12 months. [168029]

Paul Goggins

Estimated figures for the number of prisoners expected to be released from custody on(a) home detention curfew (HOC), (b) on parole, and (c) at the end of their sentence, are not available. The numbers released on parole and HDC depend on the size and make-up of the prison population, general policy and individual decisions on early release.

The number of prisoners released from custody on HDC, recommended for parole, and the total number of discharges in 2002 can be found in tables 10.7, 10.1 and 3.13, 4.11 and 5.8 respectively of the publication 'Prison Statistics England and Wales 2002'. A copy of this publication is available in the Library.

Mr. Maude

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many and what percentage of prisoners were assessed for basic literacy and numeracy in 2003–04; and what the rates were for each of the last 10 years. [169093]

Paul Goggins

All establishments provide an induction programme, screening and initial assessment of each offender's basic skills.

We are able to provide figures from 2001, but do not hold data for the past 10 years.

Prisoners' basic skills assessments
2001–02 114,831
2002–03 118,800
2003–04 123,941

The number of sentenced prisoners received into prisons for the same period (not including recalls, non-criminals or fine defaulters) is:

2001–02 91,978
2002–03 94,807
2003–04 192,247
1Final year figures yet to be confirmed

Information is not collected and held centrally for each individual prisoner. Accordingly it is not possible to express these figures as a proportion of annual throughput. Assessment figures would also include non-sentenced prisoners.

Mr. Maude

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prisoners aged(a) under 18, (b) 18 to 25, (c) 26 to 35, (d) 36–60 and (e) over 60 years were released to no fixed abode in each of the last 10 years. [169137]

Paul Goggins

The available information, from large-scale resettlement surveys of sentenced prisoners nearing release conducted in November-December 2001 and March-April 2003, is contained in the following table. Comparable information for preceding years is not available.

Proportion of prisoners without accommodation arranged on

release, by prisoner type

Resettlement survey 2001 Percentage


Male young offenders (aged 18–20) 23 10
Adult males (aged 21 or over) 34 30
Females 41 38
Total 33 29

Mr. Maude

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many(a) suicides, (b) attempted suicides and (c) incidents of self-harm by serving prisoners there were in each of the last 10 years. [169089]

Paul Goggins

The numbers of self-inflicted deaths and numbers of incidents of self-harm in prisons in England and Wales are provided in the following table:

Calendar year Number of self-inflicted deaths Number of incidents of self-harm (not available pre -1998
1994 61
1995 59
1996 64
1997 68
1998 84 3,207
1999 91 3,721
2000 81 5,227
2001 73 7,486
2002 95 9,745
2003 94 116,223
1In December 2002, a new form for reporting self-harm was introduced across the prisons estate, which is known to have improved reporting practices. Please note therefore that much of the increase in reported self-harm in 2003 may have resulted from the change in reporting procedures rather than reflect an actual increase in incidence of self-harm.

Suicidal intent is not easy to establish. The reasons why people self-injure are highly complex, and it is difficult to distinguish between acts of self-harm that were attempts at ending life, and those which occurred for other reasons. It is not possible, therefore, for the Prison Service to extrapolate from the data recording incidents of self-harm those acts that may have been attempts at suicide.

Central to the suicide prevention strategy that I announced on 31 March is the need to reduce the level of distress in prisons and to promote the well being of all staff and prisoners. The strategy has strong support from partner agencies and external organisations, and is being developed in close partnership with the Department of Health. The Prison Service has also been developing a separate but related self-harm management strategy.

Charles Hendry

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of the prison population has been diagnosed as suffering from dyslexia. [169132]

Paul Goggins

Past research suggests that the proportion of prisoners suffering from dyslexia could range from four to over 17 per cent. The new prison dyslexia project, currently under way in Yorkshire and Humberside, is designed to provide an authoritative answer to the quest ion of the incidence of dyslexia and related learning disabilities among the prison population. A full report is expected at the end of the summer.

All establishments provide screening and initial assessment for prisoners. Potential dyslexia indicators can be identified through them. New diagnostic assessments for prisoners, to be administered after initial assessment by a specialist teacher, will offer guidance on when to refer learners for a full dyslexia assessment with an educational psychologist or other appropriately trained person.

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