asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether there is any financial assistance available to meet the travel expenses incurred by close relatives visiting inmates in prisons and young offenders' institutions; if so, what amount was expended for this purpose in the latest year for which figures are available; and in relation to how many people. [HL347]
§ Baroness Scotland of Asthal
Assistance to help meet the travel expenses of prisoners' close relatives and partners when visiting a prison or young offenders' institution in England and Wales is available through the HM Prison Service, Assisted Prison Visits Scheme. Help may also be available to the prisoner's only regular visitor. To qualify for assistance the visitor must meet the criteria on relationship and income as set out in the rules.
In 2003–04 expenditure on grants to qualifying visitors, including direct costs such as bank charges, was £1,822,499. The number of individuals who claimed assistance is not collated centrally. However, the total number of visits assisted was 61,318.