§ Lord Hanningfield
asked Her Majesty's Government:
How many prisoners either convicted, on bail or on remand, have access to secretarial support or have been provided with a personal laptop, and at what cost. [HL1489]
§ Baroness Scotland of Asthal
The information cannot be provided except at disproportionate cost. No central records are held of the numbers of prisoners who are currently given secretarial support or issued with laptops, except for those issued with laptops for access to justice. Each prison governor has the discretion to allow prisoners access to information technology or secretarial support on application, which must be considered on a case-by-case basis, taking into account need, benefits, relevant local security and resource management issues, to ensure that sufficient controls are in place.
However, 79 prisoners currently have access to a laptop in possession in-cell to assist with their legal defences, appeals or other legal work. The total cost for providing this facility for 2004–05 was about £60,000.