|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Miss Widdecombe: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the current prison population in England and Wales is; what the (a) maximum operational capacity and (b) certified normal accommodation is; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Boateng [holding answer 16 January 2001]: The prison population in England and Wales on 12 January 2001 was 62,386. On the same date, the total in-use certified normal accommodation was 63,285 and the total certified operational capacity was 70,883.
17 Jan 2001 : Column: 270W
Miss Widdecombe: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many incidents of suicide were recorded in prison establishments in England and Wales from April 2000 to date; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Boateng [holding answer 16 January 2001]: There have been 63 self-inflicted deaths in prisons since 1 April 2000 (including two this year). The Prison Service is reconsidering with Ministers its suicide/self-harm strategy and an announcement will be made in February.
Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department as what category of inmate people detained in prison for immigration irregularities will be held; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Boateng: Persons who are detained in prison by reason only of a recommendation for deportation are treated as unconvicted prisoners for the purpose of prison management and, like unconvicted prisoners, are categorised category U (unclassified).
Mr. Boateng: The Prison Service baseline funding includes provision to cover the cost of providing around 500 places for immigration detainees. For operational reasons, these are accommodated principally at Rochester and Lindholme prisons and Haslar holding centre, but local prison places are also used. There is no separately identified budget for this. The Prison Service has agreed to provide accommodation for up to a further 500 places until the end of 2001 from within existing capacity.
Mr. Boateng: There are currently seven prisoners at large having escaped from prisons since January 1998. The details can be found in the table. Information from previous years can be provided only at disproportionate cost.
17 Jan 2001 : Column: 271W
|Prison||Date of escape|
|Littlehey||30 December 1998|
|Wormwood Scrubs||31 January 1999|
|Littlehey||26 November 1999|
|Blantyre House||30 August 2000|
|Brinsford||29 December 2000|
|Downview||5 January 2001|
|Kirklevington||10 January 2001|
Mr. Fearn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what his estimate is of the net effect of his Department's recent grant to Merseyside police under the organised crime initiative on police numbers in the county. 
Mr. Charles Clarke: Merseyside police will receive £1,020,000 under the targeted policing initiative, part of the crime reduction programme, to buy technical equipment to confront and tackle criminal networks across the county. Merseyside police inform me that the money will improve the capability and resilience of existing internal structures and will bring benefits in terms of crime reduction.
Mr. Charles Clarke: Data are not collected centrally on ill-health retirements of officers on central service. However, I understand that one member of the south-east regional crime squad retired on grounds of ill-health between 1995 and 2000.
The south-east regional crime squad became part of the national crime squad (NCS) on 1 April 1998. Officers are seconded to NCS from their home force. NCS may return an officer to a force on medical grounds, but the decision on whether or not to retire on medical grounds lies solely with the home force.
17 Jan 2001 : Column: 272W
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many of those asylum seekers processed at the Oakington detention centre have been denied entry to the UK; and how many of those refused entry have been removed from the UK. 
Mrs. Roche: As at 5 January 2001, 2,572 asylum seekers whose cases have been processed at Oakington have had an initial decision refusing asylum and 343 have so far been removed from the United Kingdom.
|Week commencing||Number of vouchers issued|
|4 December 2000||273,831|
|11 December 2000||322,125|
|18 December 2000||345,186|
|25 December 2000||325,659|
Mr. Peter Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer of 10 January 2000, Official Report, column 573W, if he will list the prisons where (a) he and (b) the governors are aware of an obviously significant level of dealing in unlawful drugs; and if he will review the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 to provide a valid defence to (i) prison governors and (ii) others in a relevant management position against charges under section 8. 
Mr. Boateng: Covert activity such as drug trafficking is by nature very difficult to quantify. All prisons are required to have in place a robust and proportionate drug strategy to tackle both the supply and demand for drugs. Prisons act firmly whenever there is evidence of drug trafficking.
Section 8 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 makes it an offence for an occupier or person concerned in the management of any premises knowingly to permit certain activities to take place there, including the supply of a controlled drug.
The courts have made it clear that this means that those in a management position who are aware of drug dealing on their premises must take all reasonable steps to stop it. The decision on what is "reasonable" is for a jury to decide, in all the circumstances and taking into account the level of the defendant's knowledge of the drug dealing taking place and the steps available to him or her to stop it. I am satisfied therefore that the law already allows an appropriate and valid defence.
17 Jan 2001 : Column: 273W
Mr. Charles Clarke: The youngest person to be taken into custody by the Metropolitan police in the last 12 months because of suspected involvement in prostitution was 12 years of age. She was taken into protective custody and, in accordance with the joint Home Office and Department of Health guidance "Safeguarding Children Involved in Prostitution", a referral was made to the Social Services Department.
|Grendon and Spring Hill||1|
17 Jan 2001 : Column: 274W
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|