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Open Prisons

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much was spent in recapturing prisoners who absconded from open prisons in each of the last four years; and if he will make a statement. [147635]

Mr. Boateng: This information can be provided only at disproportionate cost.


Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many arrests have been made in each of the last 10 years of people for criminal damage by graffiti spraying. [147592]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The information requested is not collected centrally.

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Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many official graffiti sites there are in England and Wales. [147591]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The allocation of sites which can be used for graffiti with permission is a matter for local authorities. Information on the number of such sites is not collected.


Mr. Khabra: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he is taking to limit the activities of British citizens who receive training in sabotage in the United Kingdom and engage in terrorist activities abroad. [147792]

Mr. Straw: The Government are determined that this country should not be used as a base for supporting terrorism in any way, including terrorism in other countries. Under the Criminal Justice (Terrorism and Conspiracy) Act 1998, it is already an offence to conspire in this country to commit terrorist acts anywhere overseas. In addition, the Terrorism Act 2000, which is due to come into force shortly, includes provisions, applicable throughout the United Kingdom, which make it an offence to provide weapons training for terrorist purposes, and to recruit for such training. This Act also provides powers to proscribe terrorist organisations, under the conditions specified. The investigation of any alleged criminal activity is, of course, a matter for the police.

Female Prisoners

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress has been made with research into the age limit for children remaining with mothers serving terms of imprisonment; what the membership of the working group conducting the research is; what the size of the sample used in the research is; what methods are being employed; and when he expects to publish the results. [147468]

Mr. Boateng: A pilot study is to be set up which will assess the benefits and drawbacks of children remaining in prison with their mothers beyond the current age limit of 18 months. The anticipated start date of the pilot is 1 June 2001. The Steering Group is chaired jointly by the Head of Prison Service Women's Policy Group and the Operational Manager for Women's Prisons. It includes members from the four prison Mother and Baby Units, Social Services, Social Services Inspectorate, Association of Chief Officers of Probation, Prison Service Health Policy Unit and a number of experts on child health care, including a child psychologist and a child psychiatrist. The Steering Group will decide on the size of the sample, the method of evaluation and the length of the pilot. The results of the pilot will be published on completion.

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of women sentenced to immediate imprisonment have no previous convictions; and if he will give a breakdown of the type of offences (a) such women and (b) all women sentenced to imprisonment have committed in the latest year for which figures are available. [147467]

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Mr. Boateng: Provisional information shows that in December 2000 there were 628 women in the prison population of England and Wales that had been sentenced to immediate imprisonment.

Information on the number of women in prison in England and Wales, and which types of crimes they have committed is given in the table. This information is also published in successive volumes of "Prison Statistics England and Wales" (chapter one of the 1999 edition, Cm 4805), copies of which are in the Library.

Number of women received into prisons throughout England and Wales in 2000 broken down by offence type and custody

Offence groupSentenced women received under immediate custodyAll sentenced imprisoned women
Violence against the person94345
Frauds and forgery6092
Theft and handling119316
Drug offences208956
Sex offences923
Offence not recorded3648
Other offences53158

Departmental Policies (Slough)

Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will set out, with statistical information relating as directly as possible to the Slough constituency, the effects on Slough of his Department's policies and actions since 2 May 1997. [146927]

Mr. Straw: The Home Office is working to build a safe, just and tolerant society in which the rights and responsibilities of individuals, families and communities are properly balanced, and the protection and security of the public are maintained. Detailed information on the impact of Home Office policies across the full range of responsibilities is set out in Home Office Annual Reports. A copy of the most recent report, "Home Office Annual Report 1999-2000", is available in the Library.

The impact of Home Office policies and actions is not normally examined by constituency and the statistics which the Department collects cannot be matched in the way requested, although set out are examples relating to Slough constituency.

Under the Crime Reduction Programme the following amounts have been awarded to Slough:

The project is part of the Crime Reduction Programme Round 2 burglary initiatives. It is based in the Stoke and Farnham wards in Slough. The area is one of the most deprived in Slough with high unemployment, poor facilities and relatively high crime rates. The wards have a young population and high proportions of minority ethnic groups (Farnham 34 per cent. and Stoke 42 per cent.).

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The project has a lot of partnership working between the police and other agencies and is based around the following interventions.

Slough is part of the Thames Valley Police bid for arrest referral. Thames Valley police were awarded £624,278 from March 2000 to March 2002 of which £188,750 is being allocated to a scheme in Slough. This award is to fund an arrest referral worker and contributing to the treatment of those referred by the scheme. Slough has one custody suite with one arrest referral worker. Thames Valley police are matching the Home Office funding. There is also a contribution from Slough Council.

Slough already had a successful arrest referral scheme in existence from November 1999. This was a partnership arrangement between SMART (Substance Misuse Arrest Referral Team), Thames Valley police and Slough Council--an arrangement that continues with Joint Funding Initiative. SMART Criminal Justice services is a registered charity specialising in working with drug related offenders at various points of the criminal justice process. It was set up in 1996 in direct response to the Government's drugs strategy--"Tackling Drugs to Build a better Britain".

More generally, all of the policies of the Home Office will impact on the residents of Slough to a greater or lesser extent. For example:

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