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Temporary Licences

Mrs. Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many children aged 18 were released on temporary licence during 2001, broken down by the purpose of the licence. [49976]

Beverley Hughes: Information on the number of 18-year-old prisoners released on temporary licence in 2001 is shown in the table.



Mr. Stinchcombe: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much money the Government allocated to drugs rehabilitation programmes and services in each of the financial years from 1997 to 2001; and how much of the allocated sums were spent. [50627]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The information is not available in the form requested. Drug rehabilitation programmes form only part of a wider range of drug treatment interventions. During 1997–2001 they were funded through a number of mainstream community care funds from which it is impossible to ascertain exact amounts.

Since 2001, however, they have been financed through the (ring-fenced) pooled treatment budget together with some mainstream funds. In 2000–01 the Pooled Treatment budget amounted to £234 million. This expanded in 2001–02 to £328 million.

Human Rights

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what consideration he has made of the ECHR judgment in Edwards and Another v UK application No 46477/99. [48658]

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Beverley Hughes [holding answer 17 April 2002]: The European Court of Human Rights (the Court) found the United Kingdom in breach of Articles 2 and 13 of the European Convention on Human Rights in the case of Christopher Edwards who was murdered by his cell-mate, Richard Linford, in Chelmsford prison in November 1994.

The Court found breaches of Article 2 in respect of the circumstances of Mr. Edwards' death (the failure of various agencies to pass on information about Mr. Linford's mental health and the inadequate health screen given to Mr. Linford at the prison) and the failure to provide an effective investigation. They ruled that there had been a breach of Article 13 due to the lack of an effective remedy available to Christopher's family either through an effective investigation or the payment of compensation.

Mr. Edward's death was the subject of an independent investigation commissioned by the Prison Services and other agencies. The Court has not ordered a further investigation. Although it considered that there were defects, the investigation was regarded by the Court as having been thorough and useful. The Court found that the family were not eligible for compensation under United Kingdom civil law and awarded the sum of £20,000 plus costs (a further £20,000) by way of redress.

The Court recognised the changes that have taken place since Mr. Edwards's death. These include introduction of the Prison Escort Record completed before a prisoner enters a Prison Service establishment and improved health care screening. The system of investigating deaths in Prison Service custody is currently under review as part of the Service's new suicide prevention strategy.

Prison Service

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prison officers have been recruited and employed within the Prison Service during the last 12 months. [51147]

Beverley Hughes: 363 prison officers were recruited by the Prison Service during 2001–02. This figure excludes current staff who re-graded to prison officer during the year but includes staff beginning on the accelerated promotion scheme.

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many unpaid hours of time off in lieu of hours worked by prison officers at Wandsworth prison there are. [51146]

Beverley Hughes: The number of hours of time off in lieu (TOIL) owed to staff at Wandsworth prison is approximately 5,130 hours for 305 staff.

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many staff were employed in the Prison Service as (a) prison officers and (b) operational support grades in each of the last five years. [50814]

Beverley Hughes [holding answer 18 April 2002]: The information is contained in the table. Officer grades include; prison officers, senior officers and principal officers. Operational support grades (OSG) include prison auxiliaries and night patrols who are able to re-grade to prison officer grades.

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As at 31 MarchOfficer gradesOperational support grades

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what reviews of prison officer/staff ratios have taken place, and when, in the last 12 months. [51144]

Beverley Hughes: The Prison Service publishes the staff to prisoner ratios for unified staff on an annual basis. A partial review of prison officer staff to prisoner ratios was issued on 23 October 2001. A record of local reviews of prison officer staff ratios is not available centrally.

Prisoners (Drug Use)

Mr. Jon Owen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what assessment he has made of whether there is an incentive in prisons for prisoners to switch from using drugs that remain in the body for a long period to other substances; [51581]

Beverley Hughes: Mandatory drug testing (MDT) figures show that, overall, drug misuse in prisons has declined significantly over the past five years. The statistics suggest that much of this decline has been down to reductions in the use of cannabis, with opiate use static. Deterrence, supply reduction and treatment have been the key elements of the Prison Service's drug strategy and the decline in MDT rates gives evidence of its success.

Available research evidence does not support the assertion that prisoners have switched from cannabis to other drugs which can only be detected for a shorter period. The Prison Service is continuing to look at this issue. The Institute of Psychiatry and the Office for National Statistics are currently reviewing the MDT programme, including the issue of switching. Their findings are expected in May 2002.


Mr. Letwin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what parliamentary procedure would be required to change the controlled substance classification of cannabis. [51217]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth [holding answer 19 April 2002]: If a decision to change classification is taken an Order in Council is needed to change the classification, under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, of any controlled drug. Such an Order is subject to the draft affirmative resolution procedure. The draft Order has to be debated in each House, and approved, then submitted to a meeting of the Privy Council for approval and signature.

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Drug Treatment and Testing Orders

Mr. Hawkins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of drug treatment and testing orders have been breached since October 2000. [51473]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth [holding answer 22 April 2002]: The information is not available in the form requested. Between October 2000 and November 2001 information was only collected at national level on the number of applications for breach action which resulted in the Court ordering revocation of the order for unacceptable failure to comply. From November 2001 more comprehensive data is being collected to record all breach instigations.

Between October 2000 and February 2002, 1,519 Drugs Treatment and Testing Orders (DTTOs) have been revoked by the Courts for unacceptable failure to comply. This represents 27 per cent. of the 5,609 orders made during the period.

Drug Trafficking/Tobacco Smuggling

Mr. Hawkins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the maximum penalty is for offences of (a) trafficking of class C drugs and (b) tobacco smuggling. [51472]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth [holding answer 22 April 2002]: The maximum penalty for importing a Class C controlled drug is five years imprisonment; that for assisting an offence outside the United Kingdom is 14 years imprisonment; that for producing a Class C controlled drug is five years imprisonment. This is also the maximum penalty for supplying and possessing with intent to supply a Class C controlled drug. The maximum penalty for tobacco smuggling is seven years imprisonment.

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