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Raves

Gillian Merron: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will amend the definition of raves under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 to give police more powers to prevent and stop such events by (a) lowering the requisite number of attendees and (b) including events under cover. [52290]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: We are currently considering the effectiveness of the current legislation (Section 63 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994) on raves.

Animal Experimentation

Mr. Lloyd: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress has been made in the establishment of a Royal Commission into animal experimentation; and if he will make a statement. [51666]

Angela Eagle [holding answer 25 April 2002]: I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave the hon. Member for Perth (Annabelle Ewing) on 25 March 2002, Official Report, column 599W.

Belmarsh Prison

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the procedure is for vetting visitors to remand prisoners held in the special secure unit

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at HMP Belmarsh; what the target is for number of days required to process a prisoner application; how many applications have been processed since October 2001; how many applications are still pending; how many days each completed application took to process; and how many and what proportion of applications have been rejected. [52466]

Beverley Hughes: The facility at Belmarsh is designated as a High Secure Unit. Any person wishing to have an open visit with a category A prisoner, irrespective of whether that prisoner (convicted or on remand) is located in the Unit or elsewhere at Belmarsh, is required to submit to the prison an application form and two passport sized photographs of themselves. A security check is then undertaken, generally by the relevant police authority. Once those checks are complete, a decision on whether to allow the applicant to have open visits is then made.

The 33 prisoners currently located in the High Secure Unit have made a total of 196 applications for visitors to be made 'approved visitors' and receive open visits. Of this number 72 visitors have been cleared for open visits, 16 are currently receiving discretionary closed visits and 108 are awaiting clearance.

Applications from the prisoner for a person to become an approved visitor are normally processed within 24 hours of receipt by the issue of the appropriate form for the visitor to complete. Returned forms from the visitor are normally processed within 48 hours of receipt and passed to the relevant police authority. Upon completion of police checks, a final decision is then taken by the prison, normally within 48 hours. Time taken for visitors to return application forms and for the police to complete appropriate checks is beyond the control of the prison.

Information on each separate application could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what arrangements have been made for the maintenance of family relationships of (a) convicted and (b) remand prisoners held in the special secure unit at HMP Belmarsh; how many (i) hours for family visits and (ii) minutes for telephone contact each prisoner has been permitted in each of the last four weeks for which figures are available; and what restrictions were put on (A) the visit and the visitors and (B) the phone call and recipient of phone calls. [52465]

Beverley Hughes: The facility at Belmarsh is designated as a High Secure Unit (HSU). All prisoners in the unit can arrange visits as set out in the guidelines of Standing Order 5 and subject to those visitors being on the Approved Visitors Scheme. Convicted prisoners receive two visiting orders per month, plus a further visiting order should they be on the enhanced level of the incentive and earned privileges (IEP) scheme. Those prisoners held on remand receive two visiting orders per week, plus a further visiting order should they be on the enhanced level of the IEP Scheme.

All visits are up to a maximum of two hours in length. During Monday to Friday visits are available either in the morning or afternoon. At weekends, visits are available in the afternoon only. For the present number of prisoners in

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the HSU there are available each week 48 sessions of two hours duration. That availability could be increased to 72 sessions per week in the event of extra demand.

All prisoners in the HSU are able to use the telephone subject to the recipient of the call being an approved visitor or in the process of becoming an approved visitor.

The computer managed telephone system allows for the duration of calls to be no more than 15 minutes. However, there is no limit to the number of calls any prisoner may make during the association period. Each prisoner may have a maximum amount of credit in his telephone account of £60 on which to spend on calls, except for those classed as foreign nationals, where no maximum limit exists.

Telephone calls may be made in any association period or, on application, if the timing of association is not convenient for either the family or legal advisers. During the last week of March and the first three weeks of April 2002 approximately 42 hours of facility time during which to make use of the telephone system.

Details of individual prisoner use of visits and the telephone can be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what education and training facilities are available for (a) remand and (b) convicted prisoners held in the special secure unit at HMP Belmarsh; how many hours in each of the last four weeks for which figures are available each prisoner has been able to use these facilities; and what was the average hours per day for which figures are available in the last month that prisoners were locked in their cells. [52464]

Beverley Hughes: The facility at Belmarsh is designated as a High Secure Unit. All prisoners (whether on remand or convicted) may apply to the education department for assistance and advice on educational matters. Work is undertaken on a self study basis, although there are no vocational training courses. A basic skills analysis has also been undertaken to identify the individual needs of prisoners which also took into account the fact that a number were foreign nationals. Prisoners have access to computer facilities, which may be used whenever they are unlocked and on association.

The regime of the unit varies daily, but the average number of hours a prisoner may be locked up in any period of 24 hours is 17.5 hours.

Details of facilities available on an individual prisoner basis can be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prisoners are held in each special secure unit, stating (a) the number of prisoners held on remand and the nature of crimes for which convicted prisoners were sentenced, (b) the national origin or citizenship of the prisoners, (c) the religion of the prisoner, (d) their special category status, (e) how long the prisoner has been housed in a special secure unit and (f) on what date each prisoner was last examined medically. [52461]

Beverley Hughes: Currently there is only one special secure unit (SSU) in operation which is located at Whitemoor prison. The eight prisoners in the SSU have all been convicted by the courts. Their nationality is

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British (five), Turkish (two) and Brazilian (one). Three of those held in the SSU have been convicted of murder with the other five having been convicted of drug related charges.

The declared religion is Church of England (three); Muslim (two), Roman Catholic (one). The remaining two prisoners decline to state their religion. All those held in the SSU are Category A 'Exceptional Risk' prisoners.

The periods of time the prisoners have been held in the SSU is as follows: 0–6 months (four); six-12 months one; 12–18 months (0), 18–24 months (two) and over two years (one).

Every prisoner in the SSU is medically examined on a quarterly basis. The last occasion each was examined were on 1 March 2002 (one), 6 March 2002 (six) and 14 March 2002 (one). Every prisoner is, of course, able to consult a doctor or nurse when required.

Prison Pay Review Body

Mr. Rooney: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the recommendations of the Prison Pay Review Body are; and when they will be implemented. [52944]

Beverley Hughes [holding answer 26 April 2002]: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave my hon. Friend (Huw Edwards) on 21 March 2002, Official Report, column 480W.

PRIME MINISTER

Visit (North Down)

Q17. Lady Hermon: To ask the Prime Minister if he plans to visit North Down in 2002. [51714]

The Prime Minister: I have no immediate plans to do so.

Engagements

Sir Peter Tapsell: To ask the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for Wednesday 1 May. [51707]

The Prime Minister: This morning I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in the House, I shall be having further such meetings later today.


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