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2 Dec 2002 : Column 603Wcontinued
Hilary Benn: Self-reported reoffending rates are not currently measured. However reconviction rates for persons released from prison are published annually as National Statistics. Two year reconviction rates for persons released from prison in 200102 will not be available until 200405.
Mr. Stinchcombe: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the interim results are from the evaluation, under the Crime Reduction Programme, of the resettlement pathfinder projects which run from January 2000 until April; and what plans he has for further investment in support for work with discharged prisoners. 
Hilary Benn: An initial application for advice on the work piloted by resettlement pathfinders has already been submitted to the Correctional Services Accreditation Panel (formerly the Joint Accreditation Panel). The response from the panel was encouraging but indicated that further developmental work was required specifically in relation to young adult offenders, women and minority ethnic offenders. To allow for this further work to proceed the three current resettlement pathfinders (Parc, Hull and Lewes) have been extended and are scheduled to run to at least the autumn of 2003.
The core programme (For-A-Change) has now been piloted with a young adult offender group and plans are being developed to establish a new pathfinder project to be delivered to short-term female prisoners. The programme material is to be reviewed to ensure that it addresses the specific needs of minority ethnic offenders and those with low levels of literacy.
To ensure that this work adequately reflects recent national reports on resettlement published by the Social Exclusion Unit (SEU) and jointly by the probation and prisons inspectorates, a joint prison/probation service project board has been established. This board will focus on the needs of short-term prisoners (those serving less than 12 months).
The Criminal Justice Bill, published last week, includes proposed legislation for the introduction of 'custody plus'. The experience gained through the delivery of the current resettlement pathfinders will be used to inform planning undertaken by the National Probation Service and the prison services for the introduction of this new sentence.
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Mr. Hunter : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) sex offender orders, (b) disqualification orders and (c) restraining orders are in place, and what assessment his Department has made of their effectiveness. 
Paper 155 in the Police Research Series, published in the summer of 2002: XThe Police Perspective on Sex Offender Orders: A preliminary review of policy and practice" showed that the police found sex offender orders to be a useful tool and that orders were perceived to be a practical mechanism for a multi-agency approach to the management of high-risk sex offenders.
The Police Reform Act 2002 contained a number of changes to improve the effectiveness and flexibility of sex offender orders. This included the introduction of interim sex offender orders. Interim orders will enable arrangements to be put in place to protect the public before a decision on a full order has been taken by the Court. The changes will be implemented on 2 December and we have issued new guidance to the police and courts on using sex offender orders. Additionally, on 19 November we published our proposals for further legislation in this area in the Command Paper, XProtecting the Public." In relation to sex offenders, these proposals include:
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the (a) main categories of offence for women prisoners and (b) re-offending rates for drug offences among women prisoners were in each of the last five years. 
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|Offence group||Total||Untried||Convicted unsentenced||Sentenced||Non-criminal|
|Violence against the person||4,318||561||191||557||9|
|Theft and handling||4,587||1,350||1,715||1,522|||
|Fraud and forgery||678||162||117||399|||
|Offences not recorded||997||241||255||501|||
Re-offending rates are not normally measured as they rely on the self-reporting of offending by offenders. Such an approach can lead to questions over the reliability of data based on individuals' recollection and willingness to impart their offending behaviour to an official source.
|Year of discharge||Number of females discharged after serving a sentence for a standard list drugs offence||Percentage reconvicted within two years for any standard list offence|
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many women are in prison; and of these, how many (a) are on remand, (b) are from black and ethnic minority groups and (c) have no previous convictions. 
Information on the sentenced prison population held on 30 June 2000 has been analysed by the number of standard list offences for which a prisoner had received a conviction. On that date, 32 per cent. of females held in prison in England and Wales were known to have no previous convictions prior to the sentence which resulted in imprisonment. In addition, criminal histories for a further 11 per cent. of females could not be located on the Home Office Offenders Index.
36. Vernon Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent discussions he has had with the Lord Chancellor about his plans for the bailing of persistent young offenders. 
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Hilary Benn: Home Office Ministers frequently discuss criminal justice matters with the Lord Chancellor and other Government colleagues. We decided this year to implement extended secure remand powers in respect of 1216 year olds who repeatedly commit imprisonable offences while on bail or remand, together with bail tagging for juveniles. We have also funded an expansion of the Intensive Supervision and Surveillance Programme. Together these changes give the courts much more choice where persistent young offenders are facing trial.
Hilary Benn: The information requested is in the tables. Table 1 covers the 79 self-inflicted juvenile and young offender deaths between 1997 and 20 November 2002. Table 2 covers the number of recorded incidents of self-harm by juveniles and young offenders between 1998 and 30 June 2002, data on self-harm in this format not having been available before 1998.
|Juveniles (1517 years)||Young Offenders (1820 years)||Total under 21 years (juveniles and young offenders)|
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|Juveniles (1517 years)||Young offenders (1820 years)||Total under-21 years (juveniles and young Offenders)|
The Prison Service, with the support of the Youth Justice Board, is currently developing a suicide and self-harm prevention strategy. This is being taken forward progressively through a three year programme, which commenced in April 2001. Efforts are being targeted where the risks are highest within a broad preventative approach. The prisoners most at riskin local prisons, on remand, in the early weeks and months of custodywill be better identified and cared for by better trained and supported staff. We aim to encourage a supportive culture in prisons based on good staff-prisoner relationships, a constructive regime and a physically safe environment. Six pilot prisons will act as the test bed for the full range of new safer custody policies and standards, and will be independently evaluated to determine which elements should subsequently be rolled out to the wider prison estate.
Hilary Benn: 4.2 per cent. of all young people (aged 1017 inclusive) in Staffordshire were convicted or dealt with by police reprimand or warning in 2001. The proportion for England as a whole was 3.2 per cent.
Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what research has been evaluated by his Department on the most appropriate method of deterrent to prevent young offenders from re-offending. 
Statistics published in June this year for offenders dealt with in July 2000, showed a 14.6 per cent. reduction in reconviction rates compared with 1997. Independent evaluation reports have been published: on Youth Offending Teams, the introduction of the Referral Order, reconvictions after Final Warnings, and Parenting programmes. The YJB expects shortly to publish further evaluation reports on cognitive behaviour, mentoring, drugs and alcohol, education, training and employment, prevention, and interventions in support of final warnings.
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