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Lord Ironside asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Baroness Cumberlege: The information requested is not available centrally.

Housing Benefit: Payment in Arrears

Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What saving they are expecting (a) in the first year, and (b) on a recurring basis from their decision to pay housing benefit in arrears.

The Minister of State, Department of Social Security (Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish): Housing benefit will be paid in arrears from 7th October 1996 in respect of new claims from private sector tenants and claimants who move into private sector accommodation on or after that date. These changes are expected to yield £105/120/75 million in the years beginning April 1996, 1997 and 1998 respectively. In the longer term, recurring savings are estimated at £25 million a year at current benefit levels.

The Prison Ombudsman

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    From where the powers of the Prison Ombudsman derive.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Blatch): The Prison Ombudsman's powers derive from the non statutory terms of reference which are determined by the Home Secretary.

Prison Service Female Establishment Policy

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, in making any decisions on the Prison Service, they will consider the implications for the female establishment.

Baroness Blatch: Responsibility for this matter has been delegated to the Director General of the Prison Service, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter to Lord Avebury from the Director General of the Prison Service, Mr. Richard Tilt, dated 25th April 1996:

Lady Blatch has asked me to reply to your recent Question asking whether, in making any decisions on the Prison Service, they will consider the implications for female establishments.

The Prison Service is committed to equality of opportunity and to treating all prisoners fairly. However, the service also has a duty to recognise the particular needs of prisoners, including women. Accordingly,

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while there is a presumption that policies should apply equally to both male and female prisoners, criteria introduced in January 1996 require that the following factors should be taken into account when devising new policies;


    whether there is objective evidence for applying the policy differentially to female prisoners


    what is the cost of applying the policy to female prisoners


    what are the practical difficulties of applying the policy


    and whether it is fair to apply the policy to women.

Holloway Prison

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why filth and squalor of outside areas was allowed to become a serious health hazard at Holloway prison.

Baroness Blatch: Responsibility for this matter has been delegated to the Director General of the Prison Service, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter to Lord Avebury from the Director General of the Prison Service, Mr. Richard Tilt, dated 25th April 1996.

Lady Blatch has asked me to reply to your recent Question about the conditions of outside areas at Holloway prison.

This situation occurred because of rising staff sickness levels and staff being required to undertake an increased number of escorts to outside hospitals as well as implementing additional security measures introduced as a result of recommendations contained in the Woodcock Report.

These demands diverted staff from other duties and resulted in a reduction in the supervision of cleaning parties. The recent increase of staff means a full cleaning programme is now underway.

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why the problem of rats and vermin at Holloway was allowed to get out of hand.

Baroness Blatch: Responsibility for this matter has been delegated to the Director General of the Prison Service, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter to Lord Avebury from the Director General of the Prison Service, Mr. Richard Tilt, dated 25th April 1996.

Lady Blatch has asked me to reply to your recent Question about the problem of vermin at Holloway prison.

The problem arose because the original pest control contract did not provide an adequate service. Additional measures have now been taken and the problem has, as a result, been significantly reduced.

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Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have yet found alternative accommodation for Category A prisoners in Holloway prison.

Baroness Blatch: Responsibility for this matter has been delegated to the Director General of the Prison Service, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter to Lord Avebury from the Director General of the Prison Service, Mr. Richard Tilt, dated 25th April 1996.

Lady Blatch has asked me to reply to your recent Question about the provision of alternative accommodation for Category A prisoners at Holloway prison.

We are in the process of reviewing which establishments should take Category A prisoners in future. We have not yet made any decision in relation to Holloway and we will continue to use Holloway for Category A prisoners as the need arises at least until the outcome of the review is known.

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they are committed to maintaining a full regime for women at Holloway, designed to keep them usefully occupied and to prepare them for release into the community.

Baroness Blatch: Responsibility for this matter has been delegated to the Director General of the Prison Service, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter to Lord Avebury from the Director General of the Prison Service, Mr. Richard Tilt, dated 25th April 1996.

Lady Blatch has asked me to reply to your recent Question about the regime at Holloway prison.

The Prison Service is committed to maintaining a regime at Holloway that is designed to keep prisoners usefully occupied and to prepare them, as far as is possible, for release into the community.

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have yet found alternative accommodation for young offenders aged 15, 16 and 17 who were placed in Holloway.

Baroness Blatch: Responsibility for this matter has been delegated to the Director General of the Prison Service, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter to Lord Avebury from the Director General of the Prison Service, Mr. Richard Tilt, dated 25th April 1996.

Lady Blatch has asked me to reply to your recent Question asking whether alternative accommodation for young offenders aged 15, 16 and 17 who were placed in Holloway has yet been found.

Section 63(4) of the Criminal Justice Act 1991 makes provision for young offenders to be held at a prison or remand centre. Sentenced female young offenders aged

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15, 16 and 17 years of age may therefore legally be accommodated at Holloway. These prisoners are given priority and allocated as speedily as possible to an appropriate young offender institution. This is normally Bullwood Hall in Essex.

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the maximum number of prisoners they will allow to be accommodated in Holloway prison.

Baroness Blatch: Responsibility for this matter has been delegated to the Director General of the Prison Service, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter to Lord Avebury from the Director General of the Prison Service, Mr. Richard Tilt, dated 25th April 1996.

Lady Blatch has asked me to reply to your recent Question about the number of prisoners allowed to be accommodated in Holloway prison.

The operational capacity at Holloway is 532.

Mandatory Penalties: Deterrent Effect

Lord Windlesham asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will give the factual and statistical basis for the assumption in chapter 13.4 of the White Paper Protecting the Public: The Government's Strategy on Crime in England and Wales (Cm 3190) that the deterrent effect of the sentencing proposals on those who will become liable to mandatory penalties (i.e. offenders who have one qualifying conviction for serious violent or sex offences, or two qualifying convictions for trafficking in Class A drugs or domestic burglary) will reduce the requirement for prison places by 20 per cent.

Baroness Blatch: There is research evidence that both the certainty of imprisonment and the severity of the prison sentence have a deterrent effect on offending. Recent studies include Beyleveld (1980), Lewis (1986) and Burnett (1992). Exactly what the deterrent effect will be is a matter of judgement. But targeted measures of this sort have not been tried elsewhere and the Government believe that a strong deterrent effect of the order of 20 per cent. can be expected in relation to offenders who would on reoffending be liable to a mandatory penalty. No allowance has been made for the deterrent effect the proposals may have on other offenders (such as first time burglars).


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