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Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Prison Service does not use the term "riot" as a definition of an incident. Under its incident reporting scheme, the only incident which could match this term would be that of active concerted indiscipline. Such an incident is defined as an incident in which two or more prisoners, acting together, use violence to disrupt the regime of an establishment. The associated costs of repairing damage and relocating prisoners are not available centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: We have no plans to amend this provision. Under paragraph 29 of Standing Order 5B, governors have the authority to stop prisoners from writing to a Post Office box. Prisons must be able to identify and check the recipients of prisoners' correspondence, particularly in the case of high risk prisoners and sex offenders.
While this provision will more often apply to individuals using PO box numbers, it may also be applied to organisations where the governor considers there to be a risk. Some organisations, for example, operate penpal schemes for prisoners to make contact with people on the outside. Such schemes may be susceptible to infiltration by sex offenders and paedophiles seeking to network and make contact with vulnerable people. These schemes therefore need to be thoroughly vetted. Where the organisations concerned are not able to do this, and the use of a box number precludes prisons from making appropriate checks on the recipients, a governor is within his or her rights to stop prisoners writing to the organisation.
However, in the case of legal practitioners and organisations, governors, in keeping with the principle that prisoners should have unfettered access to the legal process, should generally allow the use of a box number, although the number of legal practitioners and organisations which do this is likely to be very small.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: My right honourable friend the Home Secretary will announce his objectives, which identify his ministerial priorities for policing in 1999-2000, together with supporting Key Performance Indicators, tomorrow, 6 November. I will arrange for copies to be placed in the Library at 10 a.m. that morning.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: Until now, the asylum statistics have only been available in the Home Office's annual Asylum Statistics Bulletin and in a summary form twice a year in the Control of Immigration
Selected monthly information has, however, only been available on request from the Home Office Press Office. My right honourable friend the Home Secretary is therefore arranging for selected monthly bulletins to be issued on 25 of each month or the next working day, and to be also available through the Library and the Home Office Press Office.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: On 10 August 1998, the Director General of the Prison Service called a temporary halt to the Quantum Project and set up a thorough review which will take up to six months. In a message to Prison Service staff, he said: "It has become apparent that it may not be possible to achieve the original objectives of providing the service with improved information systems and business processes in a way which safeguards the vital operational capability of the service". These and other concerns will be addressed in the review process, which will reassess the way forward and consider a range of alternative options. The objective is to ensure that the project meets the needs of the Prison Service.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: We have today laid before Parliament the report of the interim review of the Boundary Commission for England, together with a draft Order in Council for giving effect, without modification, to the recommendations contained in the report.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: I am pleased to announce that Mr. John Rowe QC has accepted the invitation of my right honourable friend the Home Secretary to carry out the annual review of the Prevention of Terrorism
Lord Williams of Mostyn: There may be circumstances when asylum seekers would need to use false travel documents in order to leave their country. However, once they have left, there should normally be no legitimate reason for their seeking to deceive the immigration officer into believing that the document is valid. All asylum applications, including those made by illegal entrants, are considered on their merits in accordance with the criteria set out in the 1951 convention.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): I have today published, in conjunction with the Minister for Public Health, the Government's response to the HGAC report. In undertaking consideration of this issue, the Government have placed great importance on ensuring fairness of treatment for people seeking insurance cover. The response sets out a number of proposals which seek to build on the progress already made by the Association of British Insurers in developing industry-wide standards on underwriting and confidentiality. In line with the recommendations made in the HGAC report, the proposals include the establishment of an independent mechanism to evaluate the scientific and actuarial relevance of any genetic tests before they can be taken into account by insurers. Copies of the response have been placed in the Library.
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