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Prisoners: Annual Cost per Adult Male

Lord Dholakia asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn): The Prison Service does not hold central information on the cost of housing prisoners by type of offence. However, the average annual cost of housing an adult male prisoner in 1997-98 ranged from £15,100 to £38,100 depending upon the category of prison establishment.

27 Apr 1999 : Column WA21

Life Sentence Prisoners: Release

Lord Dholakia asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they will implement the recommendations of the Prisons and Probation Inspectorates to reduce unnecessary delays in the release of life sentence prisoners.[HL1976]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The joint thematic report on "lifers" by the Inspectorates of Prisons and Probation has recommended that the Prison Service should ensure that it is possible for life sentenced prisoners to address their areas of concern and for suitable prisoners to be prepared for release within the timescale of their tariff (the punitive element of the life sentence). This objective is entirely shared by Ministers and the Prison Service, and the steering group which has been established to take forward the report's recommendations will be examining ways in which the objective can be met in more cases without jeopardising the safety of the public. The steering group has been tasked to complete its work by the end of December 1999.

Lord Dholakia asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will publish the number of life sentence prisoners for the past three years who were held in prison after their tariff dates for release.[HL1977]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: A life sentenced prisoner may be released after serving the punitive element of the sentence (the "tariff") only if he or she is considered no longer to present a potential risk to the public. Those who are judged to remain a risk at that point continue to be detained, sometimes for many years; but for those who are considered an acceptable risk, the aim is to ensure that they are released on or as close to tariff expiry as possible. The extent to which this has been achieved during the last three years is shown in the table.

Of those released during 1998-99, in addition to the 42 (41 per cent.) who were released within 12 months of tariff expiry, 24 (a further 23 per cent.) were released within two years of that point. The accelerated procedures for conducting Parole Board reviews announced by my right honourable friend the Home Secretary on 9 July 1998, Official Report, col. 149-50, will in due course enable prisoners in this category to be released 12 months earlier. The Prison Service is looking at other ways of allowing more lifers to be safely released on or shortly after tariff without jeopardising the safety of the public.

Release of Life Sentenced Prisoners in Relation to Tariff Expiry

Release in relation to tariff expiryNo. released: April 1996-- March 1997 No. released: April 1997-- March 1998No. released: April 1998-- March 1999
On tariff expiry2 (2%)1 (1%)0
Within 3 months10 (11%)3 (3%)15 (14.5 %)
Within 6 months9 (9%)5 (4%)12 (12%)
Within 12 months16 (17%)23 (21%)15 (14.5%)
Over 12 months58 (61%)77 (71%)61 (59%)
Total95109103


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Bridges Project

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How they evaluate the Bridges Project set up in Sheffield as a community alternative to secure training orders (STOs); whether it will be continued and repeated elsewhere; and, given that STOs are 100 per cent. Home Office funded, whether they propose to take any action to overcome the difficulty posed by the cost of community alternatives falling mainly on local authorities.[HL1924]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Bridges Project was a three-year community based project part funded by the Single Regeneration Budget and involving four local authorities in South Yorkshire in partnership with the National Children's Home Action for Children. It was aimed at 12 to 14 year-old persistent young offenders and the project was evaluated by Manchester Metropolitan University in October 1998. The project finished in March 1999.

The Government are in the process of a fundamental reform of the youth justice service in England and Wales, and are committed to ensuring that courts have a range of effective sentencing options--community based as well as custodial--for all juvenile offenders. The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 introduced new community-based court disposals to prevent or address youth offending and its causes. The Government recognise that local areas expected to deliver these new youth justice services may need extra resources. These were estimated in the November 1997 White Paper and in the Financial Memorandum to the Crime and Disorder Bill and these estimates are now being tested through pilots. Additional resources will then be reflected in the relevant local funding settlements.

Human Rights: Public Authorities and Compensation

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

    Whether they will undertake to compensate victims of breaches of convention rights by public authorities acting for the Crown during the period between the enactment of the Human Rights Act 1998 and its being brought into force by the Secretary of State: and, if not, why not.[HL1968]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Compensation is paid in accordance with our legal obligations. Claims for ex gratia payments are considered on their individual merits, taking into account Treasury guidance.

Channel Islands and Isle of Man: External Relations

Lord Wallace of Saltaire asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they are formally responsible for the external relations of the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.[HL2044]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Yes.

27 Apr 1999 : Column WA23

Channel Islands and Isle of Man and the EU

Lord Wallace of Saltaire asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether British passport holders resident in the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are defined as British nationals for European Union purposes; thus giving them free movement within the European Union.[HL2046]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: British passport holders resident in the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man have full British citizenship and right of abode in the United Kingdom. But they benefit from European Union provisions relating to the free movement of persons or services only if they have close ties with the United Kingdom; that is if they, a parent, or grandparent were born or naturalised in the United Kingdom or they have been ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom for a period of five years.

Gibraltar: European Parliament

Lord Wallace of Saltaire asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the recent ruling of the European Court of Human Rights on the right of British citizens in Gibraltar to vote in elections to the European Parliament is also applicable to British citizens in the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.[HL2049]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: I would refer the noble Lord to the Answer I gave him on 22 March, Official Report, col. 130.

Abnormal Load Movement

Lord Mason of Barnsley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why a wide load on 31 March was allowed to travel on the northbound carriageway of the M.1 between 3.30 pm and 5.30 pm; what police forces were involved in this wide load movement; at what cost; and what was the content of the wide load.[HL2017]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The timing of abnormal load movements is an operational matter for the individual chief officers of police of the forces concerned. I understand that this wide load travelled from South Mimms services (M.25) to Leicester Forrest services (M.1) on the afternoon of 31 March because, after taking account of the resources available to supply escorts and the prevailing traffic conditions, that was considered to be the most practicable timing. The police forces involved were Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Thames Valley, Northamptonshire and Leicestershire. The police made no charge for escorting the load. The load was a "Cold Box"--a part of a petroleum or petrochemical plant.

27 Apr 1999 : Column WA24

Lord Mason of Barnsley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What national guidelines are given to the police, local authorities, industry and commerce on the movements of wide loads on motorways during daylight and night-time; and[HL2029]

    Whether they will issue directives to all police forces in England and Wales that no wide loads must be moved on motorways between 11 pm and 6 am.[HL2030]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The timing of abnormal load movements is an operational matter for the chief officers of police of the forces concerned. The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) has issued guidance to forces which allows the night-time movement of abnormal loads only on motorways and linking dual carriageways. This is subject to individual chief officers of police being satisfied with the safety of such movements. ACPO policy is to allow and facilitate the movement of abnormal loads on motorways at all times.


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