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Written Question
Prisons: Violence
9 Apr 2021

Questioner: Lord Browne of Belmont

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to address the level of violence in prisons.

Answer (Lord Wolfson of Tredegar)

Despite the progress made, the level of violence in prisons remains too high. We are continuing work to address this by giving all staff the tools and training needed to help them reduce violence.

We are spending £100 million across the estate to bolster prison security, clamping down on the weapons, drugs and mobile phones that fuel violence and crime behind bars.

We have developed the Challenge, Support and Intervention Plan (CSIP), which is the national case management model for managing those who pose a raised risk of being violent and is being used in all prisons.

We are rolling out PAVA, a synthetic pepper spray, in the adult male estate to protect staff and prisoners from incidents where there is serious violence, or an imminent or perceived risk of serious violence. Alongside this will be the introduction of a new Personal Safety package; (S.P.E.A.R.) to ensure that PAVA is introduced as part of a wider package of skills for staff to resolve and deescalate incidents.

We continue to support the effective use of the 6,000 Body Worn Video Cameras across the estate, whilst continuing to embed the training provided to staff to promote rehabilitative conversations. This provides staff with skills and equipment to deal with challenging situations in a fair and just way. The cameras will also provide high-quality evidence to support prosecutions.

Any prisoner who commits an act of violence should expect to have action taken against them, including an adjudication, which could downgrade their incentives and earned privileges level, or further time added to their sentence.


Written Question
Prisoners
9 Apr 2021

Questioner: Lord Bradley

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many people are currently in prison serving a determinate sentence of 20 years or more; and of these how many (1) have never been released, or (2) have been recalled.

Answer (Lord Wolfson of Tredegar)

The total number of people currently in custody serving a determinate sentence of 20 years or more who have never been released is 1,276. There are a further 27 people in custody serving a determinate sentence of 20 years or more, having been recalled from the community.

These figures have been drawn from administrative IT systems which, as with any large-scale recording system, are subject to possible errors with data entry and processing.

The power to recall is a vital public protection measure and all individuals on licensed supervision in the community are liable to recall to prison if they fail to comply with the conditions of their licence in such a way as to indicate that their risk has escalated to the point where they may no longer be safely managed in the community.


Written Question
Prisoners: Mental Health
8 Apr 2021

Questioner: Lord Patten

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the mental health of the prisoners serving an imprisonment for public protection sentence who continue to be detained 10 years or more beyond their tariff.

Answer (Lord Wolfson of Tredegar)

The Government recognises that those serving indeterminate sentences (life and imprisonment for public protection (IPP)) face particular challenges in maintaining their emotional wellbeing, especially during the restrictions imposed on account of the COVID pandemic. The guidance and training produced by HM Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) directs the attention of prison staff to the needs of indeterminate sentence prisoners. HMPPS allocates a key worker to all such prisoners and also makes available to them peer supporters such as Samaritans-trained Listeners.

The unreleased IPP prisoner population is continuing to reduce, year on year; it stood at 1,849 on 31 December 2020, down from 2,134 on 31 December 2019. The majority of IPP prisoners continue to have a high chance of a positive outcome from Parole Board hearings. In 2019/20 72% of Parole Board hearings resulted in either a recommendation for a progressive transfer to an open prison or release.

The Government’s primary responsibility is to protect the public; however, HMPPS remains committed to supporting prisoners serving an IPP to reduce their risk to the level where the Parole Board determines that they may be supervised effectively on licence in the community.


Written Question
Prisoners: Ethnic Groups
8 Apr 2021

Questioner: Lord Bradley

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many people are currently in prison serving a determinate sentence of 20 years or more, categorised by ethnicity.

Answer (Lord Wolfson of Tredegar)

The information requested is shown in the tables below.

I can also confirm that sentencing is a matter for the independent judiciary based on the facts of each case.

Prisoners serving a determinate sentence of 20 years or more, by ethnicity, as at 31 December 2020, in England and Wales.

All

1,276

Asian / Asian British

150

Black / African / Caribbean / Black British

194

Mixed / Multiple ethnic groups

36

Other ethnic group

17

White

874

Not stated

5


Written Question
Prison Sentences
8 Apr 2021

Questioner: Lord Bradley

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many people were sentenced to custody for 20 years or more, who were not subject to a life sentence, in each of the last 10 years.

Answer (Lord Wolfson of Tredegar)

Figures covering the period 2009 to 2019 for the number of individuals sentenced to custody for 20 years or more who were not subject to a life sentence can be found in the table below.

Number of individuals sentenced to custody at all courts, 2009 to 2019(1)(2)

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

Total sentenced to custody

100,231

101,513

106,170

98,044

92,966

91,313

90,348

89,862

86,354

78,876

75,971

Less than 20 years

98,778

100,073

104,907

96,848

92,491

90,807

89,888

89,376

85,874

78,291

75,391

20 years or more and less than life

31

37

49

37

71

64

91

79

118

153

124

Imprisonment for Public Protection(3)

1,001

1,019

819

747

9

-

-

-

-

-

-

Life sentence

421

384

395

412

395

442

369

407

362

432

456

Source: MoJ court proceedings database

Notes

1. The figures given in the table relate to defendants for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences it is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe.

2. Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.

3. Sentences of imprisonment for public protection were introduced by the Criminal Justice Act 2003, and abolished by the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012.


Written Question
Crime: Victims
8 Apr 2021

Questioner: Lord Hay of Ballyore

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of mental health and wellbeing provision for victims of crime.

Answer (Lord Wolfson of Tredegar)

This Government is committed to supporting the mental health and wellbeing of the public, including victims of crime, and to ensuring that the right support is in place to help victims cope and recover both within and beyond the pandemic.

In recognition of the impact of Covid-19 on the wellbeing of victims, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) established the Victim and Witness Silver Command Group in March 2020 in order to identify and assess developing risks and issues that may have an impact on victims of crime, including their mental health support needs. This group continues to meet on a fortnightly basis and its comprehensive membership consists of representatives from across government including representatives from the Department for Health and Social Care and NHS England, criminal justice agencies, external stakeholders, and the third sector.

In 2021-22, we will provide just under £151m for victim and witness support services, including an extra £51m to increase support for rape and domestic abuse victims, building on the emergency funding from this financial year to help domestic abuse and sexual violence services meet increased levels of demand.

Additionally, on 23rd November 2020 the Government published 'Staying Mentally Well: Winter Plan 2020 – 21' which includes a commitment, backed by £50 million, to boost capacity and support good-quality discharge for mental health service users from inpatient settings. We have also announced that in 2021/22 the NHS will receive around an additional £500 million to address waiting times for mental health services, give more people the mental health support they need, and invest in the NHS workforce. We are absolutely committed to our ambitions in the NHS Long Term Plan to expand and transform mental health services in England and to investing an additional £2.3 billion a year in mental health services by 2023/24.


Written Question
Prisoners' Release
7 Apr 2021

Questioner: Lord Bradley

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many people were released from prison in the last year that figures are available while serving (1) a life sentence, or (2) an imprisonment for public protection sentence, having spent at least 10 years in custody; and of these, how many have subsequently been recalled to custody.

Answer (Lord Wolfson of Tredegar)

The total number of releases and subsequent recalls in the last year that figures are available is provided as follows, broken down by (1) determinate sentences of 20 or more years, (2) prisoners serving life sentences who have been in custody for 10 or more years, and (3) prisoners serving imprisonment for public protection (IPP) sentences who have been in custody for 10 years or more.

Sentence Type

Total released between 1 Oct 2019 and 30 Sept 2020

Total recalled since release

Determinate – 20+ years

33

4

Life (10+ years in custody)

326

24

IPP (10+ years in custody)

210

51

These figures have been drawn from the Public Protection Unit Database held by Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service. As with any large-scale recording systems, the figures are subject to possible errors with data migration and processing.

Offenders on licence in the community will be recalled to custody where they breach their licence conditions in such a way as to indicate that their risk has increased to the level where it may no longer be managed effectively in the community, even by the imposition of additional licence conditions and other controls. Recall is a vital measure to protect the public from those who are assessed as likely to commit further offences causing serious harm if they were to remain in the community.

Our primary responsibility is to protect the public. HMPPS remains committed to supporting all offenders recalled to custody to reduce their risk, so that the independent Parole Board (or, in the case of some determinate sentence offenders, the Secretary of State using executive powers) may direct their re-release as soon as it is safe to do so.


Written Question
Prisoners' Release
7 Apr 2021

Questioner: Lord Bradley

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many people were released from prison while serving a determinate sentence of 20 years or more in the last year that figures are available; and of these, how many have subsequently been recalled to custody.

Answer (Lord Wolfson of Tredegar)

The total number of releases and subsequent recalls in the last year that figures are available is provided as follows, broken down by (1) determinate sentences of 20 or more years, (2) prisoners serving life sentences who have been in custody for 10 or more years, and (3) prisoners serving imprisonment for public protection (IPP) sentences who have been in custody for 10 years or more.

Sentence Type

Total released between 1 Oct 2019 and 30 Sept 2020

Total recalled since release

Determinate – 20+ years

33

4

Life (10+ years in custody)

326

24

IPP (10+ years in custody)

210

51

These figures have been drawn from the Public Protection Unit Database held by Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service. As with any large-scale recording systems, the figures are subject to possible errors with data migration and processing.

Offenders on licence in the community will be recalled to custody where they breach their licence conditions in such a way as to indicate that their risk has increased to the level where it may no longer be managed effectively in the community, even by the imposition of additional licence conditions and other controls. Recall is a vital measure to protect the public from those who are assessed as likely to commit further offences causing serious harm if they were to remain in the community.

Our primary responsibility is to protect the public. HMPPS remains committed to supporting all offenders recalled to custody to reduce their risk, so that the independent Parole Board (or, in the case of some determinate sentence offenders, the Secretary of State using executive powers) may direct their re-release as soon as it is safe to do so.


Written Question
Courts: Coronavirus
7 Apr 2021

Questioner: Lord Taylor of Warwick

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to reduce delays to court cases arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Answer (Lord Wolfson of Tredegar)

We are keenly aware of the need to improve timeliness for both defendants and victims, and mitigate the impact of delays on victims and witnesses. Judges have been prioritising the most serious cases throughout the pandemic, including those involving vulnerable victims and witnesses as well as those with defendants nearing custody time limits.

We will continue to do more, and the recovery of our courts to full operational capacity is our highest priority in order to reduce waiting times within the justice system. The steps taken so far – to adjust court rooms to hold Covid-secure trials, to open more court rooms, and to move to virtual hearings where possible – have helped. Crown Court disposals increased from June 2020 and were higher than pre-Covid levels for the first two weeks of 2021. The increase has slowed slightly, with disposals throughout February consistently 5% below the pre-Covid baseline, and the outstanding caseload in Magistrates’ courts has reduced from the peak reached in August. As of the end of March 2021, we have created a total of 60 Nightingale courts.

We continue to work with partners across the justice system to assess what more can be done to improve the resilience of the courts during the pandemic, and to assist faster recovery. We recognise the particular impact of delays on victims and witnesses, and are providing £151m to victim and witness support services in 2021-22 to ensure victims receive the support they need.


Written Question
Prisoners
7 Apr 2021

Questioner: Lord Bradley

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many people currently in prison serving an imprisonment for public protection sentence who have spent a total period of 10 years or more in custody have been (1) unreleased, and (2) recalled.

Answer (Lord Wolfson of Tredegar)

The total number of life and imprisonment for public protection (IPP) sentence prisoners currently in prison, who have spent a total of at least 10 years in custody and who have either (1) never been released or (2) are in custody having been recalled, is provided below.

Sentence Type

Unreleased

Recalled

IPP (10+ years in custody)

1311

257

Life (10+ years in custody)

3262

210

These figures have been drawn from the Public Protection Unit Database held by Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service. As with any large-scale recording systems, the figures are subject to possible errors with data migration and processing.

The total unreleased IPP population is reducing year on year - it stood at 1,849 as of 31 December 2020, down from 2,134 on 31 December 2019. IPP prisoners continue to have a high chance of a positive outcome from Parole Board hearings. In 2019/20 72% of Parole Board hearings resulted in either a recommendation for a progressive transfer to an open prison or release.

Offenders on licence in the community will be recalled to custody where they breach their licence conditions in such a way as to indicate that their risk has increased to the level where it may no longer be managed effectively in the community, even by the imposition of additional licence conditions and other controls. Recall is a vital measure to protect the public from those who are assessed as likely to commit further offences causing serious harm if they were to remain in the community.

The Government’s primary responsibility is to protect the public. HM Prison and Probation Service remains committed to supporting the progression of those serving IPP and life sentences in custody, so that the Parole Board may direct their release or, as the case may be, re-release, as soon as it is safe to do so.


Written Question
Prisoners
7 Apr 2021

Questioner: Lord Bradley

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many people are currently in prison serving a life sentence who have spent a total period of 10 years or more in custody having been either (1) unreleased, or (2) recalled.

Answer (Lord Wolfson of Tredegar)

The total number of life and imprisonment for public protection (IPP) sentence prisoners currently in prison, who have spent a total of at least 10 years in custody and who have either (1) never been released or (2) are in custody having been recalled, is provided below.

Sentence Type

Unreleased

Recalled

IPP (10+ years in custody)

1311

257

Life (10+ years in custody)

3262

210

These figures have been drawn from the Public Protection Unit Database held by Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service. As with any large-scale recording systems, the figures are subject to possible errors with data migration and processing.

The total unreleased IPP population is reducing year on year - it stood at 1,849 as of 31 December 2020, down from 2,134 on 31 December 2019. IPP prisoners continue to have a high chance of a positive outcome from Parole Board hearings. In 2019/20 72% of Parole Board hearings resulted in either a recommendation for a progressive transfer to an open prison or release.

Offenders on licence in the community will be recalled to custody where they breach their licence conditions in such a way as to indicate that their risk has increased to the level where it may no longer be managed effectively in the community, even by the imposition of additional licence conditions and other controls. Recall is a vital measure to protect the public from those who are assessed as likely to commit further offences causing serious harm if they were to remain in the community.

The Government’s primary responsibility is to protect the public. HM Prison and Probation Service remains committed to supporting the progression of those serving IPP and life sentences in custody, so that the Parole Board may direct their release or, as the case may be, re-release, as soon as it is safe to do so.


Written Question
Prisoners
7 Apr 2021

Questioner: Lord Bradley

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many prisoners currently sentenced to imprisonment for public protection were convicted of theft.

Answer (Lord Wolfson of Tredegar)

None. Offences contrary to section 1 of the Theft Act 1968 (“theft”) never qualified as serious specified offences within the meaning of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 for which a sentence of imprisonment for public protection (IPP) could have been imposed . However, a conviction for certain other offences within the Theft Act 1968, such as that for robbery or aggravated burglary, could have led to an IPP sentence. As of 31 December 2020, there were 714 (339 unreleased and 375 recalled) prisoners serving an IPP sentence who have a recorded offence in the category of “robbery” and 80 (34 unreleased and 46 recalled) prisoners serving an IPP sentence who have a recorded offence in the category of “theft offences”. But these data do not give an indication of the precise specific serious specified offence, or the context or severity of the crimes, which led to a Judge deciding that the case was so serious that it merited the imposition of an IPP sentence.

The independent Parole Board determine whether it is safe to release prisoners serving an IPP sentence. Consequently, where a prisoner remains in custody, it is because the Parole Board has judged that their risk is too high for them to be safely managed in the community.

The Government’s primary responsibility is to protect the public; however, HM Prison and Probation Service remains committed to supporter prisoners to reduce their risk to the level where the Parole Board will judge that they may now be safely supervised on licence in the community.


Written Question
Prisons: Visits
7 Apr 2021

Questioner: Lord Hylton

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to prioritise the use of videophones by prisoners with children while family visits are not possible due to the COVID-19 pandemic; and what plans they have for similar prioritisation for prisoners held at long-distance from their families when the restrictions in place to address the COVID-19 pandemic have ended.

Answer (Lord Wolfson of Tredegar)

We are committed to continuing to offer secure video calling after the current Covid-19 restrictions have ended, and are considering future options in line with the recommendations of Lord Farmer’s reviews for maintaining family ties. We will continue to be guided by public health advice, and we will work with our stakeholders to inform our longer-term planning.

Secure video calls are now running in all public and private prisons and Young Offender Institutions across England and Wales. This was introduced alongside other measures to support family engagement, such as additional mobile phone handsets and extra phone credit while social visits have been suspended. Social visits in the Youth Custody Service estate have continued and on compassionate grounds in the adult estate.


Written Question
Offences against Children: Jersey
6 Apr 2021

Questioner: Lord Sikka

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the BBC Four documentary Dark Secrets of a Trillion Dollar Island: Garenne, broadcast on 15 March, what assessment they have made of the government of Jersey’s handling of child abuse; and whether they will appoint an independent inquiry to investigate the handling of such abuse.

Answer (Lord Wolfson of Tredegar)

In December 2013 Jersey’s government appointed an independent inquiry to investigate allegations of the abuse of children in the island’s care system from 1945 to date. The Independent Jersey Care Inquiry (IJCI) opened on 3 April 2014. Led by an independent panel of experts, the IJCI conducted a wide-ranging investigation into all aspects of child care and protection services in Jersey, closing on 3 July 2017 with the publication of the “Final Report of the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry”.

The Inquiry’s Report made eight key recommendations for the future management of child care in Jersey, all of which were accepted by the government of Jersey. The Report also suggested that the IJCI should be invited, in 2019, to review Jersey’s progress against those recommendations. Jersey agreed; the review took place as scheduled with the follow-up report being published on 23 September 2019. It acknowledged Jersey’s commitment to implementing the recommendations of the ICJI and commended Jersey on its progress.

Jersey is not part of the United Kingdom. As a self-governing dependency of the Crown with autonomy in its domestic affairs, child care and protection matters in Jersey are the responsibility of the Jersey authorities. It would not therefore be appropriate for the UK to appoint an independent inquiry to investigate this matter.


Written Question
Armed Forces Compensation Scheme and War Pensions: Appeals
6 Apr 2021

Questioner: Lord Craig of Radley

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to introduce direct lodgement for all appeals to the War Pensions and Armed Forces Compensation Chamber; and if so, (1) how, and (2) when, it will be implemented.

Answer (Lord Wolfson of Tredegar)

As part of the reform within the War Pensions and Armed Forces Compensation Chamber, the Ministry of Justice will continue to work closely with colleagues in the Ministry of Defence to explore options for introducing Direct Lodgement for all appeals. This is part of the Government’s £1 billion investment to reform our courts and tribunals system. Our programme will improve the service provided to users by building a modern system for administering justice which will benefit all users.