Lord Bishop of Gloucester Portrait

Lord Bishop of Gloucester

Bishops - Bishops

1 APPG membership (as of 17 Nov 2021)
Women in the Penal System
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Division Votes
Wednesday 28th April 2021
Abortion (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2021
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 6 Bishops Aye votes vs 0 Bishops No votes
Tally: Ayes - 70 Noes - 409
Speeches
Wednesday 1st December 2021
Early Years Interventions

I am grateful to the noble Baroness for her Answer. Given the crucial lifelong impact of the early years on …

Written Answers
Monday 29th November 2021
Prisoners: Pregnancy
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many women in prison aged (1) 18 to 24, and (2) 25 years or …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
None available
Tweets
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MP Financial Interests
None available

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Lord Bishop of Gloucester has voted in 18 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
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Debates during the 2019 Parliament

Speeches made during Parliamentary debates are recorded in Hansard. For ease of browsing we have grouped debates into individual, departmental and legislative categories.

Sparring Partners
Baroness Williams of Trafford (Conservative)
Minister of State (Home Office)
(11 debate interactions)
Lord Wolfson of Tredegar (Conservative)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
(10 debate interactions)
Baroness Barran (Conservative)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
(8 debate interactions)
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Department Debates
Ministry of Justice
(24 debate contributions)
Home Office
(15 debate contributions)
Department for Education
(9 debate contributions)
Leader of the House
(4 debate contributions)
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Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Lord Bishop of Gloucester, and are more likely to reflect personal policy preferences.

MPs who are act as Ministers or Shadow Ministers are generally restricted from performing Commons initiatives other than Urgent Questions.


Lord Bishop of Gloucester has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Lord Bishop of Gloucester has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

Lord Bishop of Gloucester has not introduced any legislation before Parliament

Lord Bishop of Gloucester has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


29 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
7th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the need for improvements in the implementation of the public interest test in decisions about whether to prosecute in cases involving a suspect who may also be a survivor of domestic abuse.

All decisions to prosecute are made in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors, and a case must meet the evidential and public interest stages of the Full Code Test.

We recognise that suspects may also be victims of domestic abuse. Accordingly, the Code acknowledges that suspects may have a lower level of culpability if they are compelled, coerced, or are victims of crime. The sixth edition of Charging (The Director's Guidance) published in December 2020 reinforces that in such circumstances it may be appropriate to offer an of court disposal or not to proceed with a case.

The CPS also has bespoke guidance illustrating how bespoke conditional cautions can support offenders in appropriate cases.

Lord Stewart of Dirleton
Advocate General for Scotland
2nd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many residents of immigration removal centres (1) have displayed, or (2) are currently displaying, symptoms of COVID-19; and of those, how many have been tested. [T]

The safety and health of people in the detention estate are of the utmost importance. We are following all Public Health England guidance and have robust contingency plans in place.

All immigration removal centres have dedicated health facilities run by doctors and nurses which are managed by the NHS or appropriate providers. The Home Office, its suppliers and NHS England healthcare providers in immigration removal centres are following PHE guidelines for the management of COVID-19. Universal testing is not currently recommended under these guidelines for those in detention or those being released. Testing of individuals in immigration detention will be dependent on individual circumstances.

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 in IRCs, all centres are following a reverse cohorting process which commenced on 20 April 2020. This requires new arrivals to be isolated from the main population for a period of 14 days to verify that each individual is asymptomatic. If a detainee shows symptoms during this time, they are be moved to protective isolation for seven days.

As of 3 June 2020, there are no cases of COVID-19 in immigration removal centres.

There have been two confirmed cases of COVID-19 in detainees, a third individual was identified but after his release from detention had been agreed.

Local management information indicates that for the period 9 March to 31 May 2020, fifty-seven detainees have been placed in protective isolation for displaying COVID-19 or flu-like symptoms. There is currently one detainee in protective isolation after showing symptoms of COVID-19. Historic information on the number of COVID-19 tests conducted in IRCs is not held.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
15th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many women in prison aged 18 to 20 share a cell with a woman aged over 20 years old.

As of 12th November, there were 65 prisoners in the HM Prison and Probation Service Women’s estate who were aged between 18 and 20. Of these, fewer than five were sharing a cell with another prisoner who was aged 21 or over.

Lord Wolfson of Tredegar
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
15th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what age-specific training prison staff receive for working with female prisoners aged 18 to 24.

Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) have developed the ‘women’s estate specialist training’ (WEST) course. Its modular content is threaded throughout the apprenticeship foundation programme to offer a distinct and dedicated course, underpinned by a trauma informed approach. This forms part of the nine-week foundation period for new prison officers destined to work within the women’s estate. The first dedicated WEST course has been scheduled to take place in January 2022. This course also contains a module which focuses on young women in custody. Existing staff in the women’s estate are able to access information through ‘myLearning’ which includes the Young Adults page which is designed to be an accessible resource for all staff to understand better the needs of this age group in custody.

Lord Wolfson of Tredegar
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
15th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many women aged 18 to 24 have been received into prison in each year of the past 10 years, by establishment.

The attached tables show the number of first receptions of women aged 18-24 from 2011 to 2020, by establishment.

The Female Offender Strategy set out the Government’s vision of fewer women offending and reoffending; fewer women in custody, especially on short-term sentences, with a greater proportion of women managed in the community successfully; and where prison is necessary, better conditions for those in custody.

Lord Wolfson of Tredegar
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
15th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many women in prison aged (1) 18 to 24, and (2) 25 years or older, were pregnant while in custody in each of the last 10 years.

This information could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

On 20 September the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) published a new policy on pregnancy, Mother and Baby Units and maternal separation from children up to the age of two in women’s prisons, which contains a range of reforms for improving the care of pregnant women. The policy requires increased local and central data collection on self-declared pregnant women in our care, to ensure individuals are receiving the relevant support and to ensure policy is more informed.

We publish some of this data in the HMPPS Annual Digest of statistical information. We published the first of these on 29 July 2021, which showed that during the period July 2020-April 2021 an average of 26 women self-declared as pregnant each week.

This is a dynamic area of policy and we will continue to consider our central data collection as it develops.

Lord Wolfson of Tredegar
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
10th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many women in prison aged (1) 18 to 24, and (2) 25 years or older, have previously been in local authority care in each of the last 10 years.

Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) is committed to meeting the needs of all vulnerable offenders, including those who have previously been in local authority care. All individuals who come into contact with the criminal justice system need to be able to access the right support to help them engage with their sentence.

HMPPS has a Strategy for Care Experienced People which is based on the assessment of needs specific to this group. The strategy focuses on, identifying people with care experience, and collaborative working with local authorities and other organisations, helping individuals to receive the necessary support.

HMPPS holds a limited amount of the information requested. Since 2015, as part of the basic custody screening interview, we have recorded the answers of all new prisoners coming into custody as to whether they have been in the care of local authority children’s services at any time. The information is purely self-declared.

Age when BCS Part 1 Completed

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020

2021 YTD

Age 18 to 24

244

244

203

187

184

119

68

Age 25 or over

745

813

710

720

689

492

254

The data for 2021 is up to and including 30 June which is the most recent date for which it can be verified. It should be noted that individual prisoners admitted to custody on separate occasions in different years could be included more than once in this data.

Lord Wolfson of Tredegar
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
10th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what provision is available to women prisoners aged 18 to 24 for (1) education, and (2) training; and at what age the provision changes.

As set out in the Women’s Policy Framework, all women in prison are given the opportunity to access appropriate education, learning, skills (including parenting skills), and employment. Access to education and training is the same for adult male and female prisoners. Provision does not alter based on age except for those in the youth estate, where the delivery and access to education is a statutory requirement for all children in custody and a key element of the youth custody provision.

As a result of the Education and Employment Strategy significant changes to the delivery arrangements for prison education took full effect from April 2019. As of that date, governors have control of their establishment’s education budgets, determine the curriculum on offer and how it is structured and organised, and decide on education providers. This allows governors of women’s prisons to tailor provision based on the needs of their population.

Lord Wolfson of Tredegar
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
10th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the ethnic breakdown of women in prison aged (1) 18 to 24, and (2) 25 years or older, for each of the last 10 years.

The attached tables show the numbers of female prisoners aged 18 to 24, and 25 years or above, broken down by ethnicity on 30 June for each year between 2012 to 2021.

Lord Wolfson of Tredegar
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
10th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many women aged (1) 18 to 24, and (2) 25 and above, went to prison in each of the last 10 years; what was the sentence length in each case; and what type of offence was committed.

The attached tables show data on the numbers of women convicted by offence type and the length of sentence from 2011 to 2020 for those aged 18 to 24 and above 25 years of age.

The Female Offender Strategy set out the Government’s vision of fewer women offending and reoffending; fewer women in custody, especially on short-term sentences, with a greater proportion of women managed in the community successfully; and where prison is necessary, better conditions for those in custody.

Lord Wolfson of Tredegar
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
10th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the average number of miles that women in prison aged (1) 18 to 24, and (2) 25 years or older, are held from their home address.

As of 5th November 2021, 308 women aged 18-24 years old were held on average 41.7 miles away from their origin address; 2,903 aged 25 and over were held on average 45.6 miles away from their origin address.

In instances where no address was recorded in the central database, an offender’s committal court address has been used as a proxy for the area in which they are resident. Of a total population of 3,232 women, 21 did not have a home address or suitable court address recorded. These prisoners are typically foreign nationals or those recently received into custody.

This information has been drawn from administrative IT systems, which as with any large scale recording system are subject to possible error with data entry and processing.

The Female Offender Strategy set out the Government’s vision of fewer women offending and reoffending; fewer women in custody, especially on short-term sentences, with a greater proportion of women managed in the community successfully; and where prison is necessary, better conditions for those in custody.

In January we announced that new facilities, designed to meet the specific needs of women, will be built in existing prisons to increase availability of single cells and improve conditions as part of the 18,000 additional prison places programme. These places will enable us to hold more women closer to home and their families.

Lord Wolfson of Tredegar
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
7th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what conversations, if any, they have had with the Law Commission in the last six months about reviewing the effectiveness of existing defences for individuals whose offending or alleged offending results from their experience of domestic abuse; and what assessment they have made of the need for legislative reform on this matter.

The Government have committed to conducting a review of domestic homicides which, although primarily about sentencing, will also take account of the current defences to a homicide charge. We intend, following that review, to consider whether it is necessary for a separate review of statutory defences to homicide in the context of domestic abuse to be undertaken, or whether there is evidence of the need for consideration of a specific defence for a wider range of offences for those subject to domestic abuse.

The Ministry of Justice regularly engages with the Law Commission on emerging criminal law issues. Some initial discussions at official level have taken place on this and other related matters but the Government will be awaiting the outcome of the domestic homicide review before it considers whether any legislative change is necessary.

Lord Wolfson of Tredegar
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
7th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the remarks by Lord Wolfson of Tredegar on 3 February (HL Deb, col 2286), what assessment they have made of (1) the need to review the existing defences for individuals whose offending or alleged offending results from their experience of domestic abuse, and (2) the need for statutory reform in relation to (a) sentencing, (b) conviction, or (c) acquittal.

The Government have committed to conducting a review of domestic homicides which, although primarily about sentencing, will also take account of the current defences to a homicide charge. We intend, following that review, to consider whether it is necessary for a separate review of statutory defences to homicide in the context of domestic abuse to be undertaken, or whether there is evidence of the need for consideration of a specific defence for a wider range of offences for those subject to domestic abuse.

The Ministry of Justice regularly engages with the Law Commission on emerging criminal law issues. Some initial discussions at official level have taken place on this and other related matters but the Government will be awaiting the outcome of the domestic homicide review before it considers whether any legislative change is necessary.

Lord Wolfson of Tredegar
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
7th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what organisations will be consulted for the Lord Chancellor’s review of sentencing in domestic homicide cases.

The Lord Chancellor committed to reviewing sentencing in cases of domestic homicide earlier this year and I am pleased that the first stage of this review, an analysis of data, sentencing remarks and outcomes of relevant domestic homicide cases from the past two years, is well underway. We are hopeful that the review will be complete by the end of the year.

The first stage of the review is focused on achieving an improved understanding of current sentencing practice, before moving to a second stage which will consider whether any changes to the law are necessary, and if so, what those changes should be. This initial stage will examine how the sentencing legislation and guidelines have been applied, including in cases where a weapon is and is not taken to the scene, and where victims of domestic abuse have killed their abuser. It will also consider how aggravating and mitigating circumstances are taken into account, the use of current defences to charges of murder and manslaughter, and whether there appear to be gender disparities in case outcomes and how the guidelines are being applied.

Following this initial stage, the Lord Chancellor intends to appoint an independent expert, with the relevant experience and knowledge in this field, to oversee a more detailed phase of consideration and consultation. Their role will be to consider the findings of the initial case review and data analysis and use that as the basis for identifying potential areas for reform and delivering recommendations for change to the Lord Chancellor.

Once the independent expert is in place, we will work with them to finalise the scope and approach for this second phase of the Review, including issues of consultation. Engagement with key stakeholders will be critical and the Lord Chancellor is keen that they have the opportunity to provide their input in helping shape the recommendations. He has already met with both the Victims Commissioner and Domestic Abuse Commissioner to discuss the review as a first step.

Lord Wolfson of Tredegar
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
7th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they expect the Lord Chancellor’s review of sentencing in domestic homicide cases to (1) commence, and (2) report.

The Lord Chancellor committed to reviewing sentencing in cases of domestic homicide earlier this year and I am pleased that the first stage of this review, an analysis of data, sentencing remarks and outcomes of relevant domestic homicide cases from the past two years, is well underway. We are hopeful that the review will be complete by the end of the year.

The first stage of the review is focused on achieving an improved understanding of current sentencing practice, before moving to a second stage which will consider whether any changes to the law are necessary, and if so, what those changes should be. This initial stage will examine how the sentencing legislation and guidelines have been applied, including in cases where a weapon is and is not taken to the scene, and where victims of domestic abuse have killed their abuser. It will also consider how aggravating and mitigating circumstances are taken into account, the use of current defences to charges of murder and manslaughter, and whether there appear to be gender disparities in case outcomes and how the guidelines are being applied.

Following this initial stage, the Lord Chancellor intends to appoint an independent expert, with the relevant experience and knowledge in this field, to oversee a more detailed phase of consideration and consultation. Their role will be to consider the findings of the initial case review and data analysis and use that as the basis for identifying potential areas for reform and delivering recommendations for change to the Lord Chancellor.

Once the independent expert is in place, we will work with them to finalise the scope and approach for this second phase of the Review, including issues of consultation. Engagement with key stakeholders will be critical and the Lord Chancellor is keen that they have the opportunity to provide their input in helping shape the recommendations. He has already met with both the Victims Commissioner and Domestic Abuse Commissioner to discuss the review as a first step.

Lord Wolfson of Tredegar
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
7th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government (1) what are the terms of reference, and (2) what is the planned process, for the Lord Chancellor’s review of sentencing in domestic homicide cases; and what plans they have, if any, to hold a public consultation on this matter.

The Lord Chancellor committed to reviewing sentencing in cases of domestic homicide earlier this year and I am pleased that the first stage of this review, an analysis of data, sentencing remarks and outcomes of relevant domestic homicide cases from the past two years, is well underway. We are hopeful that the review will be complete by the end of the year.

The first stage of the review is focused on achieving an improved understanding of current sentencing practice, before moving to a second stage which will consider whether any changes to the law are necessary, and if so, what those changes should be. This initial stage will examine how the sentencing legislation and guidelines have been applied, including in cases where a weapon is and is not taken to the scene, and where victims of domestic abuse have killed their abuser. It will also consider how aggravating and mitigating circumstances are taken into account, the use of current defences to charges of murder and manslaughter, and whether there appear to be gender disparities in case outcomes and how the guidelines are being applied.

Following this initial stage, the Lord Chancellor intends to appoint an independent expert, with the relevant experience and knowledge in this field, to oversee a more detailed phase of consideration and consultation. Their role will be to consider the findings of the initial case review and data analysis and use that as the basis for identifying potential areas for reform and delivering recommendations for change to the Lord Chancellor.

Once the independent expert is in place, we will work with them to finalise the scope and approach for this second phase of the Review, including issues of consultation. Engagement with key stakeholders will be critical and the Lord Chancellor is keen that they have the opportunity to provide their input in helping shape the recommendations. He has already met with both the Victims Commissioner and Domestic Abuse Commissioner to discuss the review as a first step.

Lord Wolfson of Tredegar
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the recent announcement to provide temporary basic accommodation to support prison leavers at risk of homelessness in five National Probation Service regions will include (1) women-only accommodation, and (2) provisions for specific support for vulnerable women with complex needs.

To reduce reoffending and provide health and wellbeing support, we are launching a new accommodation service, providing up to 12 weeks of basic temporary accommodation for prison leavers who would otherwise be homeless. This will complement the service being delivered through the new unified probation model.

Women-only accommodation provision will be made available, as required. More generally, the service will take account of the needs of women, including those with complex needs.

This Government is clear that getting prison leavers into stable accommodation provides the platform they need to find work and access treatment for addictions and mental health problems, which reduce the risk of reoffending. Tackling all three issues together in this way – accommodation, work and treatment – could prevent thousands of people becoming victims each year and save some of the £18 billion annual cost of repeat crimes.

Lord Wolfson of Tredegar
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have (1) to record, and (2) to report, on the (a) housing outcomes, and (b) homelessness figures, of female prison leavers as part of the resettlement and reoffending metrics for measuring the success of the Concordat on women in or at risk of contact with the Criminal Justice System.

Relevant data on housing outcomes and homelessness figures for female prison leavers are published annually at the below link, and can be found attached.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/904935/accommodation-201920.ods.

We will refer to these published figures when measuring and reporting on the success of the Concordat on women in or at risk of contact with the Criminal Justice System. The Concordat contains a commitment to describe progress in a “One Year On” report.

Lord Wolfson of Tredegar
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
7th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the remand backlog on (1) prison overcrowding, and (2) the health and wellbeing of prisoners, including children and young people held on remand.

The remand population has increased during the pandemic, mostly due to the challenges in holding Crown Court trials during this period. However, as published in the Prison Population National Statistics on the 26th November, the remand population is forecast to drop by September 2021 as trial capacity is expected to increase in the next year as the court system recovers from the impact of COVID-19. In turn more remand prisoners will flow out of the remand population.

The total prison population has also reduced by over 5,000 since the start of the pandemic and as a result the total number of prisoners currently held in crowded conditions has reduced. The extent to which crowding has reduced in 20/21 will be reflected in the publication of the HMPPS Annual Digest.

The pandemic has brought new challenges to managing the estate and we have worked at pace to ensure we have enough suitable accommodation, protect the most vulnerable and reduce transmission of infection. We have produced a range of products to support Governors in devising and implementing local safety and welfare plans designed to mitigate risk of self-harm, including tailored guidance for supporting specific groups of people in prison whose wellbeing may be more impacted by Covid-19 measures.

Additionally, the latest monthly Youth Custody data published in September show there were 620 children and young people (including 18 year olds) in the youth secure estate – this is significantly down from the published figure of 852 at the end of February 2020, and the lowest number recorded within this publication. Of the 620 children and young people in custody at this time, 236 (38%) were on remand.

MoJ is currently undertaking a review into the use of custodial remand for children, including identifying options to reduce numbers where appropriate. In the Smarter Sentencing White Paper, MoJ announced plans to raise the threshold for imposing custodial remand on children and require courts to record their rationale.

Baroness Scott of Bybrook
Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
7th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the remand backlog on the welfare of the families of those being held in custody.

Crime recovery work is moving at pace – there are currently more than 260 courtrooms available to hold jury trials and 2,360 jury trials have been listed between restarting in May and 25 October. Since August, Magistrates’ courts have been disposing more cases than they are receiving, dealing with over 22,000 cases each week. Cases where the defendant is held in custody are actively monitored and continue to be prioritised.

Pre-trial detention is never considered lightly and is designed to minimise the risk that defendants who pose a risk to the public, or those likely to abscond and evade justice, could be released back into the community on bail before their trial can be listed. In the event this was to happen, this could significantly undermine public confidence in the justice system and have a detrimental impact on victims and witnesses.

We recognise that maintaining the ties individuals in custody have with their families and friends during this stressful time is important for the wellbeing of both the individual and their family. To facilitate family contact during Covid, we commenced the rollout of video calling which is now available in all 110 public prisons at no cost to families at the current time. This was introduced alongside other emergency measures, including the provision of 1,500 secure mobile phones and extra phone credit, to help maintain family contact while physical visits were suspended.

We continue to learn lessons from this to inform both the current service and longer-term planning in line with the recommendations of Lord Farmer’s reviews for maintaining family ties.

Baroness Scott of Bybrook
Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
3rd Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many women in prison are (1) pregnant, or (2) mothers with primary caring responsibilities.

Pregnancy data is collected locally by individual prisons, to ensure the appropriate support can be provided to women in our care. Currently, there is no central collection of this data.

I am however, able to confirm that an ad hoc data collection exercise was undertaken last year, which found that at 15:00hrs on 28 October 2019, 47 women in prison self-declared as pregnant, including those on remand and who had been sentenced.

On 31 July we published a summary report of our review of operational policy on pregnancy and women separated from children under 2. This includes an undertaking to extend the range of data we publish in relation to pregnant women in prison and can be found in the attached document. We have already taken steps to increase our internal national data collection processes to support the policy review, and to enable us to plan for future publication.

We recognise that maternal imprisonment can have particularly detrimental impact on family life, and that children whose mothers are in prison are a vulnerable group and may need additional help to address both the short and long-term impacts that maternal imprisonment can have.

At the moment, information on a prisoner’s caring responsibilities and children living in the community is monitored locally by prison Governors/Directors to ensure the appropriate support can be provided to women and their families.

On reception into custody, all prisoners are asked if they have any children living at home and what their ages are. Currently, this information is not captured in a way that can be centrally monitored, and we know that there are challenges around parents being reluctant to disclose this information due to fear of involvement from social services.

However, we are considering how to monitor and publish this information.

Baroness Scott of Bybrook
Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
19th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to enable the release on temporary licence of people in prison during the Christmas period.

Most release on temporary licence (ROTL) was suspended in March to help tackle the threat from Covid-19 but we have been working with the public health authorities to support prisons to re-introduce ROTL where it is safe and practicable to do so, and in line with restrictions on activity in the community.

Currently, therefore, ROTL is limited to key activities such as work, education, essential medical treatment and in compelling compassionate circumstances. Decisions about release during the Christmas period will be taken in light of community restrictions in place at that time and in consultation with the public health authorities.

Baroness Scott of Bybrook
Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
19th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what arrangements they have made, if any, to enable people in prison to maintain contact with family members where neither in-cell telephony or secure mobile phones are available.

We recognise that family contact provides a crucial lifeline for prisoners. Following the re-imposition of national restrictions on 5 November, we have paused face-to-face social visits in prisons in England, except on compassionate grounds, including visits to children in custody. Family visits in Wales are permitted in line with restrictions in the community, although in some establishments with active outbreaks they have been temporarily suspended on public health grounds. We will reintroduce face-to-face social visits as soon as safe to do so, guided by public health advice alongside an operational assessment of what can safely be implemented.

For those prisons that do not have access to in-cell telephony, we introduced over 1,500 secure mobile handsets which can be used to contact family and friends via the usual PIN phone system. In addition, the Prison Voicemail service and Email a Prisoner service are available in all prisons. There are also further initiatives such as unmarked letter writing resources, ‘Bedtime Stories’ which allow residents to record themselves reading a story to their child, and opportunities to make items that they can send to them.

Secure video calls provide another option for families, including those with children of all ages, to stay in touch. Arrangements for secure video calls have been introduced in virtually all prisons across England and Wales. Details of which prisons are operating live services for families and friends can be accessed on GOV.UK. The remainder of the estate is expected to have these facilities by the end of December. We have committed to the fact that there will be no cost of video calls to either families or those in custody during this time. At the appropriate time, we will consider future options for video calling across the estate beyond Covid-19 restrictions.

We continue to learn lessons from this to inform both the current service and longer-term planning in line with the recommendations of Lord Farmer’s reviews for maintaining family ties.

Baroness Scott of Bybrook
Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
19th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government which prisons currently have video calling facilities to allow people in prison to maintain contact with family members; what plans they have, if any, to expand such facilities across the prison estate; and what the cost of video calls will be under any such plans.

We recognise that family contact provides a crucial lifeline for prisoners. Following the re-imposition of national restrictions on 5 November, we have paused face-to-face social visits in prisons in England, except on compassionate grounds, including visits to children in custody. Family visits in Wales are permitted in line with restrictions in the community, although in some establishments with active outbreaks they have been temporarily suspended on public health grounds. We will reintroduce face-to-face social visits as soon as safe to do so, guided by public health advice alongside an operational assessment of what can safely be implemented.

For those prisons that do not have access to in-cell telephony, we introduced over 1,500 secure mobile handsets which can be used to contact family and friends via the usual PIN phone system. In addition, the Prison Voicemail service and Email a Prisoner service are available in all prisons. There are also further initiatives such as unmarked letter writing resources, ‘Bedtime Stories’ which allow residents to record themselves reading a story to their child, and opportunities to make items that they can send to them.

Secure video calls provide another option for families, including those with children of all ages, to stay in touch. Arrangements for secure video calls have been introduced in virtually all prisons across England and Wales. Details of which prisons are operating live services for families and friends can be accessed on GOV.UK. The remainder of the estate is expected to have these facilities by the end of December. We have committed to the fact that there will be no cost of video calls to either families or those in custody during this time. At the appropriate time, we will consider future options for video calling across the estate beyond Covid-19 restrictions.

We continue to learn lessons from this to inform both the current service and longer-term planning in line with the recommendations of Lord Farmer’s reviews for maintaining family ties.

Baroness Scott of Bybrook
Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
29th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they estimate the Female Offender Strategy will be fully implemented.

The Female Offender Strategy (2018) set out our vision to see fewer women entering the justice system and reoffending; fewer women in custody, particularly on short custodial sentences, with more managed successfully in the community; and a custodial environment that enables rehabilitation. The strategy launched an ambitious programme of work to improve outcomes for female offenders and make society safer by tackling the underlying causes of offending and reoffending. This will take several years to deliver, with our planned pilot of a residential women’s centre in at least five sites in England and Wales likely to last until the latter part of this decade.

Some two years on from publication of the Strategy we are making good progress. We have already invested £5.1 million Strategy funding in 30 different women’s services across England and Wales, helping to sustain and enhance existing services, fill gaps in provision, and provide properties for new women’s centres. Other achievements include publication of a new Women’s Policy Framework; roll-out of new training for staff working with women in custody and the community; improvements to the preparation of pre-sentence reports; publication and ongoing implementation of the recommendations in Lord Farmer’s review into family ties for female offenders; undertaken a review of police forces’ responses to our guidance on working with vulnerable women; piloting a new offender management model for women under supervision in the community; commissioning research to inform our policy on BAME female offenders; and publication of our review of the operational policy on Pregnancy, Mother and Baby Units, and Mothers separated from children under the age of 2 in prison.

On 5 May 2020, we announced the investment of a further £2.5m in women’s community services in England and Wales in 2020/21, supporting them to tackle the root causes of offending and help women to turn their lives around. We also announced that the first site of our residential women’s centre pilot will be located in Wales. This will provide accommodation for vulnerable women with complex needs who would otherwise be sentenced to custody, enabling them to stay closer to home and maintain important family ties, and will directly tackle the issues which often underlie offending, like substance misuse and mental health. We will now work with Welsh Government and partners in Wales to identify a provider and site.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many (1) men, and (2) women, have died in prison, or while under probation services, from natural causes that may have been exacerbated by COVID-19.

We are working hard to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the justice system as part of the national plan to protect the NHS and save lives. In our prisons and in the community, we are implementing a range of measures to reduce the spread of the transmission of the virus and the numbers of lives sadly lost. This has included the implementation of restricted prison regimes, the early release of low-risk offenders, temporary expansion of the prison estate and the reduction in the number of face-to-face probation meetings.

As of 5pm on Friday, 5 June, we are aware of 21 men and 2 women in prison and 13 men and 2 women under probation supervision who have died from natural causes that may have been exacerbated by contracting COVID-19.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many prisoners are currently sharing a cell with one or more others, broken down by prison.

On arrival into custody, all prisoners’ suitability to share a cell is risk assessed. These assessments are based on numerous factors including index offence, health concerns and security information (such as beliefs and prejudices).

Since March, we have introduced strong measures to avoid thousands of prisoners and staff becoming infected with COVID-19. This includes restrictions on movement between jails, the early release of low-risk offenders and the temporary expansion of the prison estate. These measures have helped to contain the spread of the virus and limit deaths. This action has helped to reduce the prison population, allowing establishments to implement ‘compartmentalisation’.

We are installing over 1,000 temporary cells to increase space and help reduce the spread of the virus. These units are being placed where there are the highest number of shared cells, a lack of in-cell sanitation and where there are high numbers of vulnerable prisoners. We have also opened an Annex at HMP/YOI Rochester to hold up to 70 men.

As at 29 May 2020, 35% of the prison population are sharing cells holding two or more people and this is broken down by establishment in the table below. The detail collected is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large-scale recording system.

Prison

Total number of prisoners sharing cells

Proportion

Prison

Total number of prisoners sharing cells

Proportion

Altcourse

684

64%

Leicester

219

68%

Ashfield

152

37%

Lewes

176

33%

Askham Grange

0

0%

Leyhill

0

0%

Aylesbury

0

0%

Lincoln

422

71%

Bedford

242

68%

Lindholme

336

36%

Belmarsh

476

58%

Littlehey

134

12%

Berwyn

1,056

61%

Liverpool

412

59%

Birmingham

582

64%

Long Lartin

0

0%

Brinsford

290

53%

Low Newton

12

4%

Bristol

217

45%

Lowdham Grange

6

1%

Brixton

532

74%

Maidstone

52

9%

Bronzefield

104

23%

Manchester

284

39%

Buckley Hall

72

16%

Moorland

258

29%

Bullingdon

737

69%

New Hall

32

9%

Bure

10

2%

North Sea Camp

164

41%

Cardiff

398

58%

Northumberland

0

0%

Channings Wood

44

7%

Norwich

250

36%

Chelmsford

302

45%

Nottingham

402

48%

Coldingley

0

0%

Oakwood

810

41%

Cookham Wood

0

0%

Onley

154

22%

Dartmoor

0

0%

Parc

736

46%

Deerbolt

14

4%

Pentonville

668

72%

Doncaster

760

70%

Peterborough

398

47%

Dovegate

224

19%

Peterborough Female

74

27%

Downview

0

0%

Portland

128

26%

Drake Hall

41

17%

Prescoed

36

17%

Durham

744

82%

Preston

441

69%

East Sutton Park

86

98%

Ranby

322

33%

Eastwood Park

80

26%

Risley

178

17%

Elmley

683

62%

Rochester

218

35%

Erlestoke

64

13%

Rye Hill

158

24%

Exeter

334

71%

Send

0

0%

Featherstone

110

17%

Springhill

126

44%

Feltham

130

44%

Stafford

508

71%

Ford

212

42%

Standford Hill

0

0%

Forest Bank

801

58%

Stocken

240

23%

Foston Hall

142

46%

Stoke Heath

302

42%

Frankland

0

0%

Styal

235

62%

Full Sutton

0

0%

Sudbury

232

50%

Garth

22

3%

Swaleside

0

0%

Gartree

22

3%

Swansea

254

71%

Grendon

0

0%

Swinfen Hall

62

11%

Guys Marsh

98

23%

Thameside

680

62%

Hatfield

16

5%

The Mount

220

22%

Haverigg

0

0%

The Verne

21

4%

High Down

633

56%

Thorn Cross

36

11%

Highpoint

236

18%

Usk

207

84%

Hindley

248

44%

Wakefield

0

0%

Hewell

508

64%

Wandsworth

1,120

77%

Hollesley Bay

44

10%

Warren Hill

0

0%

Holme House

724

63%

Wayland

286

30%

Hull

555

57%

Wealstun

0

0%

Humber

260

27%

Werrington

0

0%

Huntercombe

208

45%

Wetherby

0

0%

Isis

246

42%

Whatton

112

14%

Isle Of Wight

156

15%

Whitemoor

0

0%

Kirkham

16

3%

Winchester

238

50%

Kirklevington Grange

0

0%

Woodhill

24

5%

Lancaster Farms

120

23%

Wormwood Scrubs

601

56%

Leeds

746

75%

Wymott

16

2%

Grand total

28,181

35%

2nd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many prisoners (1) meet the criteria for being considered clinically extremely vulnerable to COVID-19, and (2) are currently following shielding guidelines, broken down by prison.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are responsible for commissioning healthcare services in English prisons. Local Health Boards are responsible for prison healthcare services in Wales. Local prison healthcare services hold information on the number of prisoners considered clinically extremely vulnerable to Covid-19; we do not hold this information centrally.

The number of prisoners currently following shielding guidelines broken down by prison can be found below (data as of Friday, 29 May):

Prison

Number of prisoners currently shielding

Prison

Number of prisoners currently shielding

Askham Grange

9

Lancaster Farms

~

Bedford

9

Leeds

84

Berwyn

50

Leicester

9

Birmingham

~

Leyhill

17

Brinsford

5

Lindholme

15

Brixton

53

Liverpool

78

Buckley Hall

~

Long Lartin

~

Bullingdon

11

Low Newton

~

Channings Wood

11

Lowdham Grange

5

Chelmsford

11

Manchester

35

Dartmoor

27

Moorland

135

Deerbolt

~

New Hall

27

Doncaster

30

North Sea Camp

15

Dovegate

32

Norwich

40

Downview

~

Nottingham

22

Durham

18

Oakwood

9

Eastwood Park

17

Onley

8

Elmley

20

Parc

46

Exeter

9

Peterborough Female

12

Featherstone

12

Peterborough Male

13

Feltham

16

Portland

~

Ford

21

Ranby

30

Foston Hall

16

Rochester

13

Frankland

8

Rye Hill

41

Full Sutton

~

Stafford

64

Garth

4

Stocken

13

Gartree

5

Styal

19

Guys Marsh

~

Sudbury

7

Hatfield

10

Swansea

16

Hewell

62

Swinfen Hall

~

Hindley

5

Thorn Cross

4

Hollesley Bay

8

Usk

13

Holme House

32

Wakefield

22

Hull

28

Wealstun

117

Humber

18

Wetherby

~

Isle of Wight

27

Winchester

16

Kirkham

8

Woodhill

8

Kirklevington Grange

5

Wymott

317

Total

1,892

Notes:

  • The symbol ~ denotes suppressed values of 3 or fewer (and totals that would allow values of 3 or fewer to be calculated) to avoid the risk of identifying individuals.

Prisons not included in this list did not report having any prisoners shielding at the current time.