Prisons in ParliamentPosted: November 23, 2015
What lessons will be learnt from drugs when enforcing the smoking ban?
Prisons in Parliament brings you up-to-date on the last week of politics and prisons. What’s been said? And by whom? Get it all here.
Education in prison
Nicholas Boles (Minister for Universities and Science) said that all subjects are available for GSCE and A-Level, alongside nearly 3,000 vocational qualifications and can be commissioned by the prison Governor. However:
“Some subjects and qualifications may be excluded on grounds of practicality, and the availability of other subjects and qualifications may be restricted on an individual basis depending on the nature of the learner’s offence.
Smoking in prison
Paul Flynn asked whether the experience of attempting to exclude illegal drugs from prisons had been taken into account when formulating the ban on tobacco in prisons.
Andrew Selous said that drug treatment in prisons consists of both maintenance and abstinence and that in order to enforce the smoking ban a similar approach would be applied:
“E -cigarettes have been made available to prisoners and their use is allowed in designated areas. In addition a range of nicotine replacement products and smoking cessation support will be in place to support prisoners attempting to abstain”
HMP Winchester comes under fire
Douglas Carswell asked what measures were being taken to address concerns about Winchester Prison in the IMB report.
Andrew Selous (Prisons Minister) said the prisons service is currently recruiting staff to address the under-staffing in Winchester and that NOMs continues to seek employment opportunities for prisoners across the estate.
No moves on prison sentencing
Jim Shannon asked what steps will be taken to amend sentencing guidelines to reduce time spent in prison.
It appears no steps are being taken to amend sentencing guidelines. Andrew Selous said it was a matter for the courts and that sentencing guidelines are issued by the sentencing council.