Ministry of Justice

All 10 Written Questions max 10 shown

Date Title Questioner
16 Jan 2020, 2:27 p.m. Young Offenders: Criminal Records Bim Afolami

Question to the Ministry of Justice

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the effect of criminal records acquired by minors on their life opportunities.

Answer (Wendy Morton)

We believe that that children who offend should have the opportunity to learn from their mistakes and move ahead positively with their lives while ensuring ensure the public are adequately protected.

The criminal records disclosure regime is designed to help employers make informed recruitment decisions through the disclosure of appropriate and relevant information, particularly for roles involving children and vulnerable adults.

We have noted the Supreme Court judgment in P and others and my department is working closely with the Home Office to reform the existing regime.

14 Jan 2020, 5:35 p.m. Reading Prison: Sales Matt Rodda

Question to the Ministry of Justice

What progress his Department has made on the sale of HMP Reading.

Answer (Lucy Frazer)

We have marketed the former HMP&YOI Reading site. We are considering all the bids received carefully.

We will always seek best value for the taxpayer when disposing of surplus property assets. The number of bids, the identity of any bidders and the nature of the bids are commercially sensitive.

14 Jan 2020, 5:27 p.m. Prison Service: Staff Mr Stephen Morgan

Question to the Ministry of Justice

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of staffing levels in prisons.

Answer (Lucy Frazer)

Our hard-working officers play a crucial role in keeping prisons safe and transforming offenders’ lives, and ultimately make sure the public is protected.

We recognise the need to recruit and retain staff to keep our prisons secure. We have invested significantly in increasing staff numbers, recruiting an additional 4,581 (full time equivalent) prison officers between October 2016 and September 2019, surpassing our original target of 2,500. We will continue to recruit officers to ensure prisons are safe and decent.

We are giving staff the tools they need to do the job safely – rolling out PAVA incapacitant spray, and investing £100 million, as part of a wider £2.75 billion package, to fund tough airport-style security that will clamp down on the illicit items which fuel violence and hinder rehabilitation.

14 Jan 2020, 5:08 p.m. Prisons: Crime Dehenna Davison

Question to the Ministry of Justice

What steps his Department is taking to reduce levels of crime in prisons.

Answer (Lucy Frazer)

Our prisons face a range of security challenges including supply of drugs and psychoactive substances and use of illicit phones. This fuels crime both behind and beyond the prison walls.

We are investing £100 million across the estate on airport-style security, including X-ray scanners, to stop drugs and phones from getting in.

Our previous investment in staff means prisons are making greater use body, property, cell and area searches to find contraband that gets in, aided by dedicated search teams and drug detection dogs.

And we are working closely with law enforcement to detect, disrupt and pursue the organised crime groups who drive significant amount of this criminal activity.

14 Jan 2020, 5:04 p.m. Electronic Tagging Bill Wiggin

Question to the Ministry of Justice

What plans he has to increase the use of electronic tagging.

Answer (Lucy Frazer)

I am pleased to confirm to the Hon Gentleman that my Department completed the national roll-out across England and Wales of location monitoring GPS tags for adults in September last year. They have been well received by courts as an important additional tool to manage offenders in the community.

Building on this success, in November we began the phased roll out of GPS tags to under 18s. This will complete nationally in March this year.

To tackle offending fuelled by alcohol, we are introducing sobriety tags, increasing our electronic monitoring capabilities and our ability to manage offenders in the community effectively.

14 Jan 2020, 4:51 p.m. Law Centres: Finance Feryal Clark

Question to the Ministry of Justice

What assessment he has made of the adequacy of funding for Law Centres.

Answer (Wendy Morton)

We recognise the valuable work that Law Centres do in local communities around the country, and we support them in this through both grant funding and through legal aid contracts.

We are also working collaboratively with the sector to explore co-locating piloting co-located support hubs as part of work to explore new, better ways to help people resolve their issues.

My officials continue to meet regularly with representatives of law centres to discuss ways in which we can work together to enhance the breadth of legal support available to everyone in society.

14 Jan 2020, 4:29 p.m. Knives: Crime Sarah Jones

Question to the Ministry of Justice

What assessment he has made of trends in conviction rates for knife possession as a result of the increased use of stop and search.

Answer (Chris Philp)

Knife crime has devastating consequences on families, children and communities and this Government is determined to tackle it by whatever methods we can.

We are catching and prosecuting more people who carry a knife or offensive weapon. Those convicted of carrying knives and other weapons are more likely to go to prison and for longer than at any point in the last ten years.

14 Jan 2020, 4:28 p.m. Debt Collection: Enforcement Justin Madders

Question to the Ministry of Justice

When he plans to publish his Department's response to the Review of enforcement agent (bailiff) reforms: call for evidence, which closed on 17 February 2019.

Answer (Chris Philp)

In a Statement to the House of 22 July 2019, the Government set out its initial response to the call for evidence on the enforcement agent reforms.

We intend to make body-worn cameras for private enforcement agents mandatory and to make improvements to the complaints process. We are also considering strengthening regulation of the industry.

My officials have since met further with a range of stakeholders. We will respond in full to the call for evidence in due course.

14 Jan 2020, 4:26 p.m. Burglary: Sentencing Mr Laurence Robertson

Question to the Ministry of Justice

If he will increase the length of sentences handed down for burglary offences.

Answer (Chris Philp)

Sentencing in individual cases is a matter for our independent courts, taking into account the particular circumstances of the offence and offender, and following any relevant sentencing guidelines.

Over the last ten years, the average custodial sentence lengths for all forms of burglary have increased.

7 Jan 2020, 4:09 p.m. Marriage Baroness Cox

Question to the Ministry of Justice

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to amend the Marriage Act 1949 to make it a legal requirement for couples to civilly register their marriage before, or at the same time as, their religious ceremony.

Answer (Lord Keen of Elie)

The law has long made provision for couples, including Muslim couples, to marry in their place of worship in a way that gives them legal rights and protections. The Government shares the concern that some people may nonetheless marry in a way that does not, and without appreciating the consequences.

The independent Sharia review has recommended an offence apply to religious celebrants marrying in a ceremonythat is outside the ambit of the Marriage Acts.. Any legislative proposal, including such an offence, must be thoroughly assessed for its fairness to all religious groups and for how far it could achieve the change of practice intended. That is why it is with the greatest care that the Government is continuing the exploration of both limited reform and non-legislative options that it began in detail in the spring.

Separately from this exploration, the Law Commission has begun its weddings project. It will make recommendations for how the wider law on getting married in England and Wales can be systematically reformed in a way that is simple, fair and consistent.