Ministry of Justice

All 10 Written Questions max 10 shown

Date Title Questioner
5 Nov 2019, 5:07 p.m. Ministry of Justice: Honours Seema Malhotra

Question to the Ministry of Justice

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what proportion of staff in his Department in receipt of each category of Honour in (a) December 2018 and (b) June 2019 were (i) from ethnic minority backgrounds and (ii) female aged (A) under 30, (B) 31 to 40, (C) 41 to 50 and (D) aged over 50.

Answer (Chris Philp)

The Government is committed to ensuring that the honours system is fully representative of UK society. The proportion of women and people from ethnic minorities receiving recognition on each honours list is available on GOV.UK as is a breakdown of ethnicities of recipients is published on the Ethnicity Facts and Figures website at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/honours-recipients-by-ethnicity

Information on ages is not correlated with other diversity factors. We also publish the proportion of honours by independent committee on GOV.UK. The numbers of honours recipients in the Ministry of Justice are very small and vary from year to year. Releasing the requested data would identify the individuals and they have given permission for their data to be used for statistical purposes only.

28 Oct 2019, 5:31 p.m. Witnesses Richard Burgon

Question to the Ministry of Justice

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many witnesses have received support from the court-based witness service in each year since 2010.

Answer (Wendy Morton)

This Government is committed to ensuring that both prosecution and defence witnesses receive timely and effective emotional and practical support to help them give their best evidence in criminal courts in England and Wales.

The number of witnesses who have received support from the Ministry of Justice grant funded court based Witness Service since 2010 (data available pre-2013 is rounded data) as reported by the provider is set out in the table below.:

Year

Number of witnesses supported

Provider

2010/11

268,000

Victim Support

2011/12

240,000

Victim Support

2012/13

204,000

Victim Support

2013/14

198,872

Victim Support

2014/15

193,048

Victim Support

2015/16

178,320

Citizens Advice

2016/17

156,407

Citizens Advice

2017/18

148,592

Citizens Advice

2018/19

125,124

Citizens Advice

28 Oct 2019, 5:24 p.m. Prisons: Private Sector Mr Bob Seely

Question to the Ministry of Justice

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of ending private sector involvement in the prison system.

Answer (Lucy Frazer)

We remain committed to a role for the private sector in operating custodial services. I have not made any assessment of the cost associated with the ending of private sector involvement in the prison system.

The Government believes that the private sector has an important role to play in delivering custodial services in England and Wales, and currently runs some high-performing prisons, in the delivery of an estate which is both decent and secure.

We believe that competition can deliver improvements to service quality, encourage innovation, secure capital investment, and achieve value for money.

28 Oct 2019, 5:23 p.m. Prisons: Overcrowding Steve McCabe

Question to the Ministry of Justice

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what recent assessment his Department has made of the effect of overcrowding in prisons on rates of recidivism.

Answer (Lucy Frazer)

We are committed to ensuring offenders leaving prison have the tools they need to turn their backs on crime - reducing reoffending and ultimately keeping the public safe.

There is currently little evidence of a direct link between overcrowding and recidivism.

Evidence on what works to reduce reoffending suggests that having a job and a home on release from prison are key factors, among others. There is a concerted cross-government effort to reduce reoffending. We recently announced a National Partnership Agreement with DWP, which sets out how the departments will jointly drive rehabilitation and reduce reoffending. We also continue to work closely with our health and justice partners, and are collaborating with MHCLG and local authorities on our offender accommodation pilots. One year ago, we also published our Education and Employment strategy, which set out how we will transform our approach to ensure prisoners develop the skills they need to secure employment on release.

More examples of criminogenic needs that influence reoffending can be found at the following link: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/305319/transforming-rehabilitation-evidence-summary-2nd-edition.pdf

8 Oct 2019, 4:28 p.m. Reoffenders Stephen McPartland

Question to the Ministry of Justice

What plans he has to help reduce reoffending.

Answer (Lucy Frazer)

This Government is committed to reducing reoffending by ensuring that all offenders have the tools they need to turn their backs on crime.

That is why we are focusing our efforts on supporting offenders to address any health and wellbeing issues; raise their levels of educations attainment and skills; get a job; and rebuild or reinforce their relationships.

We also know that a concerted cross-government effort is required to address reoffending. For example we recently entered into a National Partnership Agreement with the Department for Work and Pensions, to set out how departments will work together to improve offenders’ chances of securing work and integrate into the community on release from prison.

We know that in 39% of violent incidents victims believed alcohol was a factor. We are introducing an Alcohol Abstinence and Monitoring Requirement, giving courts the power to impose a ban on drinking alcohol as part of a community order where alcohol was a factor in the offending.

8 Oct 2019, 4:28 p.m. Members: Juries Bill Wiggin

Question to the Ministry of Justice

What plans he has to bring forward legislative proposals to ensure that hon. Members are not prevented from participating in business in the House due to jury service responsibilities.

Answer (Chris Philp)

Trial by jury is fundamental to our world leading justice system and serving as a juror is one of the most important civic duties that anyone can be asked to perform.

The Jury Manual identifies that MPs who seek excusal on the grounds of parliamentary duties should be deferred in the first instance. This allows them to identify a more convenient time and strikes a sensible balance, ensuring that MPs are able to carry out their crucial role in this place.

If an MP feels that it is inappropriate to serve in his own constituency, he or she should be allowed to serve elsewhere.

Any individual requests for jury service to be deferred would be a matter for our independent judiciary

8 Oct 2019, 4:27 p.m. Prison Accommodation John Lamont

Question to the Ministry of Justice

What steps his Department is taking to increase prison capacity.

Answer (Lucy Frazer)

The Prime Minister has made clear his focus on tackling crime and announced in August an investment of up to £2.5 billion to transform the prison estate and provide 10,000 additional prison places.

Our recent Spending Round settlement provides the funding for MoJ to begin delivering this commitment and outline planning permission has been approved for a new prison at Full Sutton.

The 10,000 places are additional to the 3,500 places, which we have begun at Wellingborough; that we will start building at Glen Parva next year, and; that we have already built at HMP Stocken.

8 Oct 2019, 4:25 p.m. Prisons: Drugs Paula Sherriff

Question to the Ministry of Justice

What recent assessment he has made of trends in the level of drugs being smuggled into prisons.

Answer (Lucy Frazer)

One of the first things the Lord Chancellor did was to visit HMP Leeds with the Prime Minister where they set out our focus on tackling crime, investing up to £2.5 billion transforming the prison estate and providing 10,000 additional prison places.

At HMP Leeds there is an X-ray body scanner installed there to identify items internally concealed on prisoners. HMP Wakefield also has an X-ray body scanner. At HMP New Hall in our women’s estate, the drug threat is different and staff there have worked hard to respond to the inspection report published in April. They have put in place an updated local drug strategy, do more suspicion-led drug testing and store medications in line with clinical guidelines.

We have previously invested £70 million to improve safety, security and decency in prisons. We use body, property, cell and area searches across the estate, aided by dedicated search teams and drug detection dogs.

As announced in August, we will be spending a further £100 million on prison security. Airport-style security, including X-ray scanners, will be put into prisons across the estate to help stop contraband such as drugs from getting in.

8 Oct 2019, 4:21 p.m. Rule of Law Mr Gavin Shuker

Question to the Ministry of Justice

What recent discussions he has had with the Prime Minister on the rule of law.

Answer (Chris Philp)

The Prime Minister and Lord Chancellor meet regularly and discuss a range of matters. The Lord Chancellor has sworn an oath to respect the rule of law and to defend the judiciary. It is an oath he takes very seriously. The government will always abide by the law.

8 Oct 2019, 4:20 p.m. Reoffenders: Prison Sentences Jeff Smith

Question to the Ministry of Justice

What assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of sentences of less than six months in reducing reoffending.

Answer (Chris Philp)

Sentencing must match the severity of the crime. Whilst there is evidence that short sentences do not help some offenders turn their backs on crime, protecting the public will always be our priority.

As part of our recent review, we have considered changes to sentencing for prolific offenders which could help break the cycle of reoffending.

We know that these offenders generally have multiple and complex needs which are linked to their offending behaviour, in particular drugs, alcohol and mental health needs. Solutions will often lie in effective community sentences.

We intend to bring forward a comprehensive package of reforms, including to community penalties to ensure they both punish and tackle the underlying drivers of offending.