Ruth Jones Written Questions

7 Questions to Ministry of Justice tabled by Ruth Jones


Date Title Questioner
17 Jun 2020, 5:58 p.m. Prisons: Coronavirus Ruth Jones

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what plans his Department has to introduce mass testing for covid-19 for (a) prisoners and (b) prison staff.

Answer (Lucy Frazer)

We are conducting testing for all consenting staff and prisoners at HMP Littlehey in Cambridgeshire as part of surveillance study to inform future outbreak and infection control within a vulnerable prisoner population.

Further, we will be conducting universal testing of consenting prisoners and staff at 28 prisons across England as part of a surveillance study taken forward in partnership with DHSC, PHE and the University of Southampton. This is one of several studies to be undertaken by the Department of Health and Social Care in England which also includes schools and in the wider community.

11 May 2020, 4:52 p.m. Prison Sentences Ruth Jones

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of sentences of less than six months in reducing reoffending rates.

Answer (Chris Philp)

We are clear that sentencing must match the severity of a crime, and public protection is our priority.

The latest proven reoffending rate for adult offenders released from sentences of six months or less in the quarter January to March 2018 was almost two thirds (64.8%).

If we are to break the cycle of reoffending, solutions will often lie in community sentences, including those which address offenders’ behaviour, answer their mental health and alcohol or drug misuse needs, or provide reparation for the benefit of the wider community. However, sentencers should continue to have the option of imposing a short custodial sentence, where appropriate.

In the Queen’s speech in December, the Government announced plans to introduce new sentencing laws. Ahead of any legislation, we intend to canvass proposals in a White Paper. This will contain proposals for community penalties that offer an appropriate level of punishment, while tackling the underlying drivers of re-offending.

26 Mar 2020, noon Legal Aid Scheme: Civil Proceedings and Low Pay Ruth Jones

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of trends in the level of legal aid available for (a) civil cases and (b) people on low incomes.

Answer (Alex Chalk)

Legal aid statistics are published quarterly, and include assessments of recent and long-term trends. These can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/legal-aid-statistics-quarterly-july-to-september-2019

In February 2019 we published the Post-Implementation review of LASPO to review the effectiveness and accessibility of legal aid in England and Wales. Alongside the PIR, and to tackle the issues raised, we published a Legal Support Action Plan. This set out the government’s vision for the future and set out a number of changes to legal aid and legal support designed to improve the accessibility of legal aid and legal support, particularly for those on low incomes. These changes include a comprehensive review of the legal aid means tests, improvements to the exceptional case funding scheme, the removal of mandatory element of the Civil Legal Advice telephone gateway, and the launch of a campaign to raise awareness of legal support, including legal aid.

25 Mar 2020, 9:43 a.m. Legal Aid Scheme Ruth Jones

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what recent assessment he has made of the (a) effectiveness, (b) accessibility of legal aid in England and Wales.

Answer (Alex Chalk)

In February 2019 we published the LASPO Post-Implementation Review to review the effectiveness and accessibility of legal aid in England and Wales. Alongside this, we published the Legal Support Action Plan which set out the government’s vision for the future and a number of changes to improve access to legal aid in England and Wales. These include a comprehensive review of the legal aid means tests, improvements to the exceptional case funding scheme, the removal of the mandatory element of the Civil Legal Advice telephone gateway, and the launch of a campaign to raise awareness of legal support, including legal aid.

7 Oct 2019, 4:30 p.m. Ministry of Justice: Travel Ruth Jones

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how much his Department spent on ministerial travel by (a) first class, (b) second class and (c) in total in 2018.

Answer (Chris Philp)

In the 2018 calendar year, the ministers’ private offices spend on air and rail travel was:

Air (standard/economy class) – £12,935.60

Air (business/first class) – £4005.60

Rail (standard class) – £16,730.70

Rail (first class) – None

Total - £33,671.90

7 Oct 2019, 3:59 p.m. Ministry of Justice: Travel Ruth Jones

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how much his Department spent on ministerial travel by (a) first class, (b) second class and (c) in total in 2017.

Answer (Chris Philp)

In the 2017 calendar year, the ministers’ private offices spend on air and rail travel was:

Air (standard/economy class) – £8,984.12

Air (business class) – £16,802.00

Rail (standard class) – £18,482.03

Rail (business & premium economy class) – £2,098

Total - £46,366.15

27 Jun 2019, 5:16 p.m. Marriage: Humanism Ruth Jones

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether the Government plans to bring forward legislative proposals on humanist marriages.

Answer (Paul Maynard)

The Government announced in last year’s Budget that it would ask the Law Commission to undertake a wider review of marriage ceremonies. We want to make marriage more accessible and meaningful and give couples greater choice in how they can celebrate their commitment. This includes greater flexibility for different faiths and for non-religious belief organisations.

We have been finalising the terms of reference for the review and will announce these shortly.