Debates between Carolyn Harris and Lucy Frazer during the 2019 Parliament

Tue 22nd September 2020
5 interactions (359 words)
Tue 14th January 2020
4 interactions (258 words)

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Carolyn Harris and Lucy Frazer
Tuesday 22nd September 2020

(1 year ago)

Commons Chamber

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Ministry of Justice
Lucy Frazer Portrait Lucy Frazer
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22 Sep 2020, 12:08 p.m.

It is vital that we manage the backlog in the courts, and we are doing so across Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service. I am looking closely at the youth estate because it is vital that we ensure that the youth—who are particularly vulnerable and who cannot do as many remote hearings as those in the adult estate—get justice and get it swiftly. We have opened up a number of youth courts and are working hard to ensure that youth justice continues.

Carolyn Harris Portrait Carolyn Harris (Swansea East) (Lab)
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What steps he is taking to improve resettlement for women leaving prison. [906350]

Lucy Frazer Portrait The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lucy Frazer)
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I am very pleased to have spoken regularly to the hon. Lady about residential women’s centres, which are a vital part of the female offender strategy. Her question is about the resettlement of women leaving prison. I hope she is aware that we invested an additional £22 million a year over the remaining life of the community rehabilitation company contracts to deliver an enhanced through-the-gate resettlement service. We also have specific funding for women—we are putting £5 million into community services that help female offenders to address the underlying causes of their criminality—and we recently invested a further £2.5 million to assist in further supporting female offenders. That is currently being distributed via a funding competition, which opened on 6 July.

Carolyn Harris Portrait Carolyn Harris
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The independent monitoring board recently reported that almost 60% of female prisoners are leaving prison to homelessness, which overwhelmingly leads to reoffending. To give these women a chance in life we need an effective through-the-gate strategy, including community support and adequate housing, so can we expect the autumn statement to deliver extra resources to allow that to happen?

Lucy Frazer Portrait Lucy Frazer
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Our statistics are that 4.2% of the female prison releases were to rough sleeping and 14% were released as “other homeless”, but the numbers, whatever they are, are too high. The hon. Lady rightly identifies that we are talking to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and that a spending review is coming up; Members will have heard the Lord Chancellor talking about our absolute commitment, and we will be looking at a number of things—education, employment and tackling homelessness on release.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Carolyn Harris and Lucy Frazer
Tuesday 14th January 2020

(1 year, 9 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Ministry of Justice
Carolyn Harris Portrait Carolyn Harris (Swansea East) (Lab)
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3. What plans his Department has to improve training for people working with perinatal women in custodial settings. [900152]

Lucy Frazer Portrait The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lucy Frazer)
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14 Jan 2020, 11:45 a.m.

I, too, welcome to your place, Mr Speaker.

I know that the hon. Lady is very interested in this very important area and chaired a roundtable that a former Justice Minister attended. It is absolutely right that pregnant women in custody should get the care that they deserve. I hope she will be reassured to know that there is a two-day programme that prison officers can attend to ensure that they get the appropriate training to deal with women in custody who are pregnant. However, we recognise that there are more things that we can do, and before the election was called we had already started a fundamental review of pregnant women in custody and the operation of our mother and baby units.

Carolyn Harris Portrait Carolyn Harris
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14 Jan 2020, 11:46 a.m.

The current review of the operational guidance for the mother and baby units is welcome, but guidance is not enough. Will the Minister agree to meet me and the charity Birth Companions to discuss the recommendations in its new birth charter toolkit and the need for mandatory standards, so that prisons are scrutinised and indeed held to account for perinatal care?

Lucy Frazer Portrait Lucy Frazer
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14 Jan 2020, 11:47 a.m.

I would be happy to meet the hon. Lady, who is very experienced in this issue. Last week I visited HMP Bronzefield where I spoke to people on the mother and baby unit. Birth Companions operates from that prison, but I would be very happy to meet the hon. Lady and take advantage of her expertise.