Written Question
Administration of Justice
9 Jul 2020, 5:40 p.m.

Questioner: Lord German

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by Lord Keen of Elie on 29 June (HL Deb, col 464), when they expect to publish their White Paper on community justice and sentencing.

Answer (Lord Keen of Elie)

We intend to publish a Sentencing White Paper this year ahead of legislating next year.


Written Question
Legal Representation: Coronavirus
9 Jul 2020, 5:36 p.m.

Questioner: Ms Lyn Brown

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what plans his Department has to improve access for legal representatives to clients in custody during the relaxation of regime restrictions on the custodial estate in England and Wales.

Answer (Lucy Frazer)

Alongside the closure of courts, the government suspended all but exceptional visits to prisons in March 2020. This was to ensure the safety of both prisoners and our staff through the pandemic.

HM Courts and Tribunal Service and HM Prison and Probation Service are working closely to reduce the backlog of court cases. As a result, crime recovery work is now moving at pace and we are operating jury trials in 41 crown courts. This has been a significant achievement, involving close working with public health partners. Further crown courts will be resuming jury trials throughout the course of this month. Throughout the pandemic, crown courts have continued to deal with pre-trial preparation hearings, case management and sentencing custody cases, among other hearings.

Despite the absence of physical visits, prisoners do maintain the right to access legal advice, and we have looked to ensure that prisoners continue to have the tools to make contact with their legal representatives via telephone, video link or written correspondence.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic we have enhanced the capability of prison videoconferencing facilities, particularly to support priority court work such as sentencing hearings and prisoners approaching their parole hearing dates. We have made use of the additional 1,250 mobile phones issued to prisons without in-cell telephony in order to facilitate private conversations with legal advisors, alongside encouraging governors to ensure prisoners can have conversations with their representatives in confidence.

We are also taking steps to increase the available capacity of video conferencing across the estate through increased operating hours to include longer hours during the weekdays, and at some locations on Saturdays. This will sit alongside renewed guidance to all governors on the importance of making sure that adequate time for legal advice is made available to prisoners where possible. Alongside this work, we are increasing the physical number of video link outlets at some critical sites where capacity is limited, as well as to support specialist courts, including youth and women’s prisons, together with the re-purposing of some unused spaces within prisons for more video link capacity.

As stated in our National Framework for recovery in prisons, we are adapting aspects of prison regime, in consultation with trade unions and health partners, to restart key services. We are consulting representatives of the legal profession on the resumption of legal visits so that they can resume in a safe manner.

The measures set out above seek to minimise potential delays or adjournments due to defence counsel being unable to receive instructions from their clients and therefore minimise the impact on victims caused by delays in their cases being heard in court.


Written Question
Administration of Justice: Coronavirus
9 Jul 2020, 5:36 p.m.

Questioner: Ms Lyn Brown

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the effect on access to timely justice for victims of limits on access for legal representatives to clients in custody as a result of the restricted regime on the custodial estate in England and Wales.

Answer (Lucy Frazer)

Alongside the closure of courts, the government suspended all but exceptional visits to prisons in March 2020. This was to ensure the safety of both prisoners and our staff through the pandemic.

HM Courts and Tribunal Service and HM Prison and Probation Service are working closely to reduce the backlog of court cases. As a result, crime recovery work is now moving at pace and we are operating jury trials in 41 crown courts. This has been a significant achievement, involving close working with public health partners. Further crown courts will be resuming jury trials throughout the course of this month. Throughout the pandemic, crown courts have continued to deal with pre-trial preparation hearings, case management and sentencing custody cases, among other hearings.

Despite the absence of physical visits, prisoners do maintain the right to access legal advice, and we have looked to ensure that prisoners continue to have the tools to make contact with their legal representatives via telephone, video link or written correspondence.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic we have enhanced the capability of prison videoconferencing facilities, particularly to support priority court work such as sentencing hearings and prisoners approaching their parole hearing dates. We have made use of the additional 1,250 mobile phones issued to prisons without in-cell telephony in order to facilitate private conversations with legal advisors, alongside encouraging governors to ensure prisoners can have conversations with their representatives in confidence.

We are also taking steps to increase the available capacity of video conferencing across the estate through increased operating hours to include longer hours during the weekdays, and at some locations on Saturdays. This will sit alongside renewed guidance to all governors on the importance of making sure that adequate time for legal advice is made available to prisoners where possible. Alongside this work, we are increasing the physical number of video link outlets at some critical sites where capacity is limited, as well as to support specialist courts, including youth and women’s prisons, together with the re-purposing of some unused spaces within prisons for more video link capacity.

As stated in our National Framework for recovery in prisons, we are adapting aspects of prison regime, in consultation with trade unions and health partners, to restart key services. We are consulting representatives of the legal profession on the resumption of legal visits so that they can resume in a safe manner.

The measures set out above seek to minimise potential delays or adjournments due to defence counsel being unable to receive instructions from their clients and therefore minimise the impact on victims caused by delays in their cases being heard in court.


Written Question
Courts: Coronavirus
9 Jul 2020, 5:36 p.m.

Questioner: Ms Lyn Brown

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the effect on the backlog of criminal cases in the courts of limits on access for legal representatives to clients in custody as a result of the restricted regime on the custodial estate in England and Wales.

Answer (Lucy Frazer)

Alongside the closure of courts, the government suspended all but exceptional visits to prisons in March 2020. This was to ensure the safety of both prisoners and our staff through the pandemic.

HM Courts and Tribunal Service and HM Prison and Probation Service are working closely to reduce the backlog of court cases. As a result, crime recovery work is now moving at pace and we are operating jury trials in 41 crown courts. This has been a significant achievement, involving close working with public health partners. Further crown courts will be resuming jury trials throughout the course of this month. Throughout the pandemic, crown courts have continued to deal with pre-trial preparation hearings, case management and sentencing custody cases, among other hearings.

Despite the absence of physical visits, prisoners do maintain the right to access legal advice, and we have looked to ensure that prisoners continue to have the tools to make contact with their legal representatives via telephone, video link or written correspondence.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic we have enhanced the capability of prison videoconferencing facilities, particularly to support priority court work such as sentencing hearings and prisoners approaching their parole hearing dates. We have made use of the additional 1,250 mobile phones issued to prisons without in-cell telephony in order to facilitate private conversations with legal advisors, alongside encouraging governors to ensure prisoners can have conversations with their representatives in confidence.

We are also taking steps to increase the available capacity of video conferencing across the estate through increased operating hours to include longer hours during the weekdays, and at some locations on Saturdays. This will sit alongside renewed guidance to all governors on the importance of making sure that adequate time for legal advice is made available to prisoners where possible. Alongside this work, we are increasing the physical number of video link outlets at some critical sites where capacity is limited, as well as to support specialist courts, including youth and women’s prisons, together with the re-purposing of some unused spaces within prisons for more video link capacity.

As stated in our National Framework for recovery in prisons, we are adapting aspects of prison regime, in consultation with trade unions and health partners, to restart key services. We are consulting representatives of the legal profession on the resumption of legal visits so that they can resume in a safe manner.

The measures set out above seek to minimise potential delays or adjournments due to defence counsel being unable to receive instructions from their clients and therefore minimise the impact on victims caused by delays in their cases being heard in court.


Written Question
Immigration
9 Jul 2020, 5:32 p.m.

Questioner: Sir John Hayes

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many convictions there were in Magistrates' and Crown courts for all the offences mentioned in section 24 of the Immigration Act 1971 in each of the last five years.

Answer (Chris Philp)

The Ministry of Justice has published information on convictions at offence level up to December 2019. The number of convictions for offences under section 24 of the Immigration Act 1971 at all courts can be found in the ‘Principal offence proceedings and outcomes by Home Office offence code data tool’, available here:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/888344/HO-code-tool-principal-offence-2019.xlsx

In the pivot table, filter the Offence code field to the following Home Office offence codes:

07804 Non-British citizen, by means including deception, obtaining or seeking leave to enter or remain in the UK or postponement, avoidance or revocation of enforcement action against him

19401 Non-citizen entering UK in breach of a deportation order

19402 Non-citizen entering UK without leave

19403 Non-citizen having only a limited leave remaining in UK beyond the time limit.

19404 Non-citizen failing to observe conditions of leave

19405 Non-citizen entering United Kingdom as a member of a crew of a ship or aircraft and who is required to leave on the ship or aircraft remaining in the United Kingdom beyond the time allowed

19406 Non-citizen failing to comply with requirements to report to a medical officer or to submit to a test or examination required by such an officer

19407 Non-citizen failing to observe any restrictions as to residence or to reporting to police or an immigration officer

19408 Non-citizen disembarking in the United Kingdom from a ship or aircraft after being placed on board with a view to removal from United Kingdom

19409 Non-citizen embarking in contravention of a restriction imposed by Order in Council

Convictions can be found in row 32 of the pivot table. If an offence code does not appear in the drop-down box then there were no prosecutions or convictions for that particular offence in the time period covered by the table.

The figures given in the pivot table relate to defendants for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences it is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe.


Written Question
Juries: Training
9 Jul 2020, 5:24 p.m.

Questioner: Mrs Emma Lewell-Buck

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what training juries receive on dealing with historical sexual abuse cases; and how regularly that training is provided.

Answer (Alex Chalk)

Juries are randomly selected, independent and make decisions purely on the basis of the facts presented to them by the prosecution and defence. Jury members receive no advice or training prior to being called to serve on any case. However, they are guided and supported by the trial judge who advises them on the relevant points of law and reminds them of their role. Judges hearing serious sex offence cases are required to have specialist training.

There is guidance provided to judges in the Crown Court Compendium (a publicly available document) as to what directions may be given to juries in appropriate circumstances. This includes guidance on how to advise juries in serious sexual offence cases.

https://www.judiciary.uk/publications/crown-court-compendium-published/


Written Question
ICT
9 Jul 2020, 5:21 p.m.

Questioner: Chi Onwurah

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether he has made an assessment of the implications for the 1999 presumption in law that computer systems are working properly of the (a) changes since 1999 in the design, operation and ubiquity of computer systems and (b) Post Office Horizon scandal.

Answer (Alex Chalk)

We do not intend to review the presumption as it has wide application. However, it is impossible to ignore the impact that the dispute over the Horizon Accounting System and the subsequent litigation process has had on the postmasters affected. Post Office Limited (POL) has accepted that it got things wrong in the past in its dealings with a number of postmasters and has apologised.

This Government is committed to ensuring that this apology is only the start of a process that leads to real change in the Post Office so that this situation can never be repeated.  That is the purpose of the Independent Review that Minister Paul Scully MP announced on Wednesday 10 June. The Government wants to be fully assured that the right lessons are learned for the future and concrete changes have taken place at Post Office Limited.


Written Question
Employment Tribunals Service: Fees and Charges
9 Jul 2020, 4:49 p.m.

Questioner: Imran Hussain

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, pursuant to the Answer of 6 July 2020 to Question 66875, if his Department will publish all correspondence between his Department and the Law Commission relating to tribunal fees from 26 July 2017.

Answer (Chris Philp)

The Ministry of Justice holds regular discussions with many organisations, including the Law Commission, about various policy areas. We do not routinely publish internal discussions between Government and other organisations, such as the Law Commission.


Written Question
Coronavirus Act 2020
9 Jul 2020, 4:47 p.m.

Questioner: Chi Onwurah

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many prosecutions there have been under the Coronavirus Act 2020; and how many and what proportion of those prosecutions were subsequently (a) withdrawn and (b) overturned.

Answer (Chris Philp)

National Statistics on prosecutions and convictions for the first and second quarter of 2020 are due for publication in August and November 2020, with detailed offence level data for the whole of 2020 planned for publication in May 2021. Our statisticians are currently considering what suitable data from court management information systems could be gathered and prioritised for quality assurance and publication before then related to Covid-19 impacts, including potentially prosecutions for offences under the act. They will notify users through regular statistical publications.


Written Question
Tribunals: Coronavirus
9 Jul 2020, 4:42 p.m.

Questioner: John Spellar

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what the Government's timescale is for allowing tribunals to sit as the covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

Answer (Chris Philp)

Tribunals have continued to sit during the covid-19 lockdown restrictions by making use of online and remote technology to hear cases and ensure continued access to justice for users. Face to face hearings are now starting to resume where it is safe to do so in line with comprehensive and ongoing risk assessments.

Having responded effectively to the immediate crisis, HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) is now fully focused on recovering its operations to increase courts and tribunals capacity to deal both with normal workloads across jurisdictions and outstanding cases. HMCTS has recently published a progress update on its recovery plans.

assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/896779/HMCTS368_recovery_-_COVID-19-_Overview_of_HMCTS_response_A4L_v3.pdf


Written Question
Juries: Coronavirus
8 Jul 2020, 3:56 p.m.

Questioner: Liz Saville Roberts

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether his Department plans to suspend temporarily the right to trial by jury to tackle the backlog of cases as a result of the covid-19 outbreak; and whether his Department would be required to conduct an impact assessment before introducing that suspension.

Answer (Chris Philp)

We have now published our court recovery plan, setting out how we are recovering the operations of our courts and tribunals after the pandemic and a more detailed criminal court recovery plan will follow. We are continuing to increase capacity.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/court-and-tribunal-recovery-update-in-response-to-coronavirus

We have no plans to remove the right to a trial by jury, something which I am deeply committed to.


Written Question
Sexual Offences: Trials
8 Jul 2020, 3:53 p.m.

Questioner: Mrs Emma Lewell-Buck

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what his Department's policy in on the use of character witnesses during trials for (a) victims and (b) perpetrators of historical sexual abuse.

Answer (Chris Philp)

In criminal trials, including of offences of historical sexual abuse, rules of evidence do not permit the Crown to call evidence of the good character of a prosecution witness in order to bolster their credibility. The law assumes victims to be truthful and credible, and restricts the ways in which their veracity and credibility can be challenged by the defence; evidence of a victim’s good character is therefore not relevant to what is in issue, and is not admissible.

Defendants also are assumed to be of good character unless there is evidence to the contrary. Where the prosecution does rely on bad character evidence against the defendant (and there are fewer restrictions on the admissibility of evidence of a defendant’s alleged bad character than there are in relation to a witness’ bad character), then character evidence might be relevant to contradict it.


Written Question
Employment Tribunals Service: Ethnic Groups
7 Jul 2020, 5:25 p.m.

Questioner: Imran Hussain

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many and what proportion of employment tribunal claims were successful in each of the last five years; and what proportion of those claimants came from each ethnic group.

Answer (Chris Philp)

HM Courts & Tribunals Service does not hold the data being requested.

The official statistics can provide information on the percentage of cases successful at hearing but they are not separated by ethnic group.

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/tribunals-statistics


Written Question
Ministry of Justice: Coronavirus
7 Jul 2020, 5:24 p.m.

Questioner: John McDonnell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to Procurement Policy Note 04/20: Recovery and Transition from COVID-19, published on 9 June 2020, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of maintaining the provision of contractual relief as a result of covid-19 in line with Procurement Policy Notice 02/20; which (a) companies and (b) work areas will be affected by changes to that contractual relief; and what the timeframe is for proposals to change that contractual relief.

Answer (Chris Philp)

The Ministry of Justice has reviewed Procurement Policy Note 04/20 and maintenance of the provisions within that will continue to be provided as appropriate and on a case by case basis. We will continue to monitor the suppliers currently in receipt of the relief under the measures and we are working with them on individual transition plans to move out of the relief period by the end of October as set out in the Policy Note.
The Department is working closely with suppliers that are not currently in receipt of any relief measures to provide support and avoid them getting into any financial difficulty.
The Department considers the identity and category of those suppliers in receipt of the relief measure to be commercially sensitive information.


Written Question
Prison Accommodation
7 Jul 2020, 5:22 p.m.

Questioner: Ms Lyn Brown

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to the 27 January 2020 report of the Comptroller and Auditor General entitled Improving the Prison Estate, what estimate he has made of the number of prison places that will be lost in the next five years as a result of estate disrepair.

Answer (Lucy Frazer)

As stated in the Comptroller and Auditor General’s report, the Ministry estimates that currently approximately 500 places are lost permanently each year due to deterioration in the material fabric of the estate. This is based on the average losses of places that the prison estate has experienced over the last few years, on the assumption that funding levels do not increase significantly beyond those seen over the period.

This estimate of capacity loss is kept under review to reflect developments in the prison estate, including levels of investment and maintenance.

We have secured an additional £156 million for financial year 2020/21, which will be targeted at addressing some of the most urgent maintenance issues across the prison estate.

In addition, one thousand temporary cells are in the process of being installed across the estate. This will allow the Prison Service to increase capacity and help to speed up maintenance by enabling us to close places, in order to carry out refurbishment work more quickly


Written Question
Prisoners' Release: Coronavirus
7 Jul 2020, 5:21 p.m.

Questioner: Ms Lyn Brown

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what information his Department holds on new community cases of covid-19 resulting from infected prison leavers.

Answer (Lucy Frazer)

The Ministry of Justice does not hold the information requested.


Written Question
Prisons: Coronavirus
7 Jul 2020, 5:19 p.m.

Questioner: Ms Lyn Brown

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many prisoners have been diverted to another custodial facility during (a) transfers and (b) new entrances as a result of limited capacity in the reverse cohorting unit of the initially intended facility in each week since the cohorting strategy was introduced.

Answer (Lucy Frazer)

The Government acted quickly to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in prisons by implementing restricted regimes to comply with national social distancing guidance and limiting inter-prison transfers. Prisons have also implemented a ‘compartmentalisation’ strategy to isolate the sick, shield the vulnerable and quarantine new arrivals. Latest public health advice suggests these measures have limited the spread of the virus and minimised the number of deaths.

The decision as to where prisoners are transferred following a court appearance is managed by HMPPS. When local prisons have insufficient capacity in their reverse cohorting units to accept all prisoners from their assigned court(s) for that day, prisoners are diverted to another local prison where space is available in their reverse cohorting unit.In all cases, the receiving prison will always be suitable to manage the requirements of a newly remanded or convicted prisoner.

The table below shows the number of prisoners since 01st April who, rather than being taken to the local prison assigned to the court where their hearing was held, were diverted to another local prison where space was available in their reverse cohorting unit.

April

May

June

Total

Total number of prisoners who, following a court appearance were diverted to another prison where space was available in their Reverse Cohorting Unit

1377

715

452

2544

Since 31 March, all inter-prison transfers have required approval by the HMPPS command structure before any transfer has taken place. Decisions to approve transfer take into account the available capacity in reverse cohorting units to ensure any prisoner transferred, can be held separately from the remainder of the general population in their new prison for 14 days. As such, there have been no prisoners diverted to another prison as a result of limited capacity in the reverse cohorting unit of the initially intended prison.


Written Question
Family Proceedings: Mediation
7 Jul 2020, 5:11 p.m.

Questioner: Thangam Debbonaire

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the recommendations of the Family Mediation Council of 6 May 2020 on the diversion of potential litigants away from the Court system to Family Alternative Dispute Resolution options.

Answer (Alex Chalk)

It can be a difficult time for families and parents, with Covid-19 placing relationships under additional pressures. Mediation can play an important role in helping families resolve conflict in the best interests of their children without the need to come to court. We are committed to championing mediation as an alternative to court for suitable families and are grateful for the FMC for their proposals. We welcome the chance to work closely with the sector, to improve outcomes for families, and manage demand in court through the promotion of alternative dispute resolution.


Written Question
Child Arrangement Orders: Coronavirus
7 Jul 2020, 3:11 p.m.

Questioner: Catherine West

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps his Department has taken to help ensure that HM Courts and Tribunal Service respond to applications for courts to to enforce child Arrangement orders within a reasonable time frame during the covid-19 outbreak.

Answer (Alex Cunningham)

HM Courts and Tribunals Service is working closely with the Judiciary and family justice agencies to ensure that urgent cases are prioritised. The greater use of audio and video technology for family hearings, where appropriate, has ensured that enforcement applications can continue to be heard.

How enforcement applications are dealt with is a judicial decision and the senior judiciary has issued the following guidance:

https://www.judiciary.uk/announcements/coronavirus-crisis-guidance-on-compliance-with-family-court-child-arrangement-orders/


Written Question
Treatment Of, and Outcomes For, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Individuals in the Criminal Justice System Independent Review
7 Jul 2020, 3:06 p.m.

Questioner: Ms Lyn Brown

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to Tackling Racial Disparity in the Criminal Justice System: 2020 Update, published in February 2020, what recent assessment he has made of the degree of implementation of Lammy Review recommendations (a) 28 and (b) 29 in private prisons in England and Wales.

Answer (Alex Chalk)

The Government is committed to advancing each recommendation of the Review in some way. Where a recommendation cannot be implemented in full or exactly as set out, alternative approaches have been sought to achieve the same aim. The Government’s response has also identified actions going beyond the Review’s recommendations. Progress on recommendations and additional actions, and decisions on other areas of disparity where the principle of “explain or change” needs to apply, are overseen by a CJS Race and Ethnicity Board. The Board was created in response to the Review.

The Government provided a detailed public update on progress against each of the 35 recommendations of the Lammy Review, and the other related activities, in February 2020 in the “Tackling racial disparity in the Criminal Justice System” update: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/tackling-racial-disparity-in-the-criminal-justice-system-2020.

Private prison providers are conscious of the importance of a representative work force. Local demographics are individual to each establishment depending on their location. Providers continue to consider BAME opportunities in recruitment drives and onsite race and diversity committees are consulted in relation to BAME issues. As with all report recommendations, the controller teams on site, who manage performance at each privately managed prison, continue to monitor the progress of provider action in this area.


Written Question
Prisoners: Exploitation
7 Jul 2020, 12:13 p.m.

Questioner: Ms Lyn Brown

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many and what proportion of prisoners in (a) adult male, (b) adult female and (c) youth custodial facilities have a (i) history of exploitation through modern slavery, (ii) history of child criminal exploitation, and (iii) National Referral Mechanism referral.

Answer (Lucy Frazer)

The information requested is not collated or held by the Ministry of Justice.

There is an assessment process for offenders upon arrival into custody where this information may be divulged voluntarily. Numerous support services are available through local prison mechanisms.

A Mental Support Health Programme is currently in the process of rollout via the Prison Radio network, and National Referral Mechanism training will be offered to all prison and probation staff, along with an accessible e-learning package.

Data regarding the National Referral Mechanism can be found via the link below, however these statistics are the responsibility of the Home Office: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/national-referral-mechanism-statistics


Written Question
Prisoners' Release
7 Jul 2020, 12:08 p.m.

Questioner: Ms Lyn Brown

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the effect of extended periods under a restricted regime prior to release on the (a) mental health, (b) physical health, (c) relationship with families and others, and (d) prospects for employment of prison leavers.

Answer (Lucy Frazer)

The Government takes the mental health and wellbeing of prisoners very seriously. We recognise that anxieties regarding Covid-19 and the regime restrictions required for infection control may exacerbate mental health needs and increase the risk of self-harm among prisoners, we are continuing to work to mitigate this as far as possible.

In response to Covid-19, visits have unfortunately been suspended and people in prison are spending more time in their cells. They are, however, being given access to services including telephone contact with loved ones, access to health services and where possible time in the open air. The Samaritans phone service is being kept available at this time, and we are working with the Samaritans to ensure that the Listener peer support scheme continues to function effectively. We are continuing to provide care and support to people at risk of self-harm or suicide through ACCT (Assessment, Care in Custody and Teamwork) case management. For those with severe mental health issues, we are doing everything we can to ensure that the process for referral, assessment and transfer to mental health hospitals continues in as normal a way as possible.

As of week commencing 23rd March, all Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) have been operating under the obligations within their Exceptional Delivery Models (EDM). As a result CRCs have adapted to an alternative way of working, albeit on a temporary basis, in order to adhere to the social distancing measures announced by the Prime Minister. All CRCs have a responsibility to ensure the health and wellbeing of their service users during the pandemic. The EDMs are subject to robust assurance and compliance activities, which are carried out by the Authority on a regular basis to ensure that CRCs continue to operate to their contracted obligations and continue to deliver front line probation services to protect the public.

We have invested an additional £22m per annum over the remaining life of the CRC contracts to deliver an enhanced Through the Gate resettlement service to people leaving prison to prepare them for release. The enhanced service includes the requirement that CRCs complete specific, tailored, tasks to help prisoners to secure and maintain settled accommodation, gain employment and manage debt and their financial affairs. During the Covid period most of this support is being provided remotely after CRCs invested in greater use of mobile technology to maintain levels of contact with offenders in the community in a safe and efficient manner. After a prison sentence, service users are supervised and supported by Probation Officers in the Community.


Written Question
Prisoners' Release: Coronavirus
7 Jul 2020, 12:08 p.m.

Questioner: Ms Lyn Brown

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of the the provision of (a) mental health support and (b) other forms of personal advice and support for prison leavers on release during the covid-19 outbreak.

Answer (Lucy Frazer)

The Government takes the mental health and wellbeing of prisoners very seriously. We recognise that anxieties regarding Covid-19 and the regime restrictions required for infection control may exacerbate mental health needs and increase the risk of self-harm among prisoners, we are continuing to work to mitigate this as far as possible.

In response to Covid-19, visits have unfortunately been suspended and people in prison are spending more time in their cells. They are, however, being given access to services including telephone contact with loved ones, access to health services and where possible time in the open air. The Samaritans phone service is being kept available at this time, and we are working with the Samaritans to ensure that the Listener peer support scheme continues to function effectively. We are continuing to provide care and support to people at risk of self-harm or suicide through ACCT (Assessment, Care in Custody and Teamwork) case management. For those with severe mental health issues, we are doing everything we can to ensure that the process for referral, assessment and transfer to mental health hospitals continues in as normal a way as possible.

As of week commencing 23rd March, all Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) have been operating under the obligations within their Exceptional Delivery Models (EDM). As a result CRCs have adapted to an alternative way of working, albeit on a temporary basis, in order to adhere to the social distancing measures announced by the Prime Minister. All CRCs have a responsibility to ensure the health and wellbeing of their service users during the pandemic. The EDMs are subject to robust assurance and compliance activities, which are carried out by the Authority on a regular basis to ensure that CRCs continue to operate to their contracted obligations and continue to deliver front line probation services to protect the public.

We have invested an additional £22m per annum over the remaining life of the CRC contracts to deliver an enhanced Through the Gate resettlement service to people leaving prison to prepare them for release. The enhanced service includes the requirement that CRCs complete specific, tailored, tasks to help prisoners to secure and maintain settled accommodation, gain employment and manage debt and their financial affairs. During the Covid period most of this support is being provided remotely after CRCs invested in greater use of mobile technology to maintain levels of contact with offenders in the community in a safe and efficient manner. After a prison sentence, service users are supervised and supported by Probation Officers in the Community.


Written Question
Probation
7 Jul 2020, 12:06 p.m.

Questioner: Paul Holmes

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of adopting a trauma-informed approach within the probation service.

Answer (Lucy Frazer)

HM Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) understands that experiences of violence, abuse and trauma are common in the lives of offenders and that this can impact on reoffending and rehabilitation. Recognising there is a greater prevalence of trauma amongst women, staff working with female offenders across Prison and Probation services have adopted trauma-informed approaches following the rollout of briefing materials and toolkits, and consideration will be given to wider rollout following the evaluation of such approaches.


Written Question
Probation
7 Jul 2020, 11:54 a.m.

Questioner: Ms Lyn Brown

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to the Update to the Draft Target Operating Model for Probation Services in England and Wales, what the timescale is for the Effective Interventions Panel to conclude its assessments of Rehabilitation Activity Requirements.

Answer (Lucy Frazer)

As set out in the Target Operating Model for the Future of Probation Services in England and Wales, the National Probation Service will deliver Structured Interventions for lower risk individuals who are not suitable for Accredited Programmes.

The Effective Interventions Panel will be convened in the autumn of 2020 to assess and approve current Rehabilitation Activity Requirements (RARs) to be delivered as Structured Interventions in the future delivery model.

The Panel will use the set of effective interventions principles created by the Correctional Services Accreditation and Advisory Panel (CSAAP) for the assessment of Accredited Programmes, to ensure Structured Interventions are based on evidence of what works in reducing reoffending.

The suite of Structured Interventions which meet the criteria will be included in a Directory of Services for the Judiciary and other partners and stakeholders.