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News Archives: Index

October 7, 2010: Probation Set For Industrial Action

October 5, 2010: Turning Prisoners Into Taxpayers

October 4, 2010: Murder Changes Now In Force

September 20, 2010: Probation Programmes Face Cuts

August 24, 2010: Victorian Poor Law Records Online

August 10, 2010: Justice Job Cuts

July 28, 2010: Prison Violence Growing

July 22, 2010: Police Numbers: Latest Figures

July 22, 2010: New Jurisdiction Rules

July 16, 2010: CCJS On Prison And Probation Spending Under Labour

July 15, 2010: Latest Statistics On Violent And Sexual Crime

July 15, 2010: Latest National Crime Figures

July 15, 2010: New Chief Prisons Inspector

July 14, 2010: Hard Times Ahead For Prisons: Anne Owers

July 14, 2010: Prison Does Not Work: Ken Clarke

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform: Sentencing and Rehabilitation

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform Priorities

July 12, 2010: What Price Public Protection, Asks Probation Chief Inspector

July 12, 2010: NOMS has failed, says Napo

July 10, 2010: IPCC To Investigate Death of Raoul Moat

July 9, 2010: Women In Prison: New Report

July 9, 2009: Unjust Deserts: Imprisonment for Public Protection

July 8, 2010: Police Search Powers Change

July 7, 2010: Make 'Legal High' Illegal, Says ACMD

July 2, 2010: Failing Children In Prison

July 2, 2010: Police Buried Under a Blizzard of Guidance: HMIC

July 1, 2010: Freedom To Change The Law?

June 30, 2010: A New Outlook On Penal Reform?

June 30, 2010: Revolving Door Of Offending Must Stop, Says Clarke

June 30, 2010: Ken Clarke: Speech on Criminal Justice Reform

June 29, 2010: No More Police Targets

June 26, 2010: Family Intervention Projects Questioned

June 25, 2010: Cutting Criminal Justice

June 24, 2010: Napo on Sex Offenders Report

June 23, 2010: Closing Courts: The Cuts Begin

June 23, 2010: Strategy To Tackle Gangs

June 15, 2010: Courts and Mentally Disordered Offenders

June 8, 2010: Working With Muslims in Prison

June 1, 2010: Your Chance To Nominate a QC

October 20, 2009: Justice Minister On Prisoner Transfer

Jack Straw, the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, has made a written ministerial statement concerning temporary transfer of prisoners prior to inspections.

"HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, Dame Anne Owers, has today published two inspection reports concerning HMP Pentonville and HMP Wandsworth. The inspections took place in May and June this year."

"A short time after the Wandsworth inspection, letters were sent to the Inspectorate and HMP Wandsworth on behalf of two prisoners, which indicated that prisoners had been temporarily moved out of the prison for the duration of the inspection. The implication of these letters was that the transfers were an attempt to manipulate the inspections to secure a more favourable outcome. The Chief Inspector sent a team of inspectors back to Wandsworth to examine the claims. That team also investigated the involvement of HMP Pentonville, which was said to have received prisoners temporarily from Wandsworth and to have transferred prisoners to Wandsworth for the duration of its own inspection."

"Ministers and senior management of the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) first learnt of these allegations on 30 July when the Chief Inspector's team was undertaking further inquiries into Wandsworth and Pentonville. The Director General of NOMS, Phil Wheatley, immediately launched a formal investigation and wrote to all governors to reiterate that the temporary transfer of prisoners to manipulate inspection outcomes is unacceptable. I issued a public statement reflecting Mr Wheatley’s message, and wrote to inform my Opposition counterparts of these investigations."

"NOMS senior management received the completed investigation report on 2 October. The investigation found that 11 prisoners were subject to temporary transfers. Six were moved from Pentonville to Wandsworth immediately prior to the Pentonville inspection (11-15 May), and five from Wandsworth to Pentonville immediately prior to the Wandsworth inspection (1-5 June). Several were known to be vulnerable prisoners, and two prisoners self-harmed during this process. The investigation found that the 11 transfers had been arranged as deliberate attempts to manipulate the outcomes of the inspections."

"As a result, on 13 October disciplinary charges under the Prison Service Code of Conduct were laid against a number of individuals. Disciplinary proceedings are currently under way."

"During the course of the investigations, information emerged to suggest a similar incident may have occurred in HMP Brixton. A further investigation is under way and we are awaiting a formal report."

"The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman and Her Majesty's Coroner are currently conducting separate investigations into the self-inflicted death of another prisoner transferred to Pentonville, following a court appearance, in the week before the inspection, and held there during the inspection before being returned to Wandsworth."

"I have now asked Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons to work with the Ministry of Justice Director of Analytical Services to investigate whether the temporary transfer of prisoners prior to inspection is more widespread across the estate. The Chief Inspector's reports have highlighted practices in two prisons which are quite clearly reprehensible and neither justifiable nor excusable. Those involved neglected one of their primary duties – to treat prisoners with decency and respect. As investigations and disciplinary proceedings are currently under way, there are obvious constraints until these are concluded. I will of course keep the House informed of further developments."