Prisons: Multi-faith Accommodation

House of Lords written question – answered on 27th March 2001.

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Photo of Lord Avebury Lord Avebury Liberal Democrat

asked Her Majesty's Government:

When they propose to consult the Advisory Group on Religion in Prisons on the latest draft standard on religion; and, in particular, whether they will seek agreement on a requirement that the chapel be made available to the non-Christian faiths where no suitable alternative is available.

Photo of Lord Bassam of Brighton Lord Bassam of Brighton Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Home Office

The Prison Service standard on religion is due to be issued in early April. Members of the Advisory Group on Religion in Prisons were consulted on the draft standard in September 1999 and will be sent a copy of the published standard. The standard reflects long established Prison Service policy as set out in the Directory and Guide on Religious Practices in Her Majesty's Prison Service (page 116), which is in the Library. This advises that, where there is no space available which can be considered reasonably adequate in terms of decency and the dignity of a religious community at prayer, chaplains may, as a temporary measure, and after consulting with the bishops and Methodist Chairman, give their consent for the chapel to be used for worship by non-Christian groups.

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