To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether he plans to identify armed forces veterans who are the subject of (a) a court report or (b) admission to custody; and whether he plans advice and support packages for such veterans.
Offenders who are the subject of a pre-sentence report and prisoners being inducted into custody are routinely asked for details of their employment history. Prison assessment procedures are being revised to include more specific questions to identify offenders who have served in the armed forces.
A guide for prison officers working with veterans has been developed. This will allow them to provide advice and support as part of their existing offender management work. This material has been informed by some of the existing good practice that has already been developed in a number of prisons where officers are assuming the role of Veterans in Custody Support Officer, to assist veterans with gaining access to the support and specialist help they need. The pack will be distributed to prisons between January and March 2010, accompanied by training for staff and ongoing support for them in its implementation.
Work is in progress to prepare instructions and guidance for probation staff supervising ex-service personnel in the community. Probation staff will be invited to attend the training and networking events that are scheduled for prison staff between January and March 2010.
The Ministry of Defence's Defence Analytical Services and Advice has undertaken an exercise to match Ministry of Justice data on prisoners in England and Wales with the MOD database of service leavers to establish the numbers of armed forces veterans in custody. The analysis indicates that almost 3 per cent. of the prison population in England and Wales were former armed forces personnel.