Prisons: Private Sector

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 4th July 2019.

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Photo of Richard Burgon Richard Burgon Shadow Lord Chancellor and Shadow Secretary of State for Justice

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, pursuant to the Answer of 18 June 2019 to Question 264474 on Prisons: Private Sector, how many sufficiently trained and experienced (a) prison custody officers and (b) other staff have contractors at each establishment told the Government they require to maintain safe and decent prisons.

Photo of Richard Burgon Richard Burgon Shadow Lord Chancellor and Shadow Secretary of State for Justice

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, pursuant to the Answers of 18 June 2019 to Question 264474 on Prisons: Private Sector and of 11 June 2019 to Question 259342 on Prisons: Contracts, whether HMPPS Controllers are required to keep a record of the number of prison custody officers certified to act as such at establishments for which they have responsibility.

Photo of Robert Buckland Robert Buckland The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

As we have stated previously, all staffing matters, including the responsibility of ensuring the availability of sufficiently trained and experienced staff to maintain safe and decent prisons, sit with contractors. There is no requirement in the contracts to agree staffing levels with the Ministry of Justice.

We do not hold data on the number of Prison Custody Officers certified. The role of the Controller is to monitor performance at the prison across a range of indicators. Any concerns in relation to these performance indicators are discussed with the provider, and, where necessary, appropriate action is taken in accordance with the contract.

Private providers continue to play an important role in the prison estate and I can assure you that performance of all providers is closely monitored and we will not hesitate to take action where standards fall short.

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