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Prisons: Violence

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 24th March 2020.

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Photo of Mary Glindon Mary Glindon Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) (Farming and Rural Communities)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether a rise in levels of violence has been recorded in any of the prisons where PAVA has been rolled out.

Photo of Lucy Frazer Lucy Frazer The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

Published data on violence is only available until September 2019, and the only prisons with PAVA for the duration of this period were the four pilot sites: HMPs Hull, Wealstun, Preston and Risley.

There was an increase in the average number of assaults in prisons in across England and Wales between January 2018 to September 2019, which is the timeframe that PAVA has been in available in these four prisons.

When comparing the 21 months prior to January 2018, HMPs Hull, Wealstun and Preston had a slightly lower increase in violence compared to the wider estate.

We have been rolling out PAVA incapacitant spray to all band 3-5 staff in the adult male estate. Staff need appropriate training to use PAVA and only prisons that have implemented the key worker scheme – which is vital in building relationships between offenders and staff – will receive it.

PAVA has not been introduced as a violence reduction measure, it is intended to help protect staff and prisoners from incidents where there is serious violence, or an imminent or perceived risk of serious violence. It has been introduced alongside a range of other measures aimed to improve safety.

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