Prison Service: Staff

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 29th September 2021.

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Photo of Lyn Brown Lyn Brown Shadow Minister (Justice)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to the Pregnancy, MBUs and Maternal Separation in Women’s Prisons Policy Framework, published on 20 September 2021, if he will make an assessment of potential risks of the policy changes made in that framework to the distinction between prison officers and healthcare staff in prisons.

Photo of Lyn Brown Lyn Brown Shadow Minister (Justice)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to the Pregnancy, MBUs and Maternal Separation in Women’s Prisons Policy Framework, published on 20 September 2021, what (a) medical professional organisations and (b) criminal justice non-governmental organisations were consulted during the development of that framework.

Photo of Lyn Brown Lyn Brown Shadow Minister (Justice)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to the Pregnancy, MBUs and Maternal Separation in Women’s Prisons Policy Framework, published on 20 September 2021, what steps he plans to take to help ensure compliance with that policy framework in contracted out prisons.

Photo of Lyn Brown Lyn Brown Shadow Minister (Justice)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to the Pregnancy, MBUs and Maternal Separation in Women’s Prisons Policy Framework, published on 20 September 2021, what estimate he has made of the additional annual resource impact of implementing that framework across all public sector prisons in England and Wales.

Photo of Lyn Brown Lyn Brown Shadow Minister (Justice)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to the Pregnancy, MBUs and Maternal Separation in Women’s Prisons Policy Framework, published on 20 September 2021, for what reason no additional resources have been identified as being required for the implementation of that framework in contracted out prisons, while additional resources have been identified as being required for implementation in public sector prisons.

Photo of Lyn Brown Lyn Brown Shadow Minister (Justice)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to the Pregnancy, MBUs and Maternal Separation in Women’s Prisons Policy Framework, published on 20 September 2021, when and in what form he plans to publish statistics on the (a) numbers and (b) outcomes for (i) individuals who have experienced pregnancy, the post-natal period, and/or pregnancy outcomes within 12 months of entering prison or during a sentence, (ii) mothers and child-rearing individuals applying for and spending time on MBUs with their children and (iii) mothers, child-rearing individuals and adoptive parents separated from children up to the age of two years old in the 12 months prior to entering prison, as a result of imprisonment, or following time on an MBU.

Photo of Victoria Atkins Victoria Atkins The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice, Minister for Afghan resettlement

Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service’s (HMPPS) new policy was developed following a fundamental review that involved extensive stakeholder consultation, including with Health partners; a resource impact assessment and a data protection impact assessment.

1) As per 2.1-2.8 of the policy, healthcare is commissioned through the health sector. The role of HMPPS is to ensure appropriate access to healthcare – including information sharing and physical access.

2) a) Medical professional organisations consulted include:

i) NHS England and NHS Improvement (including the central Health and Justice Team, Clinical Reference Groups and regional commissioners) ii) Local prison healthcare providers commissioned by NHSE/I iii) Public Health England (PHE) iv) Public Health Wales (PHW) v) The Royal College of Midwives b) Criminal justice non-governmental organisations consulted include:

i) Voluntary sector organisations including Birth Companions, Born Inside, Hibiscus, Barnardo’s and Family Action ii) Academics including Dr Shona Minson, Dr Lucy Baldwin and Dr Laura Abbott iii) Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons and Probation (HMIP) iv) The Prison and Probation Ombudsman (PPO)

3) Where a contractor fails to implement the policy, contractual action will be taken as necessary. Policy implementation in both public and contracted prisons will be supported by a variety of assurance structures and processes, to monitor compliance. This includes external and independent assurance by HMIP, PPO and OFSTED.

4) A resource impact assessment has been undertaken for public prisons as part of the development of the new Policy Framework. This assessment identified a need for additional funding to support implementation in public prisons, which has been provided.

5) Resource impact assessments were also undertaken for contracted prisons as part of the development of the new Policy Framework requirements. These identified that no additional funding was required to fulfil new policy requirements.

6) National data on pregnancy and births and Mother and Baby Units is published annually as part of the HMPPS Annual Digest: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/hmpps-annual-digest-april-2020-to-march-2021. Data on abortions and pregnancy outcomes such as miscarriage and stillbirth are recorded on healthcare systems as they are medical in confidence.

Information on a prisoner’s caring responsibilities and children living in the community is monitored locally by prison Governors/Directors to ensure appropriate support can be provided to offenders and their families. We are developing changes to the initial reception questionnaire to enable national data collection that can be published.

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