§ Mr. John
Information is not available in the form requested. There is, of course, no objective definition of the term "hunger strike" and food refusal in prison has, in practice, ranged from the return of a meal on one day to persistent action involving the total refusal of all nourishment over a very long period. Instances of food refusal as a temporary means of protest, often abandoned after a few days, are unlikely by their very nature to involve a doctor in any decisions about admission to prison hospital for observation, or any clinical judgment about artificial feeding. For these reasons, such incidents, although carefully monitored and recorded locally, are not, and cannot sensibly be, collated in statistical form. Recently, however, we have begun to collect information centrally about those cases where a prisoner is admitted to hospital after persistently refusing food and drink. Eight such cases have been recorded since 1st October 1976. None has involved artificial feeding and in three of them normal eating has been resumed.
§ Mr. Cope
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many prisoners convicted of violent crime including armed robbery and kidnapping and not yet eligible to be considered for parole are currently held in open prisons;
(2) how many prisoners convicted of violent crime, including armed robbery and kidnapping, are currently held in open prisons.