§ Mr. Wheeler
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has any proposals to amend prison rule 7; and if he will make a statement about the means by which essential information about prison conditions and privileges is conveyed to inmates.
§ Mr. Whitelaw
I intend to bring forward proposals in the spring to amend prison rule 7, in particular to remove the requirement, which I regard as unhelpful and inappropriate, that the information be conveyed in the prisoner's "cell or room". This requirement has led to great practical difficulties, partly because documentary information provided as part of cell furniture has proved vulnerable to damage and destruction. The proposed new rule will preserve the requirement that the information which it is necessary prisoners should know be given in writing; but I intend to achieve this by the introduction of a booklet to be issued individually to each inmate on reception. Such booklets will be easier to revise than the existing cell cards. Because of this, and because inmates will have their own copy of the booklet rather than being dependant on the unsatisfactory cell card system, I hope that these new arrangements will be more helpful to inmates. They will also be easier for our hard pressed establishments to operate. I intend to propose similar provisions for young offender establishments; at present the borstal and detention centre rules require only that a careful explanation, which is done orally, be given to inmates following arrival.