HC Deb 15 January 1988 vol 125 c446W
Mr. McNamara

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many category A women prisoners there were in Her Majesty's prison Durham in December 1987; and how many strip searches were made on these prisoners in that month, indicating strip searches before and after consultation with legal advisers, after visits and after cell changes, wing searches and cell searches, and listing reasons for searches and illegal contraband or smuggled items found.

Mr. Douglas Hogg

During December, there were three category A women prisoners in Durham prison. The number of occasions on which each was strip-searched during the month is shown in the table:

Inmate A Inmate B Inmate C
After legal visits
After other visits 2 5 3
At the time of cell changes, and wing and cell searches 3 2 2

No authorised article was found on any of the three women. But, as the hon. Member is aware, strip-searching is a routine security measure to which all inmates—male and female — are subject and its justification lies not only in the fact that staff do discover items (such as drugs, syringes, plastic knives sharpened into daggers, and scissors) which they would not otherwise find, but in the deterrent effect which such searching undoubtedly has.