§ Mr. McGrady
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make it his policy to ensure that prisoners are placed in prisons nearest to their homes with particular reference to prisoners from Northern Ireland.
§ Mrs. Rumbold
In Prison Service establishments in England and Wales, the inmate's home area is taken into account when allocating him or her to a training prison following sentence. It is also open to a sentenced inmate to request a transfer, for example to make it easier for relatives to visit.
Prisoners normally serve their sentences in the jurisdiction in which they were convicted. However, the Criminal Justice Act 1961 provides that a prisoner may be transferred to another United Kingdom jurisdiction on request. Requests are considered under criteria announced to the House on 23 June 1989. A review of these arrangements is in hand in consultation with the Scottish Office and the Northern Ireland Office.