HC Deb 25 November 1993 vol 233 cc170-1W
Mrs. Bridget Prentice

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the commitment by the Prison Service to pay for the travel costs of prisoners' families to make a second visit each month to their family member in prison where such families are eligible to receive public funds for such travel.

Mr. Peter Lloyd

Responsibility for these matters have been delegated to the director general of the prison service who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter from Derek Lewis to Mrs. Bridget Prentice, dated 25 November 1993: The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent Question about the position regarding the proposed extension of the Assisted Visits scheme to cover the second statutory monthly visit. The White Paper "Custody, Care and Justice" included a commitment to consider extensions of the scheme as resources permit. We also have indicated in the Prison Service Business plan that the extension should take place this financial year. No final decision on this matter has been taken. It will be necessary to do so in the light of the resources available to the Prison Service. I am afraid that it is not yet possible to say when it will be possible to finance the second visit per month. You may be assured, however, that we are well aware of the need to maintain close prisoner and family ties and the importance which prisoners and their families attach to visits.