§ Miss Widdecombe
At last September's annual conference of boards of visitors the issue of handcuffing women in sensitive situations was raised with me.
The chairmen of the boards at Bullwood Hall and New Hall prisons wrote to my right hon. and learned Friend on 16 and 17 October 1995 respectively, about the use of restraints on women when on escort. An earlier letter of 16 June 1995, from the chairman of the board at Askham Grange prison to the then Minister of State, the right hon. Member for Stirling (Mr. Forsyth), about women prisoners generally, also raised this issue. Askham Grange board wrote again on 13 November 1995.
When my right hon. and learned Friend and I visit prisons, we take the opportunity to speak to boards of visitors who raise a wide range of issues. None of the records of our visits indicates that the use of restraints on women prisoners outside their establishments was raised as a concern.