§ Dr. Harris
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what timescale he has agreed with the Chief Inspector of Prisons for the publication of reports following a visit to(a) a prison and (b) a detention centre. 
§ Ms Quin
[holding answer 31 March 1998]: On 29 September 1997, my right hon. Friend announced a new protocol for dealing with the publication of inspection reports on Prison Service establishments by Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons. The protocol procedures seek to ensure expedited publication of the Chief Inspector's inspection reports 10 weeks after the inspection of a Prison Service establishment is completed, and once any issues of factual accuracy have been resolved between the Prison Service and the Chief Inspector.
These procedures do not extend to the inspection reports of Immigration Service detention centres. However, the Government would look to the early publication of such reports once any issues about factual inaccuracy have been resolved.
§ Dr. Harris
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department for what reasons the report of the Chief Inspector of Prisons to Featherstone Prison in 1996 was not published. 
§ Ms Quin
[holding answer 31 March 1998]: Her Majesty's Chief Inspector withdrew his draft report of the 1996 inspection of Featherstone Prison because of delays in agreeing a publication date. At the time the Chief Inspector submitted his report, it was the practice of the Prison Service to provide Ministers with full and detailed advice on all aspects of an inspection report prior to its publication. This process could take a number of months and, on occasions, led to a delay in publication.
In order to expedite matters and ensure transparency in the process, my right hon. Friend announced, on 29 September 1997, a new protocol for handling the publication of the inspection reports. The protocol seeks to ensure the publication of the reports ten weeks after the inspection of an establishment, unless there are 547W unresolved issues of factual accuracy raised by the Prison Service. The protocol has the full agreement of the Director General of the Prison Service and the Chief Inspector.