HL Deb 04 May 2004 vol 660 c45WS
The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Amos)

My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State has made the following Ministerial Statement.

I have placed copies of the Northern Ireland Prison Service's corporate and business plan for 2004–07 in the Libraries of both Houses.

The corporate and business plan contains key performance targets I have set for the service for 2004–05. These are:

  1. 1. No escape for top and high-risk prisoners.
  2. 2. No more than three escapes per 1,000 medium and low-risk prisoners.
  3. 3. The number of staff assaulted by prisoners is less than a ratio of five per 100 prisoners.
  4. 4. The number of prisoners assaulted by prisoners is less than a ratio of six per 100 prisoners.
  5. 5. An average of at least 18 hours' constructive activity per week for each sentenced prisoner.
  6. 6. An average of at least nine hours' constructive activity per week for each remand prisoner.
  7. 7. To ensure 82.5 per cent of prisoners serving six months or more are working to a resettlement plan and that 95 per cent of lifers work to a resettlement plan, including preparation of the plan, in the first six months from sentence.
  8. 8. Deliver at least 85 percent of the planned training days associated with the agreed corporate training priorities.
  9. 9. Reduce the rate of absenteeism to an annual average of no more than 19 days per head.
  10. 10. Lay the annual report and audited accounts before Parliament prior to the summer Recess.
  11. 11. Ensure the average cost per prisoner place does not exceed the target to be agreed with HM Treasury.

The Government have committed substantial resource to implementing the Steele report, so that staff remain in full control. This does not mean any reduction in the need to tackle the other costs which make for an excessively high cost per prisoner place.

Also, in light of developments following the Steele report, and to support the development of partnerships with a wider range of statutory and voluntary agencies beyond the criminal justice system, I have agreed some adjustments to the service's statement of purpose, which now reads as follows: The Northern Ireland Prison Service, through our staff, serves the community by keeping in secure, safe and humane custody those committed by the courts; by working with prisoners and with other organisations seeks to reduce the risk of reoffending; and in so doing aims to protect the public and to contribute to peace and stability in Northern Ireland.