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Prison Accommodation

Question for Ministry of Justice

UIN HL2153, tabled on 5 September 2022

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the average time that (1) adult prisoners, and (2) young offenders, are locked in their cells each day.

Answered on

21 September 2022

(1) The information requested for adult prisoners is not held by the Ministry of Justice, as it would require the detailed daily monitoring of out of cell activity of each individual prisoner in each prison establishment. We undertake regular monitoring of regime levels in prisons and formally account for all time spent out of cell engaged in regime activities.

There is no current central instruction prescribing the amount of time prisoners should spend out of their cells, however, there is a clear commitment to the delivery and performance management of time spent in purposeful activity. Governors have the flexibility to deliver balanced regimes that maintain an appropriate level of time out of cell on a range of activities such as education and employment which meet the needs of the establishment’s population with a heavy focus on reducing reoffending. This is alongside basic access to time in the open air and domestic services such showers.

We do see impact on time spent out of cell that can result from staffing availability and from operational incidents.

This government has committed to prison regime reform in the Prison Strategy White Paper and will set clearer stands for time spent in prison. A new Purposeful Activity performance measure has been introduced for the 2022/23 performance period which will drive delivery. Additional measures are in place for attendance at work, education, interventions and services. These will over time give more detailed information than that currently available.

(2) While we do not collect information on time during which young people are locked in their rooms, information is held regarding time spent out of room. In July 2022, the average time out of room offered in Youth Offender Institutions was 5 hours 50 minutes: of that, an average of 5 hours 15 minutes was taken.