Feeds

Connection failures delay prison releases

60% of prisons have no access to central database

3 Big data security analytics techniques

Parliament's Public Accounts Committee has said the release of prisoners on home detention curfews (HDCs) is being delayed because most prisons are not connected to the Police National Computer (PNC).

The Electronic Monitoring of Adult Offenders report, published on 12 October, recommends that the Home Office should implement a timetable for providing all prisons that release prisoners on HDC with access to the PNC, making all records available electronically.

It makes the point that 60 per cent of prisons in England and Wales are not connected to the PNC, and this is delaying the release of many prisoners. In turn this is contributing to the severe overcrowding problem: the prison population reached a record 79,843 this month with just 125 more spaces left, according to government figures.

A spokesperson for the House of Commons Committee of Public Accounts report told GC News: "It is not currently statutory for prisons to be connected to the PNC, even though it is logical to do so."

The report says that HM Prison Service should transfer all paperwork associated with eligibility assessments with prisoners to prevent duplication of effort and to ensure they are released on their eligibility date.

Edward Leigh MP, chairman of the committee, said: "The system is stuttering along at present. Most prisons have no direct access to criminal records on PNC.

"Prisoners who are moved between prisons are not accompanied by their assessment records. These and other factors often delay the release of prisoners well beyond their eligibility date."

In addition, governors are not being given feedback on whether prisoners whom they have released early have successfully completed their curfew.

Leigh said: "The prison governors who take the final decision to release offenders on curfew are not told if their assessments turned out to be sound.

"It is of crucial importance to public safety that they are given the kind of information on outcomes which can improve their future decision making."

Meanwhile, the report suggests the Home Office should use its recently obtained real time access to its IT contractors to carry out independent monitoring and auditing of the contractors' performance and it should publish their performance.

The Home Office made ex gratia payments totalling some £8,000 to two offenders because it could not prove whether they had intentionally damaged monitoring equipment.

"The Home Office should instruct contractors to retain monitoring equipment when there is a dispute over the reason for the apparent breach, so the facts of such cases can be proven. It should incorporate it into any future contracts."

Liberal Democrat shadow home secretary Nick Clegg said: "Dealing with offenders means it is vital that we get tagging right. Once again, flaws in the system can be laid squarely at the government's feet for failing to implement the system competently in practice."

However, the report praised the Home Office for forcing contractors to improve their performance through financial deductions for failing to meet all the requirements of the contract.

"The Home Office negotiated a 40 per cent reduction in the price of the contracts when it renegotiated them in April 2005. The team responsible for the negotiations should produce a good practice guide to disseminate lessons learned from this experience to other contract managers within the Home Office," said the report.

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

Kablenet's GC weekly is a free email newsletter covering the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. To register click here.

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
Whoever you vote for, Google gets in
Report uncovers giant octopus squid of lobbying influence
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
Jack the RIPA: Blighty cops ignore law, retain innocents' comms data
Prime minister: Nothing to see here, go about your business
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.