Many prisons not on Police National Computer

Lack of connection slowing down prisoner release process

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Sixty per cent of prisons in England and Wales are not connected to the Police National Computer. According to Parliament's Public Accounts Committee , the release of prisoners on home detention curfews is being delayed because most prisons are not yet connected to the Police National Computer (PNC) .

The Electronic Monitoring of Adult Offenders report recommends that the Home Office should implement a timetable to make sure that all prisons that release prisoners under home detention schemes should be connected to the PNC database. This would make all prison records available electronically.

Currently, 60 per cent of prisons in England and Wales are not connected to the PNC, the report states, and this is delaying the release of many prisoners. It is also a contributing factor in prison overcrowding.

According to Government figures, only 125 prison places are left as the prison population reached a record 79,843 this month.

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

The report says all HM Prison Service paperwork associated with eligibility assessments with prisoners should be transferred, to avoid duplication of effort and to ensure prisoners are released on their eligibility date.

Edward Leigh MP, chair 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." Anna Lagerkvist