The Government has revealed that it has cut the health care budget at HMP YOI Lancaster Farms) by £562,000 - but says the cuts are in proportion to the number of offenders in the prison.
Responding to a parliamentary question from Morecambe MP David Morris, who challenged the Secretary of State for Justice to explain why there has been a reduction in the budget cut of the medical services at Lancaster Farms Young Offender Institution, Paul Burstow, Minister of State (Care Services) said the the overall budget cut of £562,000 represented a 29 per cent reduction in the health care budget issued to Lancaster Farms and directly correlates to the removal of 130 places for people under the age of 18 by the Youth Justice Board.
"The YJB’s decision to remove 130 places, and the funding adjustment itself, reflect the current absence of young people under 18 being held at HMP YOI Lancaster Farms," he said. "The Department and NHS North Lancashire are confident that appropriate services are deliverable within the confines of revised funding."
Mr Burstow did not, it seems, answer Mr Morris question - as it appears the cuts were going to be even higher.
Health care cuts could prove just one of many problems for the local prison service. Concerns have already been raised by service personnel about cuts in post-sentence support, which now means many prisoners who have served their sentence are put back on our local streets with no career or accommodation assistance.
Staff at prisons fear these 'invisible cuts' leave ex-prisoners vulnerable to a return to the very lifestyle that put them in prison in the first place.