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Prison Sentences

Volume 984: debated on Friday 9 May 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is his Department's index of average sentence length in 1979, calculated on a basis which takes 1961 as 100.

The index for 1978 of the average effective length of sentence on reception into prison department establishments in England and Wales, taking 1961 as 100, is 127. The effective length of sentence includes consecutive and activated suspended sentences and a sentence length compatible with time served for prisoners with indeterminate sentences. The index for 1979 is not yet available.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what percentage of prison sentences in 1978 and 1979 was of (a) six months or less and (b) over four years.

The information requested is given for principal indictable offences in 1978 in table 4.6 of " Statistics of the criminal justice system, England and Wales, 1968–78", a copy of which has been placed in the Library of the House. Corresponding information for the effective length of sentence of those received in 1978 into prison department establishments in England and Wales, including consecutive and activated suspended sentences, is given in table 5.2 of the same publication. More detailed information, for principal indictable and non-indictable offences is to be found in chapter 6 of " Criminal statistics, England and Wales, 1978" (Cmnd 7670). information for 1979 is not yet available.