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Life Imprisonment (Release On Licence)

Volume 32: debated on Wednesday 17 November 1982

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asked the Solicitor-General for Scotland how many prosecutions have been commenced by the Crown Office in each of the past 10 years against persons who had previously been sentenced to life imprisonment and who were released on licence.

No figures are available for the number of prosecutions of persons released on licence having been sentenced to life imprisonment. All convictions of such persons are, however, automatically reported to the parole board to consider whether such persons should be recalled to prison. In the past 10 years, 20 licensees who have been convicted for offences committed while on licence have been recalled to prison.

I am grateful to my hon. and learned Friend for that reply. Does he accept that many of those who are released on licence, after having been sentenced to life imprisonment for murder, commit a second such crime and are further sentenced to life imprisonment? As the House, in its wisdom or otherwise, has decided against capital punishment for murder, will my hon. and learned Friend bring in legislation which imposes life imprisonment for life when a murder is committed?

I appreciate that the extent of a life sentence is a matter that causes a great deal of feeling. However, I remind my hon. Friend that during the passage of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act that matter—and the Emslie report—was considered. During the past 12 years in Scotland only one person, having been convicted of murder and released on licence, has committed murder again.