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Volume 409: debated on Friday 18 July 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many prisoners have been denied parole in each of the last five years on the sole basis that they deny their guilt; if he will make it his policy to end this practice where risk of re-offending is deemed minimal; and if he will make a statement; [121626](2) how many prisoners have been offered a place on a sex offender's training programme and declined to participate in each of the past five years; and what effect this has on a prisoner's privileges. [121627]

Information on the number of prisoners applying for parole and who deny their guilt is not centrally recorded by the Prison Service and to provide it would be at disproportionate cost. Since January 2003, however, the Parole Board has begun to collate this data and the results are likely to be published in its future annual reports.There is no rule or policy which prevents a prisoner who denies his or her guilt from progressing through the system, or from being released on parole licence. Such prisoners may be granted parole if their risk is assessed as having been reduced to a level that is compatible with the protection of public safety.