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Prisons: Smuggling

Volume 461: debated on Monday 4 June 2007

To ask the Minister of State, Ministry of Justice what the maximum penalty is for trafficking unauthorised articles into prison establishments; how many people were convicted of this offence in each of the last five years; what average sentence was imposed; and if she will make a statement. (137307)

Trafficking unauthorised articles into prison establishments is not listed as a separate offence on the court proceedings database held by the Office for Criminal Justice Reform.

The data provided in the following table give total number of defendants found guilty of selected offences under the Prison Act 1952, a sentence breakdown, the average custodial sentence length and average fine for both sets of offences as set out in the note of the table. Maximum penalties are also shown with this note.

Number of defendants found guilty at all courts, sentence breakdown, average custodial sentence lengths, and average fines for selected offences under the 1952 Prison Act, England and Wales, 2001 to 20051,2

Sentence breakdown

Found guilty

Sentenced

Absolute discharge

Conditional discharge

Fine

Community sentence

Immediate custody

Otherwise dealt with

Average custodial sentence (months)

Average fine (£)

2001

23

23

2

20

1

3.0

117

2002

20

20

1

14

1

4

9.0

100

2003

18

17

1

5

9

1

1

4.0

161

2004

8

8

1

6

1

n/a

259

2005

17

17

3

9

2

2

1

18.0

116

n/a = not applicable.

1 These data are on the principal offence basis.

2 Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.

Note:

The above table shows data for the following two offences;

The summary offence (195/46) comprises; Conveying spirits into prison, Conveying tobacco into prison, Attempting to convey spirits into prison, Attempting to convey tobacco into prison, Placing liquor/tobacco outside prison with intent, Office allowing liquor/tobacco to be sold, Office allowing liquor/tobacco to be used, Placing letter/thing outside prison with intent, Conveying an article to a prisoner and Attempting to convey an article to a prisoner. The maximum penalty for this offence is six months in prison and or a £1,000 fine.

The indictable offence (099/99) comprises Aiding a prisoner to escape, Aiding a prisoner to attempt to escape, Conveying article to prisoner to facilitate escape, Placing article outside prison to facilitate escape and Sending article into prison or prisoner to facilitate escape. The maximum penalty for this offence is 10 years in prison.