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Volume 464: debated on Tuesday 9 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer of 10 May 2007, Official Report, column 441W, on sentencing, how many of the 173 offenders referred to maintain their innocence. (154201)

Information on prisoners who maintain their innocence is not held centrally by the Pre-Release Section (PRS) in the National Offender Management Service, nor is it recorded on the Prison Service Inmate Information System. The information could be collected only at disproportionate cost by examining the individual case records of the 173 prisoners concerned. As the information requested is not recorded routinely it is unlikely that an examination of individual case files either by PRS or staff at the various prisons concerned would produce reliable or accurate information.

Denial of guilt itself is no bar to indeterminate sentence prisoners progressing through their sentences, or to ultimate release on licence. Prisoners may maintain their innocence for a wide variety of reasons and that stance may often change during sentence. Guidance on the management of life sentence prisoners who deny their guilt is contained in PSO 4700.