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Drugs

Volume 464: debated on Wednesday 10 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people in Northern Ireland who were released from prison after serving a sentence for drug-related offences subsequently re-offended in each of the last five years. (154010)

Re-offending data are not available and reconviction data are only available for those released from prison in 2001, 2002 and 2003.

The following table gives the number of offenders that were released from prison for drug-related offences who were subsequently reconvicted for any offence within a two year period. Data are collated on the principal offence rule; thus only the most serious offence with which an offender is charged is included.

Reconviction rates for those who were discharged from custody after serving sentences for drug offences (2001-03) and who were reconvicted for any offence within a two year period

Number discharged from prison for drug offences

Number reconvicted for any offence within a two year period

2001

59

17

2002

56

18

2003

53

23

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the average sentence handed down by the courts in Northern Ireland for (a) possession of and (b) dealing in drugs was in each of the last five years. (154012)

The information requested is contained in the following tables.

Tables 1 and 2 give the number of disposals and the average sentence length for each disposal type for unlawful possession of drugs and unlawful dealing in drugs respectively.

Data cover the calendar years 2001 to 2005, the latest available years, and are collated on the principal offence rule; so only the most serious offence with which an offender is charged is included.

Table 1: Disposals given to those convicted of unlawful possession of drugs and the average sentence given by the courts for the years 2001-05

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

Immediate custody

23

21

23

23

23

Average sentence (months)1,2

6

11

8

7

8

Suspended custody

32

25

23

28

33

Average sentence (months)

6

6

8

7

6

Community Service Order

17

13

8

8

15

Average sentence (hours)

102

100

134

155

128

Attendance Centre Order

1

0

1

1

2

Average sentence (hours)

12

12

24

18

Probation Order

33

18

29

36

31

Average sentence (months)

12

12

14

12

15

Fine

175

192

242

263

314

Average amount (£)

145

114

121

128

134

Combination Order

2

0

3

1

6

Average probation period (months)3

18

12

12

Average community service period (hours)3

80

100

83

Youth Conference Order4

1

0

Conditional Discharge

25

25

45

40

29

Other5

2

3

4

0

4

Total number convicted

310

297

378

401

457

‘—’ = Not applicable.

1 Data include those sentenced to prison, Young Offenders’ Centre and those given Custody Probation Orders.

2 Average immediate custodial sentence length for 2002 excludes one sentenced to juvenile justice centre order; 2003 excludes one sentenced to a juvenile justice centre order and one sentenced to detention at the Secretary of State’s pleasure; 2005 excludes two sentenced to a juvenile justice centre order.

3 Data are not available for the average probation period (months) and the average community service period (hours) for Combination Orders for 2001 and 2002.

4 Average sentence lengths are not given for Youth Conference Orders.

5 Other includes Absolute discharge and Recognisance.

Table 2: Disposals given to those convicted of dealing in drugs and the average sentence given by the courts for the years 2001-05

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

Immediate custody1

65

44

56

61

60

Average sentence (months)

26

22

30

28

22

Suspended custody

65

40

35

67

47

Average sentence (months)

19

18

17

20

20

Community Service Order

5

2

4

6

4

Average sentence (hours)

116

170

133

145

180

Attendance Centre Order

0

0

0

1

0

Average sentence (hours)

24

Probation Order

2

6

7

14

11

Average sentence (months)

24

20

19

18

16

Fine

7

14

9

20

16

Average amount (£)

221

128

106

254

209

Combination Order

1

4

4

9

6

Average probation period (months)2

15

17

14

Average community service period (hours)2

95

78

65

Youth Conference Order3

0

1

Conditional Discharge

6

2

4

4

4

Other4

1

0

0

0

0

Total number convicted

152

112

119

182

149

‘—’ = Not applicable.

1 Data include those sentenced to prison, Young Offenders’ Centre and those given Custody Probation Orders.

2 Data are not available for the average probation period (months) and the average community service period (hours) for Combination Orders for 2001 and 2002.

3 Average sentence lengths are not given for Youth Conference Orders.

4 Other includes Absolute discharge and Recognisance.