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Magistrates Courts: Sentencing

Volume 472: debated on Tuesday 26 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many and what proportion of sentences from magistrates courts were custodial sentences in each year since 1993; and if he will make a statement; (188160)

(2) how many and what proportion of offenders convicted in magistrates courts were given custodial sentences of (a) three months or less, (b) three to six months and (c) six to 12 months in each year since 1993; and if he will make a statement.

The following tables show the number of custodial sentences handed down at the magistrates court, split by age and gender, and there associated proportions to the totals.

This information can also be found in table 2.1 of “Sentencing Statistics 2006”, available at:

http://www.justice.gov.uk/publications/sentencingannual.htm

Persons sentenced to immediate custody at magistrates courts by length of sentence and average custodial sentence length, 1996-2006, England and Wales

Number of persons and percentages

Custody rate and sentence length

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

All offences

Total persons sentenced

1,351,789

1,293,961

1,376,514

1,320,751

1,339,986

1,266,634

Number given immediate custody

41,166

46,517

52,615

57,974

59,975

61,868

Percentage given immediate custody

3.0

3.6

3.8

4.4

4.5

4.9

Up to and including 3 months

26,649

30,875

35,078

38,529

37,300

37,396

Proportion (percentage)

65

66

67

66

62

60

Over 3 months and less than 6 months

11,026

12,326

13,854

15,387

17,212

18,440

Proportion (percentage)

27

26

26

27

29

30

6 months

3,491

3,316

3,640

3,974

4,549

4,696

Proportion (percentage)

8

7

7

7

8

8

Over 6 months1

*

*

43

84

914

1,336

Proportion (percentage)

*

*

0

0

2

2

Average custodial sentence length (months)

3.0

2.9

2.8

2.8

3.0

3.1

Number of persons and percentages

Custody rate and sentence length

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

All offences

Total persons sentenced

1,334,439

1,403,921

1,460,707

1,397,675

1,336,501

Number given immediate custody

64,913

63,396

61,384

57,250

53,431

Percentage given immediate custody

4.9

4.5

4.2

4.1

4.0

Up to and including 3 months

39,476

37,856

36,798

34,377

32,254

Proportion (percentage)

61

60

60

60

60

Over 3 months and less than 6 months

19,370

19,835

19,161

18,365

16,839

Proportion (percentage)

30

31

31

32

32

6 months

4,553

4,413

4,173

3,336

3,018

Proportion (percentage)

7

7

7

6

6

Over 6 months1

1,514

1,292

1,252

1,172

1,320

Proportion (percentage)

2

2

2

2

2

Average custodial sentence length (months)

3.1

3.1

3.0

3.0

3.0

1 Over 6 months sentences relate to secure training orders given to juveniles (introduced in 1998) and replaced by detention and training orders in April 2000.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the average length of prison sentences handed down by (a) magistrates courts and (b) Crown courts has been in each year since 1993, broken down by type of crime. (188161)

The following table shows the available information which can also be found in Tables 1.3 and 1.4 of “Sentencing Statistics 2006”, available at:

http://www.justice.gov.uk/publications/sentencingannual.htm

Average custodial sentence lengths (months)1 for immediate custody, broken down by court and type of crime2, 1996 to 2006

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

Magistrates1 courts

Violence against the person

3.3

3.1

3.1

3.2

3.6

3.9

3.8

3.9

3.9

3.9

4.0

Sexual offences

3.8

3.5

3.8

3.5

4.4

4.3

4.2

3.9

4.0

4.1

4.3

Burglary

3.5

3.4

3.5

3.6

4.3

4.5

4.7

4.5

4.5

4.5

4.5

Robbery

3.8

3.7

4.0

3.9

6.6

8.0

9.7

9.1

9.4

8.4

8.7

Theft and handling stolen goods

2.6

2.5

2.4

2.4

2.5

2.5

2.5

2.5

2.5

2.4

2.4

Fraud and forgery

2.8

2.8

2.9

3.0

3.0

3.1

3.0

3.2

3.3

2.9

2.8

Criminal damage

2.1

2.1

2.3

2.3

2.8

2.7

2.7

2.7

2.7

2.5

2.6

Drug offences

2.4

2.2

2.4

2.3

2.5

2.6

2.4

2.5

2.6

2.8

2.6

Other (excl. motoring offences)

2.2

2.1

2.2

2.2

2.4

2.4

2.4

2.2

1.8

1.8

1.9

Motoring offences

3.9

3.8

3.8

4.0

4.5

4.8

4.9

5.2

5.0

4.8

5.0

All indictable

2.9

2.7

2.7

2.7

2.9

3.0

3.0

3.0

3.0

2.9

2.9

Summary non-motoring offences

2.6

2.6

2.6

2.5

2.7

2.7

2.7

2.7

2.7

2.7

2.7

Summary motoring offences

3.3

3.3

3.3

3.3

3.4

3.4

3.4

3.5

3.5

3.4

3.4

All summary offences

3.1

3.0

3.0

3.0

3.1

3.2

3.2

3.2

3.2

3.1

3.0

All offences

3.0

2.9

2.8

2.8

3.0

3.1

3.1

3.1

3.0

3.0

3.0

Crown courts

Violence against the person

23.8

22.8

22.1

21.7

21.6

22.6

23.9

25.6

25.6

24.5

23.2

Sexual offences

38.6

39.9

40.9

39.7

41.1

40.7

43.4

43.8

43.4

44.4

44.1

Burglary

19.1

20.7

20.2

20.5

20.8

22.3

23.5

24.0

24.6

24.7

24.4

Robbery

40.2

40.9

37.3

37.3

38.3

38.4

41.3

41.7

41.1

38.0

35.7

Theft and handling stolen goods

11.5

12.4

11.7

10.7

10.4

11.1

11.5

12.1

12.3

12.8

12.7

Fraud and forgery

15.2

14.7

15.1

13.6

14.4

14.7

14.8

15.6

15.4

13.7

13.4

Criminal damage

28.6

31.7

25.3

25.6

24.6

26.4

28.2

28.8

28.3

27.2

25.3

Drug offences

30.7

31.7

30.9

33.4

34.5

37.2

39.5

40.0

41.3

40.4

38.8

Other (excl. motoring offences)

12.5

12.4

11.8

12.0

11.9

13.3

14.7

14.7

14.3

15.5

15.7

Motoring offences

9.3

9.5

9.9

9.8

9.7

10.1

10.2

10.4

10.6

10.3

10.7

All indictable

22.4

22.8

22.2

22.5

22.8

24.5

26.3

26.8

27.0

25.9

25.2

Summary non-motoring offences

3.4

3.5

3.5

3.6

3.5

3.3

3.4

3.4

3.5

3.7

3.9

Summary motoring offences

3.9

4.0

3.9

4.0

3.8

3.8

3.7

4.0

3.8

3.7

3.7

All summary offences

3.6

3.6

3.7

3.7

3.6

3.5

3.5

3.6

3.6

3.7

3.9

All offences

22.1

22.5

21.8

22.1

22.4

24.2

25.9

26.3

26.5

25.5

24.7

1 Excludes life and indeterminate sentences.

2 Principle offence basis.

Note:

These figures have been drawn from administrative data systems. Although care is taken when processing and analysing the returns, the detail collected is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large scale recording system.

Source:

RDS-NOMS, Ministry of Justice