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Prisoners Release

Volume 472: debated on Tuesday 26 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many prisoners on indeterminate sentences have been released following the completion of rehabilitation courses; (188639)

(2) how many prisoners on indeterminate sentences have been released despite not having access to pre-release rehabilitation courses; and how many of those were sex offenders.

Prisoners serving an indeterminate sentence of imprisonment for public protection (IPP) may be considered for release by the independent Parole Board once they have completed the period of imprisonment considered necessary to meet the requirements of retribution and deterrence (the tariff period). This period is set in open court by the trial judge when passing sentence. The Parole Board may direct the release of such a prisoner only if it is satisfied that it is no longer necessary for the protection of the public that the prisoner should be confined. The Secretary of State may release such prisoners at any time only if exceptional circumstances exist which justify release on compassionate grounds.

As at 31 January 2008, 17 IPP prisoners have been released on licence. The IPP licence will remain in force for at least 10 years, at which point the licensee can apply to have it cancelled. Similar applications can be made annually thereafter. Of those 17 cases, 16 were released on the direction of the Parole Board. One prisoner was released by the Secretary of State prior to tariff expiry on compassionate grounds.

Consideration of the files of the 16 prisoners released on the direction of the Parole Board indicates that 11 had completed courses specifically aimed at addressing identified risk factors. Such work could also continue as appropriate during the post release licence period.