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Sentencing: First Time Offenders

Volume 472: debated on Tuesday 26 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many and what proportion of first time offenders brought before Crown courts were given custodial sentences in each year since 1993; and if he will make a statement; (188204)

(2) how many and what proportion of first time offenders given custodial sentences from Crown courts were reconvicted within two years of release from custody in each year since 1993; and if he will make a statement;

(3) how many and what proportion of first time offenders given custodial sentences by magistrates' courts were (a) juveniles and (b) young adults in each year since 1993; how many and what proportion of each category were reconvicted within two years of release in each of those years; and if he will make a statement;

(4) how many and what proportion of first time offenders sentenced by magistrates courts were given custodial sentences in each year since 1993; and if he will make a statement.

The following table 1 shows the number of first time offenders sentenced at Crown and magistrates courts from 2000-05 based on a sample of offenders, and the percentage of these given custody. The sample is all offenders sentenced in the first quarter of each year. A first time offender is defined as an offender with no previous convictions or cautions.

Table 1: Number of first time offenders sentenced at Crown and magistrates courts and percentage given custody, 2000-05

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

Crown courts

Total number sentenced

2,964

2,900

3,110

2,980

3,033

2,903

Number given custody

1,440

1,508

1,680

1,490

1,566

1,550

Percentage given custody

49

52

54

50

52

53

Magistrates courts

Total number sentenced

7,386

6,785

6,109

6,317

6,254

5,936

Number given custody

351

[425

372

437

488

409

Percentage given custody

5

6

6

7

8

7

Data are not available before 2000.

Table 2 shows the number and percentage of first time offenders given custodial sentences at magistrates courts who were (a) juvenile and (b) young adults.

Table 2: Juvenile and young adult first time offenders given custodial sentences at magistrates courts

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

Juveniles (aged 10-17)

23

37

29

30

34

35

Percentage of all first time offenders given custodial sentences

7

9

8

7

7

9

Young adults (aged 18-20)

46

81

48

46

53

45

Percentage of all first time offenders given custodial sentences

13

19

13

11

11

11

Data on proven re-offending rates are not available for this breakdown of offenders.