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Crimes of Violence: Home Detention Curfews

Volume 474: debated on Thursday 24 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many prisoners released on home detention curfew were serving sentences for (a) violence against the person and (b) sexual offences, in the last five years for which data is available. (200238)

The following table gives the numbers of prisoners released on home detention curfew between 2002 and 2006 where the term of imprisonment was for either violence against the person or sexual offences.

Number released

Population in sentence length band

Percentage released

Violence against the person

2002

3,693

8,235

45

2003

3,564

8,740

41

2004

3,157

9,093

35

2005

3,204

10,064

32

2006

2,490

9,840

25

Sexual offences

2002

20

1,193

2

2003

8

1,238

1

2004

6

1,162

0

2005

2

1,236

0

2006

0

1,203

0

The figures are taken from Prison Statistics in England and Wales for the year 2002, and volumes of the Offender Management Caseload Statistics 2003, 2005 and 2006. Figures on sex offenders for 2004 were provided by my hon. Friend the then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice the Member for Bradford South (Mr. Sutcliffe) to the hon. Member for Taunton (Mr. Browne) on 15 May 2007, Official Report, columns 686-87W. Copies of these publications are available from the House of Common Library and at

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

Since March 2001 offenders required to register under the Sex Offenders Act 1997 (now replaced by Part 2 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003) have been statutorily excluded from HDC. Prisoners serving sentences for sexual offences that are not subject to registration are presumed unsuitable for HDC unless there are exceptional circumstances.

As noted in the footnote to published tables, the reasons for recall from home detention curfew are sometimes presented as the reason for the original imprisonment. Further investigations suggest that around 5 per cent. of offence types recorded do not relate to the offence for which they were sentenced and subsequently released on home detention curfew, but relate to offences committed after release from prison and before the licence expiry date for their sentence.

HDC allows prisoners serving primarily between three months and less than four years, to be released, depending on their sentence length, up to 135 days earlier than they would be otherwise. Prisoners must serve a minimum of one quarter of their sentence in custody subject to a minimum of 30 days before release on HDC. (Prisoners subject to the release arrangements of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 who are sentenced to four years or more are not statutorily ineligible for release on HDC but are presumed unsuitable unless there are exceptional circumstances.)

No prisoner can be placed on HDC for longer than 135 days.

The most serious violent offenders and all sexual offenders are either statutorily excluded or are presumed unsuitable for release on HDC. It should be noted that offenders serving extended sentences for serious violent offences are statutorily ineligible for release on HDC. Since March 2001 offenders required to register under the Sex Offenders Act 1997 (now replaced by Part 2 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003) have been statutorily excluded from HDC. Prisoners serving sentences for sexual offences that are not subject to registration are presumed unsuitable for HDC unless there are exceptional circumstances.

Eligible prisoners are not granted HDC unless they pass a careful risk assessment.

These figures have been drawn from administrative IT 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, and although shown to the last individual the figures may not be accurate to that level.