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Open Prisons

Volume 476: debated on Monday 2 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many prisoners in open prisons in England and Wales were convicted of (a) offences of violence, (b) sexual offences or (c) offences of supplying illegal drugs. (206878)

At the end of March 2008 there were (a) 1,240 prisoners serving sentences for violence against the person offences, (b) 50 prisoners serving sentences for sexual offences, and (c) 1,270 prisoners serving sentences for drugs offences in prison establishments in England and Wales whose main function is as an open prison.

Open prisons house category D prisoners. These are prisoners whose risk of absconding is considered to be low and who have been assessed as posing a low risk of harm to the public. Within this population are long term prisoners coming towards the end of their sentence who, over time, have substantially reduced their level of risk and who would benefit from the regime available in an open prison as part of their preparation for eventual release.

It is not possible to show the number serving sentences for specific types of drug offences as the data is not accurate to this level.

These figures have been drawn from administrative IT systems, which, as with any large scale recording system, are subject to possible errors with data entry and processing and the figures have been rounded to the nearest 10.