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Terrorism: Prisoner Releases

Volume 476: debated on Monday 2 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many prisoners serving a determinate sentence for a terrorism offence were released at the half-way point of their custodial sentence in the latest period for which figures are available. (200236)

All offenders who receive a standard determinate sentence are automatically released at the halfway point of their sentence and remain under licence, subject to recall if they breach licence conditions, for the remainder of their sentence, under the Criminal Justice Act 2003. Offenders who receive an indeterminate or extended sentence for a sexual or violent offence, are not automatically released, although an extended sentence prisoner may be released at the halfway point upon the Parole Board's discretion.

I am unaware of any proposals which have been put before either House by any member during proceedings on the Terrorism Act 2000, the Criminal Justice Act 2003, or other relevant Bills for there to be different and specific arrangements relating to the release of those convicted of terrorist related offences and sentencers are fully aware of the release arrangements when they hand down a sentence for any offence.

The Home Office, Ministry of Justice and Attorney-General's office are currently working with the National Coordinator for Terrorist Investigations to improve the quality of data on conviction under terrorist legislation and those under other legislation but following a terrorist investigation. As soon as this is complete a statistical bulletin to cover information on arrests and convictions will be published.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer of 29 April 2008, Official Report, column 158, how many prisoners convicted of terrorist offences and serving a determinate sentence under the provisions of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 will be automatically released after serving half of their sentence. (203701)

All offenders who receive a standard determinate sentence are automatically released at the halfway point of their sentence and remain under licence, subject to recall if they breach licence conditions, for the remainder of their sentence, under Criminal Justice Act 2003. Offenders who receive an indeterminate or extended sentence for a sexual or violent offence, are not automatically released, although an extended sentence prisoner may be released at the halfway point upon the Parole Board's discretion.

I am unaware of any proposals which have been put before either House by any member during proceedings on the Terrorism Act 2000, the Criminal Justice Act 2003, or other relevant Bills for there to be different and specific arrangements relating to the release of those convicted of terrorist related offences and sentencers are fully aware of the release arrangements when they hand down a sentence for any offence.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by the Minister of State for Justice, my hon. Friend the Member for North Swindon (Mr. Wills) at Justice oral questions on 29 April that a wide range of offences are covered by the term terrorism. The most serious terrorists are generally sentenced to indeterminate sentences.

The Home Office, Ministry of Justice and Attorney-General's Office are currently working with the National Coordinator for Terrorist Investigations to improve the quality of data on conviction under terrorist legislation and those under other legislation but following a terrorist investigation. As soon as this is complete a statistical bulletin to cover information on arrests and convictions will be published.