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Prisoners Release: Reoffenders

Volume 497: debated on Monday 12 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many early release prisoners have been re-arrested following release (a) since 1997 and (b) in the last 12 months; (290106)

(2) how many prisoners released under early release schemes in each year since 1997 were since convicted of offences of (a) murder and (b) rape.

Determinate sentenced prisoners may be released into the community earlier than the halfway point of their sentence only under either the End of Custody Licence (ECL) scheme or the Home Detention Curfew (HDC) scheme. Indeterminate sentenced prisoners are not eligible for early release.

The Ministry of Justice does not hold centrally details of all offenders released on ECL or HDC who have been re-arrested. The Department does hold data on the number of offenders released on HDC or ECL who were recalled to custody following release. An arrest in itself may not result in a recall—for example, where the police investigation does not result in any charges, the decision may be taken not to recall the offender.

Data on ECL releases, recalls and alleged re-offending are published every month on the following website:

The numbers recalled from ECL since the scheme's inception for all reasons are shown in Table 1.

Table 1


29 June to 31 December 2007


1 January to 31 December 2008


1 January to 31 July 2009


The numbers of HDC recalls since its inception in January 1999 are published in the annual Offender Management Caseload Statistics and are shown in Table 2.

Table 2: HDC recalls since 1999

Year of recall

Numbers recalled





















As regards those prisoners who were released early and were subsequently convicted of murder or rape, the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) holds information on the number of offenders, whose cases were notified in line with Serious Further Offence (SFO) procedures, who had been released on licence and subsequently convicted of (a) murder and (b) rape, for the years 2006-07, 2007-08 and 2008-09. To provide the full set of information from 1997 would require manual checking of files, which could be undertaken only at disproportionate cost.

Of those released on HDC or ECL from 2006-07 onwards, NOMS has been notified that there have been four convictions for murder and two convictions for rape, as shown in Table 3.

Table 3


Year of conviction


Year of conviction



1 in 2008


1 in 2007

1 in 2009

1 in 2009



1 in 2008


1 in 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many prisoners granted early release have been convicted of (1) dangerous offences in the last 12 months; (290108)

(2) violent offences in the last 12 months.

The Ministry of Justice records the number of alleged offences while on early custody licence (ECL) and has recently released figures of offenders who reoffended while on home detention custody (HDC).

Data on ECL releases, recalls and alleged re-offending are published every month on the following website.

During the period 29 June 2007 (the start of the scheme) to 31 August 2009 (the latest data available), 67,380 prisoners were released on ECL of which 1,026 offenders have been notified to the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) as alleged to have committed a further offence while on the scheme. The total number of alleged further offences committed by these prisoners during their period of ECL is 1,363. Within this, 284 were alleged violent offences, seven alleged sexual offences and 36 were alleged to have committed robbery.

The latest figures on reoffending while on home detention curfew were released by this Department in my written ministerial statement on 14 September 2009, Official Report, columns 142-44WS. This shows that 11,316 offenders were released on HDC during 2007-08. Of these PNC data identified that 60 offences of violence against the person, one sexual offence and seven robberies were committed while on HDC.