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Prisoners Release: Terrorism

Volume 497: debated on Monday 12 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many people convicted of terrorist offences and sentenced to more than 12 months’ imprisonment have been released early from prison since 2001; (290110)

(2) how many people convicted of terrorism offences in the UK since 2001 have been released early from prison;

(3) how many members of the prison population have been convicted of terrorism offences in each year since 2001;

(4) how many people convicted of terrorism offences in the UK have been released to bail hostels accommodation since 2001.

Eligible prisoners may be released earlier than the halfway point of their sentence under the Home Detention Curfew (HDC) or End of Custody Licence (ECL) schemes. Foreign national prisoners who are to be deported may also be liable for early removal under the Early Removal Scheme (ERS).

Prisoners serving sentences for any offence under terrorism legislation have been presumed unsuitable for release on HDC since 4 April 2008 and excluded from release on ECL since 28 March 2008. It has also been decided that, with effect from 16 October 2008, early removal under ERS should not be granted to prisoners convicted under terrorism legislation offences.

Prior to those decisions being taken, three prisoners convicted of terrorism offences were released on the HDC scheme: two in 2003 and one in 2007. All were serving sentences of 12 months or more.

Two prisoners were released on ECL during 2008 whilst serving sentences for terrorism offences: one in January 2008 and one in February 2008. One of those prisoners was serving a sentence of 12 months or more.

No prisoners serving sentences for terrorism offences have been removed early under the ERS scheme.

Information regarding the number of individuals convicted of terrorism or terrorism related offences can be found in the Home Office Statistical Bulletin on Terrorism Arrests and Outcomes which was published for the first time on 13 May 2009 and is available on the Home Office website. This bulletin is intended to be the first in a regular series of publications which will help improve the quality of data publicly available on terrorism arrests and their outcomes.

Data about offenders released into approved premises (formerly known as bail/probation hostels) have been collected centrally only since April 2004, from information supplied by individual approved premises. The data collected do not include offence details and no other centrally held information includes details of the numbers of terrorist offenders released to approved premises dating back to 2001. Tracking this information down would have to be done on a case-by-case basis and as such would prove disproportionately expensive. However, since September 2008 information on the release details of individuals convicted of terrorism or terrorism related offences has been held centrally and 11 terrorist offenders have been released to approved premises since then.

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.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many offenders convicted of terrorism offences are housed in approved premises in England and Wales. (290334)

The National Offender Management Service does not hold centrally details on offenders by offence type currently being housed in approved premises.

Where merited by the circumstances of the case, offenders can be required upon release to reside in approved premises, to allow for a period of enhanced supervision, contributing to protecting the public and assisting in their managed reintegration into society. As of 31 July 2009, 14 offenders convicted of terrorism or terrorist-related offences have been released initially to approved premises, although of these, some will subsequently have been moved on to other risk-assessed accommodation.