(2) how many offences were committed by people released from prison in error in the latest period for which figures are available;
(3) how many people released from prison in error were returned to prison in the latest period for which figures are available.
As at 21 January 2010, 54 prisoners were recorded as released in error when an authority to retain them in custody was in place. This figure covers the period between 1 January 2009 and 31 December 2009.
Most prisoners released in error are returned quickly to custody. Of those released in error during 2009 seven remain unaccounted for.
Figures relating to offences committed by those at large following a release in error are not available centrally. Releases in error are reported to the police who are responsible for apprehending prisoners. Information on further offences committed could only be collated by contacting each prison and police force across England and Wales which would incur disproportionate cost.
The number of releases in error is small, accounting for less than 0.05 per cent. of discharges from prison. All incidents are subject to investigation. There is no indication from the available information of any significant level of offending by prisoners who should have been in custody at the time.
These figures have been drawn from live administrative data systems which may be amended at any time. 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.
The number of releases in error reported for 2009 may change, should further incidents be reported.