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Life Imprisonment

Volume 506: debated on Monday 22 February 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the average tariff given with a mandatory life sentence was in each of the last 10 years. (316328)

The average length of tariff given to offenders sentenced to a mandatory life sentence in each of the last 10 years, as at 5 February 2010, is shown in the following table.

Year of sentence

Number sentenced

Average days

Average in years (1 year = 365 days)

2000

251

5,228

14.32

2001

278

5,111

14.00

2002

304

4,814

13.19

2003

280

4,992

13.68

2004

355

5,298

14.52

2005

366

5,891

16.14

2006

383

6,402

17.54

2007

353

5,806

15.91

2008

435

6,556

17.96

2009

317

6,402

17.54

Totals

3,322

The figures include those sentenced to a mandatory life sentence that subsequently had their sentence quashed or died. In a further 144 cases of prisoners sentenced over this period, the courts have yet to determine the length of tariff or the prisoner was given a life sentence by another jurisdiction. The figures also exclude those life sentence prisoners who have been given a whole life tariff. There were 19 whole life tariffs handed down by the courts during this period.

The figures were taken from the Public Protection Unit Database (PPUD) in the National Offender Management Service, and, as with any large scale recording system, it is subject to possible errors arising from either data entry or processing. The PPUD is a live database, updated on a regular basis. As a result, snapshots taken in consecutive days will contain differences reflecting updates.