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Prisoners Release: Reoffenders

Volume 506: debated on Wednesday 24 February 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer of 11 January 2010, Official Report, column 792W, on prisons: release, how many of the 12 serving ex-prisoners who have not been back into the criminal justice system since their release in error have committed further offences; what the original offence was for which each was convicted; and what proportion of the original sentence each had served at the date of release. (318052)

Only one of the 12 offenders listed as follows is shown on the police national computer as having committed a further offence (theft/fraud) or is wanted for anything other than the release in error.

Prisoner discharge can be a complex area and the following table and associated notes reflect this complexity. Despite this the number of releases in error is small, accounting for fewer than 0.05 per cent. of discharges from prison.

The following table shows the details of the 12 offenders who had not been accounted for at the time of my answer of 11 January 2010. Since then, four of these 12 offenders have been returned to custody or have appeared in court and resolved the outstanding issue.

Individual offenders released in error according to offence and proportion of sentence served at time of release


Proportion of sentence served (percentage)

Drug Production


Other Motoring


Breach of Bail




Fine Default


Fine Default




Breach Community Service Order


Fine Default




Common Assault



4, 5, 6n/a

1 Served all of sentence but released in error because offenders were due to be interviewed by another law enforcement agency.

2 Served all of sentence but released in error because offender was due to appear in court on further charges.

3 Sentence length not applicable—remand prisoner released in error prior to trial.

4 Four offenders have since appeared in court or been returned to custody to resolve the outstanding error.

5 Served all of current sentence but released in error because he had, prior to the current sentence, served a previous period in prison. He had been released on licence to serve the remainder of that earlier sentence in the community. While he was serving his second sentence it had been decided that he should serve some or all of the remaining period of the earlier sentence in prison. He was released in error before that could happen. The additional period he could have served would have been subject to the view of the Parole Board. That period could have been up to a maximum of a further one year and one day.

6 Committed further offence of theft/fraud since release in error but is now back in custody.

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.