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Prison Sentences

Volume 507: debated on Monday 8 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many indeterminate sentences for public protection handed down (a) between 14 July and 31 December 2008 and (b) in 2009 were given with tariffs of fewer than 24 months. (320985)

I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave him on 9 February 2010, Official Report, columns 944-45W.

Table 1 in that answer shows the number of offenders who have received an indeterminate sentence of imprisonment for public protection (IPP), if they are over 18 years of age, or a detention for public protection (DPP), if they are under 18 years of age, with a tariff of two years or less, as calculated from date of sentence to the date of tariff expiry. The figures shown are as notified to the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) at 5 February 2010.

The figures in that answer were taken from the Public Protection Unit Database (PPUD) in NOMS, 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.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many prisoners serving an indeterminate sentence for public protection have been in prison three or more years beyond their tariff; and how many of those prisoners are in an open prison. (320986)

As at 4 March 2010, there were 95 of prisoners serving an indeterminate sentence for public protection who have been in prison three or more years beyond their tariff. Of these, 10 were in open conditions. These figures include those prisoners being held within the juvenile and female estates.

The fact that a prisoner is held in custody past-tariff does not mean that he is being detained in custody unfairly. The tariff is the minimum period for punishment and deterrence which must be served before an indeterminate sentence prisoner may be considered for release.

However, whether the Parole Board will direct the release of tariff-expired indeterminate sentence prisoners depends on whether the board determines that it is no longer necessary, on the grounds of public protection, for that offender to be detained in custody.

The figures to answer each question 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.