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Prisoners: Length of Sentence

Volume 700: debated on Tuesday 25 March 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many prisoners currently in prisons in England and Wales have served longer than their tariff. [HL2559]

Complete information on the total numbers of all life and other indeterminate sentence prisoners held in custody beyond their tariff period is not currently available centrally. To provide the information requested would require manual checking of individual records which could be carried out only at disproportionate cost. However within the Public Protection Unit of the National Offender Management Service, the Pre-Release Section (PRS) maintains a limited database on those offenders sentenced to imprisonment for public protection (IPP). This indicates that, as at 1 March 2008, 635 such offenders were being held in prison beyond their tariff expiry date.

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.

The department is developing a new database that will allow it to accurately capture the information requested. The database is nearing completion and it is expected to go live this spring.