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Prisoners: Sentences

Volume 701: debated on Thursday 1 May 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many people are currently serving indefinite sentences of imprisonment for the protection of the public; and at what rate this number is increasing each year; and [HL3130]

How many people are currently serving notional minimum sentences of (a) two years or less; (b) between two and three years; (c) between three and four years; (d) between four and five years; and (e) more than five years. [HL3131]

As at the end of February 2008, there were 4,000 offenders serving indeterminate sentences for public protection (IPPs) in prison establishments in England and Wales. This compares to 2,300 at the end of February 2007 and 550 at the end of February 2006. 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, so the numbers have been rounded to the nearest 50.

Prison population information held centrally does not include complete information on the notional minimum sentences (tariffs) to be served by all offenders currently sentenced to an IPP. However, a research study on offenders received into prisons in England and Wales under IPPs between April 2005 and March 2006 collected valid tariff information on 685 of the total 707 IPPs, of which (a) 280 had a tariff of two years or less; (b) 195 had a tariff of over two years up to three years; (c) 107 had a tariff of over three years up to four years; (d) 46 had a tariff of over four years up to five years; and (e) 57 had a tariff of over five years. (These recorded tariffs are believed to include reductions for remand time served). These figures have been drawn from administrative IT systems and data returns from prison establishments which, as with any large-scale recording system, are subject to possible errors with data entry and processing.