Automatic release at the half way point of sentence was introduced by the Criminal Justice Act 1991. Prisoners who are sentenced to six months therefore normally serve three months in prison. Adult prisoners sentenced to less than 12 months are not subject to supervision by the probation service on release from custody. However, they are ‘at risk’ of return to custody by the courts, to serve the unexpired portion of the sentence, if they commit an imprisonable offence before the expiry date of the original sentence. Young offenders (those under the age of 22 released from a term of detention in a YOI) are subject to a minimum of three months supervision. Juvenile prisoners sentenced to a Detention and Training Order are supervised as part of the conditions of these sentences.
The actual amount of time served in prison, following sentence, will depend on a number of factors, including time spent as a remand prisoner or credit for time spent on tagged bail if directed by the court, any added days and release on either Home Detention Curfew or End of Custody Licence.
For those prisoners discharged in 2008 having been sentenced to six months, the amount of time served is shown in the following table.
Time served Prisoners Six weeks or less 60 Over six weeks and up and including to three months 5,000 Over three months and less than six months 590 Six months 20 Total 5,700
Six weeks or less
Over six weeks and up and including to three months
Over three months and less than six months
Numbers below 1,000 have been rounded to the nearest 10. Numbers over 1,000 have been rounded to the nearest 100.
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.