Prisoners Release

Justice written question – answered on 10th February 2010.

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Photo of Simon Burns Simon Burns Opposition Whip (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps he plans to take to reduce the number of prisoners released in error.

Photo of Maria Eagle Maria Eagle Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (also in Government Equalities Office), Minister of State (Government Equalities Office) (also in the Ministry of Justice)

While errors are made in only a very small proportion of the total discharges of prisoners in any year, this issue is one that is taken very seriously. The National Offender Management Service has put in place a number of measures to reduce these errors including:

all release in error incidents are reported immediately by telephone to headquarters as a serious incident; formal investigations are required in all cases and the learning from these investigations acted upon. Where individual (rather than system) failings have been identified disciplinary action has been taken;

Prison governors and regional custodial managers have been required to review sentence calculation and discharge procedures and ensure additional managerial attention is given to this area; and

Additional guidance has been provided to prisons in areas where it was discovered that detailed legislative or policy issues about eligibility for release had been misunderstood by prisons.

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