Prison Sentences

Justice written question – answered on 29th March 2010.

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Photo of Dominic Grieve Dominic Grieve Shadow Secretary of State (Justice)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many people are serving a sentence of less than (a) one year, (b) two years and (c) four years for (i) homicide, (ii) rape, (iii) attempted rape and (iv) a sexual offence involving children.

Photo of Jack Straw Jack Straw The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice

The following table gives figures as at 30 June 2009, the latest date of publication for which these figures are available, showing the determinate sentence length bands requested for the total number of prisoners in all prison establishments in England and Wales serving sentences for (i) murder, conspiracy to murder, manslaughter and (ii) rape. Separate figures are not available for attempted rape.

Number of prisoners serving less than four years for specific offences
Sentence length Murder Conspire, aid, and incite to murder Manslaughter Causing death by reckless driving Rape Gross indecency, indecent assault of a child
Less than one year 0 0 0 2 21 5
1 to less than 2 years 0 0 7 26 13 34
2 to less than 4 years 0 3 62 104 104 165

The table also shows number of prisoners serving determinate sentences for (iv) gross indecency with children. However, it is not possible to give a comprehensive total of sexual offence cases which involve offences against children, as other categories of offences do not define the age of the victim. To answer this part of the question comprehensively would involve a manual search of all the relevant prison records, at disproportionate cost.

The courts must impose a mandatory life sentence on any individual convicted of murder. This is the only sentence available for such a conviction.

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.

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