Justice written question – answered on 29th February 2012.

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Photo of Elfyn Llwyd Elfyn Llwyd Shadow PC Spokesperson (Wales), Plaid Cymru Westminster Leader, Shadow PC Spokesperson (Constitution), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Foreign Affairs), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Home Affairs), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Justice), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Defence), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many prisoners serving an indeterminate sentence for public protection in England and Wales were assessed as suitable to be held in open conditions but were waiting to be moved to a Category D prison in the latest period for which figures are available.

Photo of Crispin Blunt Crispin Blunt Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice) (Prisons and Probation)

As at 2 December 2011, there were 492 indeterminate sentence prisoners (ISPs) who had been approved by the Secretary of State for transfer to open conditions but were located in closed. This figure includes those serving a life sentence and those serving an indeterminate sentence of Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP).

This figure is taken from a snapshot of data. ISPs are prioritised for transfer to open conditions using the date the Secretary of State approved their move. Whether prisoners are serving an IPP or a life sentence is not relevant to the prioritisation criteria and as a result was not, at that time, recorded as part of the process.

Providing a figure for IPPs alone would incur disproportionate costs as that data has not been retained in a recorded form. In order to establish the number of prisoners serving IPP sentences at the time the snapshot was taken, retrospective checks of individual prisoners' records would have to be performed to recreate the list at the time it was generated.

This data is subject to variation due to progress of individual cases including prisoners removal from open conditions following adverse developments and Parole Board decisions following review.

This figure was 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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