Prisoners' Release

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 17th September 2014.

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Photo of Philip Davies Philip Davies Conservative, Shipley

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many prisoners were released on temporary licence from each category of prison in the latest period for which figures are available.

Photo of Andrew Selous Andrew Selous The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

Temporary release can be a valuable tool in the resettlement of prisoners in the community but it must never take place at the expense of public safety. We conducted a fundamental review of the policy and practice of release on temporary licence (ROTL) after serious failures last year. We are introducing a system that enhances the assessment of serious offenders and restricts access to ROTL to cases where there is a clear, legitimate reason for the release. We have already introduced some of these changes and have additionally introduced a restriction on prisoners transferring to open conditions and having ROTL if they have previously absconded from open prisons; or if they have failed to return or reoffended whilst released on temporary licence.

The table below shows the number of distinct, individual prisoners released on temporary licence from each category of prison in 2013. It is important to be aware that there is some double counting here, ie where a prisoner has transferred between prisons during the year and had ROTL from more than one category of prison. In fact a total of 11, 211 individuals were temporarily released at some point in 2013.

Table 1: Number of prisoners(1) released on temporary licence by prison category(2), 2013

Prison category

Number of prisoners

Category A


Category B


Category C


Category D


Other prisons(3)


All prisons


*this was a category D prisoner, ie suitable for open conditions.

(1) Where a prisoner has been transferred to a different category of prison during the calendar year, they have been counted once under both categories.

(2) Prisons have been categorised by their predominant function as at January 2014. Some prisons will have a dual function, but will only be counted under their predominant one. For example, some category A prisons also have a local function - these prisons are counted under the "category A" heading.

(3) Other prisons includes those prisons with a predominant function of YOI, Female prison, Local prison or NOMS IRC.

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