Sentencing: Females

Justice written question – answered on 8th September 2014.

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Photo of Kate Green Kate Green Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many women aged 18 years and above from each ethnic group were sentenced to custody for a first offence, broken down by (a) offence type and (b) sentence length in the last two full years for which data is available.

Photo of Simon Hughes Simon Hughes The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

Sentencing decisions are entirely a matter for the independent judiciary. When considering the appropriate sentence, the judge will take into consideration a number of factors, including the seriousness of the offence and the impact that the crime has had on the victim.

All courts must follow guidelines issued by the independent Sentencing Council. The judge will take into account any mitigation which might include personal circumstances, expressions of remorse and a guilty plea. While the sentencing framework and guidelines apply equally to everyone, any differences in sentencing outcomes may therefore occur for a number of reasons, including the types of crimes committed and the seriousness of the offence.

We are committed to making sure sentencers have robust community options at their disposal. We are working with partners in Greater Manchester on a pathfinder aimed at providing sentencers with robust and effective sentencing options in the community that may divert women from custody, where appropriate. Learning from the pathfinder will inform a new operating model for working differently with women in the criminal justice system. We have also legislated to make sure that the needs of female offenders are addressed under our Transforming Rehabilitation reforms. Companies bidding for contracts will be expected to demonstrate an effective approach to the identification and recognition of women’s needs, as well as protected characteristics, to make sure that individual needs are properly addressed. They will be held to account to deliver these services in their contracts. With the Advisory Board on Female Offenders, we have produced guidance for new providers on working with female offenders.

Table 1 shows the number of female offenders aged 18 and above sentenced to immediate custody for a first offence by ethnicity and offence class in England and Wales in 2012-13.

Table 2 shows the number of female offenders aged 18 and above sentenced to immediate custody for a first offence by ethnicity and sentence length in England and Wales in 2012-13.

Table 1: Number of female offenders1 aged 18 and above sentenced to immediate custody for a first offence2 by ethnicity3 and offence class in England and Wales, 2012-13
    Ethnic appearance3  
  Offence category White Black Asian Other Unknown All
2012 Violence against the person 92 20 12 4 6 134
  Sexual offences 23 0 0 0 0 23
  Robbery 11 5 1 0 0 17
  Theft offences 188 11 16 2 7 224
  Criminal damage and arson 16 0 2 0 0 18
  Drug offences 42 16 7 12 1 78
  Possession of weapons 10 2 1 1 1 15
  Public order offences 6 2 1 0 0 9
  Miscellaneous crimes against society4 114 113 30 25 15 297
  Fraud offences 107 34 20 11 2 174
  Summary non motoring 24 4 5 2 1 36
  Summary motoring 8 0 0 0 0 8
  Total 641 207 95 57 33 1,033
               
2013 Violence against the person 75 12 10 1 5 103
  Sexual offences 16 2 0 0 0 18
  Robbery 8 2 0 0 0 10
  Theft offences 170 10 7 7 8 202
  Criminal damage and arson 12 1 1 1 0 15
  Drug offences 53 9 8 14 1 85
  Possession of weapons 5 1 0 0 0 6
  Public order offences 3 0 0 0 1 4
  Miscellaneous crimes against society4 120 96 25 25 25 291
  Fraud offences 89 16 8 7 9 129
  Summary non motoring 18 6 1 0 2 27
  Summary motoring 6 0 0 0 0 6
  Total 575 155 60 55 51 896
1 Figures are based on counting the number of sentencing occasions for offences committed by offenders who were prosecuted by police forces in England and Wales including the British Transport police. 2 The first offence is the first conviction recorded on the PNC for an offender who committed an offence in England and Wales where an immediate custodial sentence was given. 3 Ethnicity identified and recorded on the PNC by police officer according to the appearance of offenders not as those self-identified and recorded on census. 4 Miscellaneous offences contains a large number and variety of offences, in the case of first time female adult offenders the most common offences are: with intent knowingly possess false/improperly obtained/anothers ID document; Identity Cards Act 2006 S.25(1)(2)(6); possess/control identity documents with intent; attempting to pervert the course of Justice; assisting unlawful immigration to member state. Immigration Act 1971 S.25 as added by Nationality, Immigration & Asylum Act 2002 S.143. Note: All data have been taken from the MOJ extract of the Police National Computer. This includes details of all convictions, cautions, reprimands or warnings given for recordable offences (see www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2000/1139/schedule/made for definition). It is therefore possible that some offenders presented in the table above have previously also received convictions for offences not recorded on the PNC. Source: Ministry of Justice, Police National Computer (PNC).
Table 2: Number of female offenders1 aged 18 and above sentenced to immediate custody for their first offence2 by ethnicity3 and sentence length in England and Wales, 2012-13
    Ethnic appearance3  
  Sentence length White Black Asian Other Unknown All
2012 Up to and including 3 months 103 20 8 13 3 147
  Over 3 months and up to and including 6 months 91 53 14 12 8 178
  Over 6 months and up to and including 12 months 128 58 29 14 10 239
  1 - 2 years 180 40 18 8 5 251
  2 - 4 years 118 25 17 8 6 174
  Over 4 years5 15 8 6 1 1 31
  Unknown4 4 1 0 0 0 5
  All 639 205 92 56 33 1,025
               
2013 Up to and including 3 months 85 11 4 11 7 118
  Over 3 months and up to and including 6 months 65 54 6 8 17 150
  Over 6 months and up to and including 12 months 137 43 17 19 16 232
  1 - 2 years 155 27 16 13 4 215
  2 - 4 years 104 18 14 4 7 147
  Over 4 years4 15 2 1 0 0 18
  Unknown5 4 0 0 0 0 4
  All 565 155 58 55 51 884
1 Figures are based on counting the number of sentencing occasions for offences committed by offenders who were prosecuted by police forces in England and Wales including the British Transport police. 2 The first offence is the first conviction recorded on the PNC for an offender who committed an offence in England and Wales where an immediate custodial sentence was given. 3 Ethnicity identified and recorded on the PNC by police officer according to the appearance of offenders not as those self-identified and recorded on census. 4 Excludes life sentences. 5 Includes cases where sentence length was not recorded on the PNC. Notes: 1. The totals in table 1 and table 2 are different as life sentences have been excluded. 2. All data have been taken from the MOJ extract of the Police National Computer. This includes details of all convictions, cautions, reprimands or warnings given for recordable offences (see www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2000/1139/schedule/made for definition). It is therefore possible that some offenders presented in the table above have previously also received convictions for offences not recorded on the PNC. Source: Ministry of Justice, Police National Computer.

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