Open Prisons

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

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Photo of Graham Brady Graham Brady Chair, Conservative Party 1922 Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, pursuant to the Answer to Question 212354, how many prisoners convicted of which specific offences relating to (a) violence against the person, (b) sexual offences and (c) robbery are currently held in open prisons.

Photo of Graham Brady Graham Brady Chair, Conservative Party 1922 Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, pursuant to the Answer of 3 November 2014 to Question 212354, how many (a) indeterminate sentenced prisoners serving life sentences and (b) prisoners serving indeterminate sentences for public protection by category of offence were placed in open prisons in the most recent period for which figures are available.

Photo of Andrew Selous Andrew Selous Assistant Whip (HM Treasury), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

The first table below provides the number of prisoners located in an open prison serving a custodial sentence, by offence group. The second table provides the number of prisoners serving an indeterminate sentence located in open prison, by offence group.

Prisoners serving an immediate custodial sentence in open prisons(1) by specific offence, 30 September 2014, England and Wales

30-Sep-14

Violence against the person

1,131

Murder

323

Manslaughter

62

Other Homicide & attempted

109

Other Violence Against The Person

637

Sexual offences

285

Rape

159

Other Sexual offences

126

Robbery

422

All other offences

2,309

Total

4,147

Prisoners serving an indeterminate sentence in open prisons(1) by offence group, 30 September 2014, England and Wales

IPP

Life

All

Violence against the person

213

390

603

Sexual offences

125

83

208

Robbery

103

16

119

Burglary

12

5

17

Theft and handling

0

0

0

Fraud and forgery

0

0

0

Drug offences

1

0

1

Motoring offences

0

2

2

Other offences

61

26

87

Offence not recorded

0

1

1

All

515

523

1,038

(1) Only prisons that are predominantly open are included. Figures do not include category D prisoners held in non-predominant function open prisons nor those held in open sites that are part of multi-site establishments performing different functions nor those held in small (under 50 place) open units at predominant function closed prisons.

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.

As previously explained, all prisoners located in open conditions have been subject to a rigorous assessment which has concluded that their risk is capable of being effectively managed in open conditions. Once allocated to an open prison, prisoners continue to be monitored and are returned to closed prison immediately if there are any concerns about their suitability for low security conditions.

Placing a prisoner in open conditions serves two main purposes. Firstly, it facilitates the eventual resettlement of prisoners into the community, in conditions more similar to those that they will face in the community than closed conditions can provide. Secondly, it allows for risk to be assessed in order to inform release decisions and, should the prisoner secure release, to inform risk management plans for ongoing supervision in the community. For many prisoners, in particular those such as life sentence prisoners, who have spent a considerable amount of time in custody; these can be important components for successful reintegration in the community and therefore a mechanism to help protect the public.

Keeping the public safe is our priority. That is why this Government took action on releases on temporary licence (ROTL) absconds from prison; prisoners are now no longer eligible for transfer to open conditions if they have previously escaped; absconded from open prisons; or if they have failed to return or reoffended whilst released on temporary licence, unless there are exceptional circumstances.

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