Open Prisons

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 2nd July 2015.

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Photo of Philip Davies Philip Davies Conservative, Shipley

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what offences were committed by prisoners serving sentences in open prisons on the most recent period for which information is available.

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

Prisoners may be categorised and allocated to the open prison estate towards the end of their sentence and as a preparation for release from custody. Public protection is paramount, only those prisoners who are assessed as having reduced their risks of escape or abscond and risk of harm to the public and who are judged to be trustworthy in conditions of very low security will be allocated to open prison. Progression to open prison is never automatic, and prisoners must generally be within two years of release before they can be considered for allocation to an open prison.

The table attached shows the offence for which prisoners (held in open conditions in March 2015) were sentenced.

March 2015

Violence against the person


Sexual offences






Drug offences


Motoring offences


Other offences


Offence not recorded




The figures in these tables 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.

Due to continuing problems with data quality, reporting on the populations in the 'Burglary' and 'Theft and Handling' offence groups has been disrupted between 1 July and 31 December 2014. This is because, for statistical purposes only, some prisoners have been mis-allocated between these two offence groups. The reporting of these figures has therefore been postponed pending further investigation.


(1) Based on predominant function of the prison and therefore excludes prisoners held in open wings of closed establishments.

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