Reoffenders: Sentencing

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 30th November 2018.

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Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of sentences involving parole in addressing reoffending.

Photo of Lucy Frazer Lucy Frazer The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

Holding answer received on 30 November 2018

In most cases a standard determinate sentence will be imposed by the court and such offenders will serve the first half of their sentence in prison and the second half in the community on licence. Under the Offender Rehabilitation Act 2014 we extended supervision on licence to approximately 40,000 offenders each year who are released from short custodial sentences who did not previously receive statutory support from probation after release. Providing supervision and support to this group of offenders – which includes some of the most prolific individuals, who are often leading chaotic lives – is the right thing to do if we are to reduce reoffending.

In cases where an offender has been convicted of a sexual or violence offence, the court may impose an indeterminate sentence or, where an offender is considered “dangerous”, an extended determinate sentence. Indeterminate sentenced prisoners are released on licence at the discretion of the Parole Board, whilst some extended sentenced prisoners may also be released at the Board’s discretion. The Parole Board may only direct the release of an offender if satisfied they do not pose a risk to the safety of the public.

Offenders on licence must comply with a strict set of conditions. If any offender breaches their licence conditions, they are liable to be recalled immediately to prison. However, the aim is always to support offenders to complete their licence successfully.

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