Reoffenders

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 27th February 2020.

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Photo of Philip Davies Philip Davies Conservative, Shipley

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many offenders released on licence following a life sentence have committed (a) homicide and (b) other offences in each of the last five years.

Photo of Philip Davies Philip Davies Conservative, Shipley

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many offenders sentenced to life in the last five years had received one or more previous life sentences on a separate sentencing occasion.

Photo of Chris Philp Chris Philp The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

Serious further offences are very rare. Fewer than 0.5% of offenders under statutory supervision are charged with a serious further offence.

An offender sentenced to life imprisonment is eligible for release on life licence only once he has completed the minimum term (tariff) specified by the Court at the point of sentence. It falls to the independent Parole Board to determine whether to release a life sentence prisoner who has completed his minimum term and the Board will direct release only where it is satisfied that it is no longer necessary for the purposes of public protection for the prisoner to remain confined.

The Ministry of Justice does not keep the figures requested in relation to (b) other offences and to obtain them would incur disproportionate cost. The Ministry of Justice does capture however, the more serious further offences (SFOs) by means of the Probation SFO Review Procedures. In accordance with those Procedures, the National SFO Team in HM Prison and Probation Service is notified of an offender subject to statutory probation supervision appearing in court charged with a qualifying offence under Probation Instruction 2018 06

https://www.justice.gov.uk/downloads/offenders/psipso/psi-2018/pi-06-2018-sfo-procedures.doc.pdf.

Accordingly, there are published statistics on convictions for an SFO on the part of an offender on life licence, arising from notifications to the National SFO Team between 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2018. I have provided the link below. https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/serious-further-offences.

We will publish SFO conviction data for 2018/19 in October 2020.

The table below shows these figures broken down by homicide and other serious offences for 2015- 2018 which is the most recent available data in the last five years.

Serious Further Offence (SFO) type

Year

Number of offenders on life sentence who committed homicide

Number of offenders on life sentence who committed other serious further offences

Total

2015 - 2016

2

4

6

2016 - 2017

2

4

6

2017 - 2018

5

7

12

Total

9

15

24

  1. Data is taken from published data which captures serious further offending notified to the national SFO Team, HMPPS up until 31/03/2018.
  2. Data is derived from the date of SFO notification to HMPPS. The serious further offence could have been committed prior to the timeframe of the published data.
  3. This figure only includes convictions for serious further offences by life sentence prisoners on supervision that have been notified to the national SFO Team, HMPPS.
  4. The data provided are provisional figures subject to change when any outstanding cases are concluded at court.
  5. The data also includes cases where the offender committed suicide or died prior to the trial, where a Court has subsequently ruled that they were responsible.
  6. Data Sources and Quality. We have drawn these figures from administrative IT systems which, as with some large-scale recording system, are subject to possible errors with data entry and processing.
  7. The data for homicide would include manslaughter and other serious further offences involving death. The figures for homicide in this answer all relate to convictions for murder.

14 offenders have been sentenced to life in the last five years who had received one or more previous life sentence on a separate occasion.

Section 21 of Criminal Justice Act 2003 sets out the starting point for the sentencing Judge to impose a whole life tariff in cases where an offender has been previously convicted of murder.

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