Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 7 April 2021.

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Photo of Lord Bradley Lord Bradley Labour

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many prisoners currently sentenced to imprisonment for public protection were convicted of theft.

Photo of Lord Wolfson of Tredegar Lord Wolfson of Tredegar The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

None. Offences contrary to section 1 of the Theft Act 1968 (“theft”) never qualified as serious specified offences within the meaning of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 for which a sentence of imprisonment for public protection (IPP) could have been imposed . However, a conviction for certain other offences within the Theft Act 1968, such as that for robbery or aggravated burglary, could have led to an IPP sentence. As of 31 December 2020, there were 714 (339 unreleased and 375 recalled) prisoners serving an IPP sentence who have a recorded offence in the category of “robbery” and 80 (34 unreleased and 46 recalled) prisoners serving an IPP sentence who have a recorded offence in the category of “theft offences”. But these data do not give an indication of the precise specific serious specified offence, or the context or severity of the crimes, which led to a Judge deciding that the case was so serious that it merited the imposition of an IPP sentence.

The independent Parole Board determine whether it is safe to release prisoners serving an IPP sentence. Consequently, where a prisoner remains in custody, it is because the Parole Board has judged that their risk is too high for them to be safely managed in the community.

The Government’s primary responsibility is to protect the public; however, HM Prison and Probation Service remains committed to supporter prisoners to reduce their risk to the level where the Parole Board will judge that they may now be safely supervised on licence in the community.

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