Prisoners' Release

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 20th July 2021.

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Photo of John Hayes John Hayes Conservative, South Holland and The Deepings

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many prisoners convicted of sexual offences were released halfway through their sentence in 2020-21.

Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

The attached table shows that between 1 April 2020 and 31 December 2020, an estimated 1,782 prisoners convicted of sexual offences were released halfway through their sentence. The number of releases at the sentence halfway point is not routinely produced for statistical purposes and this estimate is based on the type of sentence and the type of release recorded. Data on releases is published quarterly in arrears and no data on releases in 2021 has yet been published.

Most prisoners serve standard determinate sentences (SDS). Until recently, this meant that they were released automatically at the halfway point of the sentence, regardless of the nature of the offence. However, since 1 April 2020, and the implementation of the Release of Prisoners (Alteration of Relevant Proportion of Sentence) Order 2020, anyone given an SDS of 7 years or more for serious sexual or violent offences where the maximum penalty is a life sentence is required to spend two-thirds – rather than half – of that sentence in prison before being released on licence. In the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, we are seeking to extend this to those sentenced to an SDS of between 4 – 7 years for certain serious violent and sexual offences.

Table (xlsx, 17.4KB)

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