Written questions and answers

Written questions allow Members of Parliament to ask government ministers for information on the work, policy and activities of government departments.

Historical written answers can be found in Hansard.

Find the latest written questions and answers for the 2019 session below. We welcome your feedback on this service.

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Unique Identifying Number – Every written question in the House of Commons has a UIN per Parliament. In the House of Lords each written questions has a UIN per parliamentary session.
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Q
Asked by Bill Wiggin
(North Herefordshire)
Asked on: 11 February 2020
Ministry of Justice
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether he plans undertake a review the cases of prisoners serving sentences for imprisonment for public protection.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 18 February 2020

Our primary responsibility is to protect the public. Prisoners serving IPP sentences will be released only when the independent Parole Board concludes that the risk to the public is capable of being safely managed in the community under probation supervision.

Many of these prisoners pose a high risk of committing further violent or sexual offences, and it would be wrong to simply release them en masse. For that reason, we have no plans to abolish IPP sentences or make other legislative changes.

We are committed to providing IPP prisoners with opportunities to progress to the point at which they are safe to release. Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) continue to review the cases of post tariff IPP prisoners who have failed to achieve release or progression to open prison conditions, despite two or more parole reviews, as well as those who received a tariff of 2 years or under. These Case File Reviews (CFRs) enable HMPPS Psychology Services to consult with Offender Managers in order to shape their pathway towards progression. To date, over 1,500 CFRs have taken place, with 284 IPP prisoners from this cohort having achieved release, and a further 355 a progressive move to open conditions.

The CFRs are one of the actions in the HMPPS and Parole Board Joint Action Plan, which aims to support prisoners serving IPP sentences. Through the joint Action Plan, HMPPS prioritise post-tariff prisoners in accessing rehabilitative interventions, and deliver a number of initiatives, including the establishment of Progression Regimes at four prisons across the country. Progression Regimes work with prisoners serving indeterminate sentences, who are struggling to achieve release through the usual routes.

There is clear evidence that these measures are working. IPP prisoners are being released in large numbers, and have a high chance of a positive outcome from Parole Board hearings. As of 31 December 2019, the number of unreleased IPP prisoners who have completed their minimum tariff was 1,985. This is down from 2,255 on 31 December 2018.

Q
(East Londonderry)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 03 February 2020
Ministry of Justice
Reoffenders
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many people who were released from prison following a decision by the Independent Parole Board were subsequently convicted and imprisoned for a further offence in the last three years.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 17 February 2020

This Government is committed to reducing reoffending by ensuring that all offenders have the tools they need to turn their backs on crime. Prisons and probation must provide the opportunity for prisoners to rehabilitate, which will ultimately reduce reoffending and protect the public.

The Ministry of Justice does not hold data on the number of offenders released following a Parole Board decision who were subsequently convicted and imprisoned for a further offence. However, a breakdown of the total number of reoffences following release after serving an indeterminate sentence is published. A breakdown of these is included below:

Table 1: Total number of reoffences following release from custody after serving an indeterminate sentence

Indeterminate sentence

Reoffending cohort

April 2015 – March 2016

April 2016 – March 2017

April 2017 – March 2018

Indeterminate sentence for public protection

141

191

231

Mandatory life prisoner

10

17

27

Other life1

27

37

21

  1. ‘Other life’ category includes discretionary and automatic life sentences

Q
Asked by Philip Davies
(Shipley)
Asked on: 06 February 2020
Ministry of Justice
Shoplifting: Sentencing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what the highest number of previous offences of theft from a shop or stall was for people convicted of that offence and not given a sentence of immediate custody in each of the last three years; and what the sentence was for the most recent offence in each of those cases.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 17 February 2020

Data on the highest number of previous cautions and convictions for a specified offence for offenders convicted of that specified offence and given a sentence other than immediate custody, and the sentence given for the most recent specified offence, year ending March 2017 to year ending March 2019, can be viewed in the attached table.

Table (Excel SpreadSheet, 18.31 KB)
Grouped Questions: 13960 | 13961 | 13962 | 13967 | 13968 | 13969 | 14632 | 14633 | 14634 | 14635 | 14636
Asked on: 06 February 2020
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Rugby
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of rugby league in England and Wales.
A
Answered by: Baroness Barran
Answered on: 17 February 2020

Data from Sport England’s Active Lives Adults and Children and Young People Surveys indicates that:

  • 62,900 adults aged 16+ in England took part in rugby league twice a month over the May 2018 to May 2019 period.
  • 684,500 children and young people in England in school years 1-11 took part in a form of rugby at least once a week over the 2018-19 academic year.

Through Sport England, since 2017, government has to date invested nearly £11m in grassroots rugby league, including investment in the Rugby Football League Ltd, together with investment in specific community rugby league projects.

Over this time period, Sport England has invested a further £9.1m in multi-sport projects where rugby league is one of the sports benefitting.

The government is investing up to £15m towards the hosting of the 2021 Rugby League World Cup, and up to £10m in grassroots facilities to help drive a legacy from the event.

Sport is a devolved matter and Sport Wales has responsibility for supporting grassroots rugby league in Wales.

Q
Asked by Philip Davies
(Shipley)
Asked on: 07 February 2020
Ministry of Justice
Reoffenders: Community Orders
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what plans he has to commence section 151 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 to allow courts to use community orders instead of fines for repeat offenders of low-level offences.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 17 February 2020

There are no current plans to commence Section 151 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, which allows courts, in certain circumstances, to use community orders for repeat offenders who might otherwise expect to receive fines.

Section 143(2) of that Act requires courts to treat previous convictions as an aggravating factor when sentencing. In cases involving significant persistent offending, the community and custodial thresholds may be crossed even though the offence otherwise warrants a lesser sentence.

Q
Asked by Philip Davies
(Shipley)
Asked on: 07 February 2020
Ministry of Justice
Pre-sentence Reports
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many and what proportion of pre-sentence reports presented to magistrates’ courts contained a sentence recommendation of (a) immediate custody, (b) suspended custody and (c) a community order in the last year for which information is available.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 17 February 2020

The information requested has been provided in the table below showing the number and proportion of recommendations in pre-sentence reports prepared for Magistrates courts between October 2018 and September 2019 where the sentence proposed was Community order, Immediate custody or Suspended Sentence.

It should be noted that these figures are based on all pre-sentence reports for which a sentence was given and that the total number of proposed sentences also includes instances where a fine was the proposed sentence.

Community Order

Immediate custody

Suspended Sentence

All proposed sentences

Number

65,908

1,681

320

69,586

Percentage of all proposed sentences

95%

2%

0%

Q
Asked by Philip Davies
(Shipley)
Asked on: 07 February 2020
Ministry of Justice
Life Imprisonment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to ensure that prisoners released on parole from life sentences are ineligible for parole again in the event that they re-offend.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 17 February 2020

Where a life sentence prisoner receives a further sentence for offences committed having been released on life licence, they must serve the custodial part of any new sentence that is imposed by the courts. Where the offender is assessed to be a risk to the public, they will also be recalled to custody on their life sentence and will remain in prison for as long as the independent Parole Board considers their detention necessary for the protection of the public. The Board will take into account any further offending that was committed in their determination.

Where an offender receives a second murder conviction, Schedule 21 to the Criminal Justice Act 2003 provides for a starting point of a ‘Whole-life Order’. That is the most severe punishment available to the courts and means the offender will never be released on licence. It is also open to the courts to impose a whole-life order in other circumstances if they decide that it is warranted by the seriousness of the offence.

The Government has brought forward measures to make sure that serious and dangerous offenders, including terrorists, will serve longer in prison to help keep the public safe. We intend to publish a White Paper on sentencing reform that will include further measures to ensure that the most serious violent and sexual offenders spend the time in prison that matches the severity of their crimes.

Q
Asked by Philip Davies
(Shipley)
Asked on: 07 February 2020
Ministry of Justice
Prisoners: Parole
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to limit the right of prisoners to be eligible for parole on multiple occasions.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 17 February 2020

Once a prisoner has served the custodial part of their sentence ordered by the sentencing court, their case must be referred to the independent Parole Board to determine whether their continued detention is necessary for the protection of the public. If the prisoner is not released by the Board, their case will be reviewed again, normally within two years.

If the prisoner is serving an indeterminate sentence, they may be held indefinitely until the Board is satisfied that it would be safe to release them. If they are serving a fixed term sentence the prisoner will be reviewed at regular intervals by the Board during their parole eligibility period. If not released during that period, they will be released when they reach their automatic release date.

The assessment of a prisoner’s risk will change over time and so regular parole reviews are necessary to determine whether they may be safely released. These measures ensure detention cannot become arbitrary or disproportionate to the purpose and aims of sentencing.

The Government made a commitment in its manifesto to conduct a ‘root and branch’ review of parole and the release arrangements for prisoners to improve accountability and public safety; and to give victims greater access to the process. The nature and scope of the review is yet to be finalised and no decisions have been made on whether any legislative changes will be required. The review will aim to build on the reforms to the parole system introduced in 2019 in the wake of the John Worboys case.

Q
Asked by Philip Davies
(Shipley)
Asked on: 07 February 2020
Ministry of Justice
Offences against Children: Sentencing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many and what proportion of (a) men and (b) women convicted of sexual activity with a child received a prison sentence in each of the last five years; and what the average prison sentence was for (i) men and (ii) women.
A
Answered by: Chris Philp
Answered on: 17 February 2020

The Ministry of Justice publishes information on convictions and sentencing in England and Wales. This information, relating to specific offences, can be found using the Outcomes by Offence data tool.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/802314/outcomes-by-offence-tool-2018.xlsx

  • Filter by offence to include the following offences:

21.1 Sexual activity with a child under 13 - indictable only

21.2 Sexual activity with a child under 13 - offender aged under 18 - triable either way

21.3 Sexual activity with a child under 13 - offender aged 18 or over or age of offender unspecified - triable either way

22.1 Sexual activity involving a child under 16 - indictable only

22.2 Sexual activity involving a child under 16 - offender aged under 18 - triable either way

22.3 Sexual activity involving a child under 16 - offender aged 18 or over - triable either way

22A.1 Causing sexual activity without consent - penetration

22A.2 Causing sexual activity without consent - no penetration

  • Add the ‘Sex’ filter to the rows field below ‘Values’

The number of males, females and defendants where sex is not known who were a) convicted, b) sentenced, c) sentenced to custody and d) their average custodial sentence length will then be shown in rows a) 32-34, b) 36-38, c) 76-78, and d) 152-154. The proportion of those sentenced who received a custodial sentence can be found by dividing ‘Total Immediate Custody’ by ‘Sentenced’.

Q
Asked by Philip Davies
(Shipley)
Asked on: 07 February 2020
Ministry of Justice
Offensive Weapons: Sentencing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what the highest number of previous offences was for possession of a (a) blade and (b) point for a person convicted of a further possession of each weapon offence in each of the last three years who was not given a sentence of immediate custody; and what the sentence was for the most recent such offence in each such case.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 17 February 2020

Data on the highest number of previous cautions and convictions for a specified offence for offenders convicted of that specified offence and given a sentence other than immediate custody, and the sentence given for the most recent specified offence, year ending March 2017 to year ending March 2019, can be viewed in the attached table.

Table (Excel SpreadSheet, 18.31 KB)
Grouped Questions: 13472 | 13961 | 13962 | 13967 | 13968 | 13969 | 14632 | 14633 | 14634 | 14635 | 14636
Q
Asked by Philip Davies
(Shipley)
Asked on: 07 February 2020
Ministry of Justice
Crimes against the Person: Sentencing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what the highest number of previous offences was for assault for a person convicted of a further assault offence in each of the last three years who was not given a sentence of immediate custody; and what the sentence was for the most recent offence in each case.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 17 February 2020

Data on the highest number of previous cautions and convictions for a specified offence for offenders convicted of that specified offence and given a sentence other than immediate custody, and the sentence given for the most recent specified offence, year ending March 2017 to year ending March 2019, can be viewed in the attached table.

Table (Excel SpreadSheet, 18.31 KB)
Grouped Questions: 13472 | 13960 | 13962 | 13967 | 13968 | 13969 | 14632 | 14633 | 14634 | 14635 | 14636
Q
Asked by Philip Davies
(Shipley)
Asked on: 07 February 2020
Ministry of Justice
Offensive Weapons: Sentencing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what the highest number of previous offences for possession of an offensive weapon was for a person convicted of a further possession of an offensive weapon offence in each of the last three years who was not given a sentence of immediate custody; and what the sentence was for the most recent offence in such case.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 17 February 2020

Data on the highest number of previous cautions and convictions for a specified offence for offenders convicted of that specified offence and given a sentence other than immediate custody, and the sentence given for the most recent specified offence, year ending March 2017 to year ending March 2019, can be viewed in the attached table.

Table (Excel SpreadSheet, 18.31 KB)
Grouped Questions: 13472 | 13960 | 13961 | 13967 | 13968 | 13969 | 14632 | 14633 | 14634 | 14635 | 14636
Q
Asked by Philip Davies
(Shipley)
Asked on: 07 February 2020
Ministry of Justice
Sexual Offences: Sentencing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what the highest number of previous offences for sexual assault was for a person convicted of a further sexual assault offence in each of the last three years who was not given a sentence of immediate custody; and what the sentence was for the most recent offence in each case.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 17 February 2020

Data on the highest number of previous cautions and convictions for a specified offence for offenders convicted of that specified offence and given a sentence other than immediate custody, and the sentence given for the most recent specified offence, year ending March 2017 to year ending March 2019, can be viewed in the attached table.

Table (Excel SpreadSheet, 18.31 KB)
Grouped Questions: 13472 | 13960 | 13961 | 13962 | 13968 | 13969 | 14632 | 14633 | 14634 | 14635 | 14636
Q
Asked by Philip Davies
(Shipley)
Asked on: 07 February 2020
Ministry of Justice
Theft: Sentencing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what the highest number of previous offences for theft was for a person convicted of a further theft offence in each of the last three years who was not given a sentence of immediate custody; and what the sentence was for the most recent offence in each case.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 17 February 2020

Data on the highest number of previous cautions and convictions for a specified offence for offenders convicted of that specified offence and given a sentence other than immediate custody, and the sentence given for the most recent specified offence, year ending March 2017 to year ending March 2019, can be viewed in the attached table.

Table (Excel SpreadSheet, 18.31 KB)
Grouped Questions: 13472 | 13960 | 13961 | 13962 | 13967 | 13969 | 14632 | 14633 | 14634 | 14635 | 14636
Q
Asked by Philip Davies
(Shipley)
Asked on: 07 February 2020
Ministry of Justice
Public Order Offences: Sentencing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what the highest number of previous offences relating to the Public Order Act 1986 was for a person convicted of a further offence under that Act in each of the last three years who was not given a sentence of immediate custody; and what the sentence was for the most recent offence in each such case.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 17 February 2020

Data on the highest number of previous cautions and convictions for a specified offence for offenders convicted of that specified offence and given a sentence other than immediate custody, and the sentence given for the most recent specified offence, year ending March 2017 to year ending March 2019, can be viewed in the attached table.

Table (Excel SpreadSheet, 18.31 KB)
Grouped Questions: 13472 | 13960 | 13961 | 13962 | 13967 | 13968 | 14632 | 14633 | 14634 | 14635 | 14636
Q
Asked by Andrew Bowie
(West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine)
Asked on: 07 February 2020
Ministry of Justice
Counter-terrorism
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what plans his Department has to restructure the counter-terrorism programme.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 17 February 2020

Following the two recent attacks at Fishmongers’ Hall and HMP Whitemoor, the Government announced a package of funding and legislative changes, including major investment in counter terrorism resources in prisons and probation, which is overseen by the Joint Extremism Unit (JEXU) a joint Home Office and Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation (HMPPS) unit.

The package of measures include:

  • Tougher sentences for the most serious terrorist offenders, which will mean dangerous terrorist offenders who receive extended determinate sentences serve their entire sentence

  • Doubling the number of Counter-Terrorism specialist probation staff. These specially trained staff will deliver a set of new, intensive national standards for managing terrorists on licence;

  • These new standards will mean terrorists are subjected to closer monitoring and reporting requirements.

  • An increase in the resources dedicated to training front-line prison and probation staff and;

  • The introduction of polygraph testing.

  • An independent review of our Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA).

Following the attack on 2 February in Streatham, the government announced emergency legislation to ensure an end to terrorist offenders getting released automatically, having served half of their sentence with no check or review.

Q
Asked by Philip Davies
(Shipley)
Asked on: 10 February 2020
Ministry of Justice
Robbery: Sentencing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what the highest number of previous offences for robbery was for a person convicted of a further robbery offence in each of the last three years who was not given a sentence of immediate custody; and what the sentence was for the most recent such offence in each such case.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 17 February 2020

Data on the highest number of previous cautions and convictions for a specified offence for offenders convicted of that specified offence and given a sentence other than immediate custody, and the sentence given for the most recent specified offence, year ending March 2017 to year ending March 2019, can be viewed in the attached table.

Table (Excel SpreadSheet, 18.31 KB)
Grouped Questions: 13472 | 13960 | 13961 | 13962 | 13967 | 13968 | 13969 | 14633 | 14634 | 14635 | 14636
Q
Asked by Philip Davies
(Shipley)
Asked on: 10 February 2020
Ministry of Justice
Burglary: Sentencing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what the highest number of previous offences for burglary was for a person convicted of a further burglary offence in each of the last three years who was not given a sentence of immediate custody; and what the sentence was for the most recent such offence in each such case.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 17 February 2020

Data on the highest number of previous cautions and convictions for a specified offence for offenders convicted of that specified offence and given a sentence other than immediate custody, and the sentence given for the most recent specified offence, year ending March 2017 to year ending March 2019, can be viewed in the attached table.

Table (Excel SpreadSheet, 18.31 KB)
Grouped Questions: 13472 | 13960 | 13961 | 13962 | 13967 | 13968 | 13969 | 14632 | 14634 | 14635 | 14636
Q
Asked by Philip Davies
(Shipley)
Asked on: 10 February 2020
Ministry of Justice
Fraud: Sentencing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what the highest number of previous offences for fraud was for a person convicted of a further fraud offence in each of the last three years who was not given a sentence of immediate custody; and what the sentence was for the most recent such offence in each such case.
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 17 February 2020

Data on the highest number of previous cautions and convictions for a specified offence for offenders convicted of that specified offence and given a sentence other than immediate custody, and the sentence given for the most recent specified offence, year ending March 2017 to year ending March 2019, can be viewed in the attached table.

Table (Excel SpreadSheet, 18.31 KB)
Grouped Questions: 13472 | 13960 | 13961 | 13962 | 13967 | 13968 | 13969 | 14632 | 14633 | 14635 | 14636
Q
Asked by Philip Davies
(Shipley)
Asked on: 10 February 2020
Ministry of Justice
Drugs: Sentencing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what the highest number of previous offences relating to drugs was for a person convicted of a further offence relating to drugs in each of the last three years who was not given a sentence of immediate custody; and what the sentence was for the most recent such offence in each such case
A
Answered by: Lucy Frazer
Answered on: 17 February 2020

Data on the highest number of previous cautions and convictions for a specified offence for offenders convicted of that specified offence and given a sentence other than immediate custody, and the sentence given for the most recent specified offence, year ending March 2017 to year ending March 2019, can be viewed in the attached table.

Table (Excel SpreadSheet, 18.31 KB)
Grouped Questions: 13472 | 13960 | 13961 | 13962 | 13967 | 13968 | 13969 | 14632 | 14633 | 14634 | 14636
Expand all answers
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