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The courts do not collect data on the number of conciliation meetings held. However, provisional
CAFCASS figures show that in 2006-07 their practitioners participated in 26,344 dispute resolution meetings, spending 57,880 hours on these casesan increase in time spent on early intervention of nearly 34 per cent. on the previous year. The cost of providing these meetings is part of CAFCASS running costs.
In public law proceedings, the courts may request a range of reports and assessments. Information on the types and numbers of reports and assessments is contained on individual court files. This information, and the cost of providing these reports and assessments, is not collected centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
All underlying data relate to the 2006-07 financial year, except for Public and Private Law Children Act applications in the Family Proceedings Courts, for which 2006 calendar year has been used as this is the most recent 12-month period for which complete data are available.
|Number of applications made to the family courts in England and Wales, 2006-07|
Maria Eagle: The decision to impose a fine is a matter for the court, in exercise of its judicial discretion. Under section 137 of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000, where a child is dealt with by way of a financial penalty, the court has a duty to order that the fine, compensation or costs awarded be paid by the parent or guardian, unless they cannot be found. In the case of young person aged 16 or more the court has discretion to make such an order as opposed to a duty.
The Judicial Studies Board, which is responsible for overseeing the training of magistrates, has published the Youth Court Bench Book. The book has been sent to all youth court magistrates and says, on the imposition of fines, that
fines should reflect the seriousness of the offence taking into account the means of the defendant, or the parent if the parent is made responsible for payment, and any credit for a guilty plea.
Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how much and on what dates (a) South Wales police, (b) Gwent police, (c) Dyfed Powys police and (d) North Wales police have invoiced his Department to cover costs incurred under Operation Safeguard since it began; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hanson: The following table provides the costs and dates covered by invoices submitted by the following police forces: Dyfed Powys, North Wales and South Wales. We have not received any invoices from Gwent police.
|Invoices submitted by police forces for Operation Safeguard|
|Police force||Dates covered||Totals|
Mr. Hanson: Figures on the prison population are published each Friday on the Prison Service website. On Friday 22 June the prison population (including those held in police cells under Operation Safeguard) was 80,948. On Friday 29 June the prison population (including those held in police cells under Operation Safeguard) was 81,040.
Mr. Garnier: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many prisoners who were released under the End of Custody Licence on 29 June 2007 and 2 July 2007 had previously been refused parole or release on home detention curfew. [Official Report, 1 September 2008, Vol. 479, c. 7MC.] 
Mr. Hanson: Parole applies to prisoners serving sentences of four years or more. Prisoners are eligible for consideration for End of Custody Licence if they have been sentenced to less than four years. No prisoner released under End of Custody Licence would have previously been refused parole during their current sentence.
Mr. Garnier: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many prisoners who were released under the end of custody licence on 29 June 2007 and 2 July 2007 were originally convicted of (a) a violent offence, (b) domestic violence and (c) burglary. 
Mr. Garnier: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many prisoners were released under the end of custody licence on 29 June 2007 and 2 July 2007; and how many of those prisoners were serving (i) less than 12 months and (ii) more than 12 months. 
Mr. Hanson: The end of custody licence was announced by the then Lord Chancellor on 19 June 2007 and came into use on the 29 June for eligible prisoners serving sentences of four weeks or more but less than four years.
The suitability of each prisoner for release under end of custody licence (ECL) is assessed according to set criteria. All prisoners who are potentially eligible will be screened against these criteria. We will not release:
Registered sex offenders, whether or not they are currently serving a sentence for a sexual offence;
Prisoners serving sentences for serious violence;
Prisoners who have previously escaped from custody;
Prisoners who have previously breached temporary release conditions during the current sentence, have offended during a period under temporary release at any time, or prisoners currently serving a sentence for failing to return from temporary release;
Prisoners with no accommodation arranged;
Foreign national prisoners who will be subject to deportation at the end of their sentence;
Prisoners who are subject to extradition proceedings;
Sentenced prisoners who have been remanded into custody on further charges or who are awaiting sentence;
Prisoners who, within the period of their current sentence, had been recalled either from HDC or from normal licence;
Prisoners required to undertake a treatment programme as a condition of the normal (end of sentence) supervision licence that could not be arranged during the period of THL; and
Prisoners who are under 18 years of age.
Mr. Hanson: The end of custody licence was introduced as a temporary measure but it is too early to say how long the scheme will be in operation. We will keep this under review in the light of new prison capacity coming on stream and the review by Lord Carter.
Mr. Garnier: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether probation staff were required to carry out accommodation checks in respect of prisoners who were released under the end of custody licence scheme where the original offence was less than 12 months and the offence involved domestic violence. 
Mr. Hanson: Probation staff are not required to carry out accommodation checks for prisoners released on ECL. Prisons are being advised to bring forward the procedures they would follow at the automatic release date. Where necessary, this would normally involve a member of prison staff ensuring that the local police liaison officer was aware of the situation and able to brief the force to whose area the prisoner was returning.
Mr. Garnier: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what assistance with rehabilitation and resettlement was given to prisoners released under the end of custody licence scheme after 27 June 2007. 
Mr. Hanson: Prisoners who are subject to supervision on release (all prisoners serving 12 months or more and prisoners under 22 years of age) will be required to meet their probation officer after release on the end of custody licence (ECL) and to have regular contact after that in line with their supervision programme. Prisoners required to undertake a treatment programme as a condition of the normal (end of custodial sentence) supervision licence will not be released on ECL unless the programme can be brought forward to begin from release on ECL.
Prisoners released on the scheme may be eligible to receive subsistence payments in lieu of benefits to cover the period they are on ECL. This payment is made because prisoners on ECL are released under temporary licence from prison in accordance with the provisions of the Prison Act 1952 and, as such, are statutorily ineligible to receive benefits payments.
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