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4 Feb 2008 : Column 941Wcontinued
Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many prison recalls there were in each of the last 12 months; how many of those were due to (a) breaches of licence and (b) committal of further offences; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hanson: All offenders recalled to custody will have breached one or more of the conditions of their licence (including those on life licence and the home detention curfew scheme). We do not hold a comprehensive breakdown of reasons for recall prior to April 2007. The number of offenders recalled in each of the last 12 months together with the number recalled following a charge for a further offence since April 2007 is provided in the following table.
|Month||Number of offenders recalled||Number recalled for further charges|
Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice for what reasons he chose (a) Wales and (b) London as the first regions in which to introduce the structural changes to the prison and probation service; and what factors he took into account in choosing those regions. 
Maria Eagle: The decision to move to new regional structures for the Prison and Probation Services in London and Wales in April as part of the restructuring of the National Offender Management Service was taken because the operational assessment is that the transition to these new arrangements will be more straightforward in London and Wales than in other regions.
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer of 7 January 2008, Official Report, column 171W, on procurement, whether his Department has a central procurement division. 
Maria Eagle: There are a number of procurement and commercial units serving specific parts of the Ministry of Justice.
As announced on 29 January, a new top structure for the Ministry of Justice will be in place on 1 April, more detailed changes to provide a coherent structure for managing the Department will be implemented over the next few months.
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what advice or guidance has been given to public authorities on signing contracts with external non-public bodies which have provisions which (a) facilitate and (b) limit disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. 
Mr. Wills: The Secretary of State issues the Code of Practice on the Discharge of Public Authorities Functions under Part I of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. It was laid before Parliament in November 2004. Part V sets out guidance on freedom of information and confidentiality obligations in contracts.
Further guidance on freedom of information and confidentiality obligations in contracts is available on the Ministry of Justice Freedom of Information and Office of Government Commerce websites.
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice on what date his Departments guidance, Public sector data sharing: guidance on the law, was originally published; when it was last updated; and what plans there are to revise or amend it. 
Mr. Wills: Public Sector Data Sharing: Guidance on the Law was published by the Department for Constitutional Affairs in November 2003. This guidance continues to reflect the current position of the data sharing legal framework. It has not been updated although we keep it under continuous review.
Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the average sentence length for those convicted of rape was in each of the last three years for which figures are available. 
Mr. Hanson: The requested information is contained in the following table.
|Average length of immediate custodial sentence( 1) for the offence of rape, all courts, England and Wales, 2004-06|
|Offencerape( 2)||Average length of sentence( 1)|
|(1) Excludes life and indeterminate sentences.|
(2) Includes rape of a male and rape of a female under the Sexual Offences Act 2003.
These figures have been drawn from administrative data systems. Although care is taken when processing and analysing the return the detail collected is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large scale recording system.
RDS-NOMS, Ministry of Justice 31 January 2008 Ref: PQ(RN)059-08
Figures for 2007 will be available from autumn 2008.
Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many and what proportion of probation recalls to prison were for serious offences in each month since 2000; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) how many probation recalls to prison were there in each month since 2000; and if he will make a statement; 
(3) how many prison recalls there were in each year since 2000; how many in each year were due to (a) breaches of licence and (b) committal of further offences; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hanson: Information held centrally gives a breakdown of recalled offenders and a breakdown of offenders who were charged with committing a serious further offence, as defined by the national probation serious further offence review process. To provide a breakdown of offenders who were both charged with a serious further offence and who were subsequently recalled would require a manual trawl of two databases; this would incur disproportionate cost.
The annual figures for the number of offenders who were on licence (including life licence and Home Detention Curfew) and recalled to custody are in the following table. To break this information down into monthly totals would incur disproportionate cost.
|Financial year||Number of determinate recalls|
The number of prisoner recalled to custody has increased over recent years. There are several reasons for this increase: nearly all prisoners on licence can now be recalled to prison executively by the Secretary of State. Prior to 1998, prisoners serving less than four years could be recalled only by the courts, a slow and bureaucratic process that was rarely used. The Probation Service has become far more effective in enforcing licence conditions. In 1997 appropriate enforcement action was taken in only a third of cases where the offender breached a sentence being served in the community. This figure was over 90 per cent. in 2007; and there is more robust supervision of high risk
licensees and better information sharing between police and probation, through multi agency public protection arrangements.
A breakdown of the number of offenders returned to custody following a breach of their licence (including life licence and Home Detention Curfew conditions) in each month since June 2003 is in the table.
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