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6 Feb 2008 : Column 1186W—continued


Langley House Trust

Mr. Garnier: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many persons resident at a Langley House Trust hostel and the subject of supervision in the community under court order or parole, have absconded and been convicted of a further offence, broken down by offence. [181215]

Maria Eagle: Of the six Langley House Trust residents who absconded during 2007-08, none has been convicted of a further offence.

Limitation Periods

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what account he plans to take of the recent court ruling on limitation periods in drawing up his own proposals for making statutory changes to limitation periods; [184419]

(2) when he plans to bring forward legislation on changes to limitation periods. [184420]

Bridget Prentice: The Government will take full account of the recent ruling by the House of Lords regarding limitation periods. The Government are preparing a consultation paper which will seek views on a draft Bill to implement the Law Commission's recommendations to reform the law in this area. The consultation paper will also consider specific issues arising out of the House of Lords decision namely the exercise of the court's discretion to extend the limitation period and the way in which the claimant's ‘date of knowledge’ is defined in abuse cases.

The Government intend to consult fully before changing the law of limitation. Depending on the results of the consultation, the Government will then seek to introduce legislation when parliamentary time allows. A date for the publication of the consultation paper has not yet been set.

Magistrates: Warrington

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many magistrates on the Warrington bench come from (a) Warrington, North constituency, (b) Warrington South constituency, (c) outside the borough and (d) from one of the 20 per cent. of the most deprived wards in the borough as measured by the standard index of deprivation. [185008]

Mr. Straw: There are 91 magistrates in the Warrington local justice area. 31 magistrates live in (a) Warrington, North constituency; 40 magistrates live in (b) Warrington, South constituency; nine magistrates come from (c) outside the borough; and (d) it is not known how many come from the most deprived wards. 11 magistrates' postcodes are unknown. Advisory Committees on Justices of the Peace follow The Secretary of State and Lord Chancellor's directions when making recommendations for appointment to the magistracy. This provides guidance that each local justice area should broadly reflect the community it serves including geographical spread.

National Offender Management Service

Tom Levitt: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what criteria the National Offender Management Service will use in selecting (a) secular and (b) faith-based voluntary sector organisations as partners in programmes to reduce re-offending; and if he will make a statement. [184134]


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Mr. Hanson: We are committed to maximising the contribution made by the third sector including both secular and faith-based organisations in reducing re-offending and protecting the public.

We are currently consulting on a Third Sector Action Plan and a faith consultation paper, “Believing We Can”, to explore how to strengthen both engagement with the third sector and its role in service delivery. This is in line with creating competitive neutrality for providers and potential providers. We recognise that some types of organisations face specific barriers to competing and delivering public services.

The criteria for contesting and selecting any services provided by third sector organisations and all providers will be the same in accordance with our commitment to achieve best value out of available resources and drive better service delivery within a framework of equality and best practice. Also work is taking place in NOMS on developing standards on commissioning faith based interventions.

National Security Strategy

Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what role his Department has played in drafting
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the National Security Strategy; and if he will make a statement. [184231]

Mr. Wills: My Department is working closely with the Cabinet Office and other interested Departments and agencies to produce the National Security Strategy.

Offensive Weapons: Sentencing

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many people have received (a) the maximum sentence, (b) a custodial sentence and (c) a community sentence for possession of a knife in a public place in each of the last two years. [182758]

Maria Eagle: The requested information is contained in the following table.

Figures for 2007 will be available from autumn 2008.

The Violent Crime Reduction Bill (2006) doubled the maximum sentence for possession of knife in a public place from two to four years.

Persons( 1) sentenced for possession of a knife in a public place, England and Wales, 2005-06
Defendants
Offence Statute Year Total persons sentenced Immediate custody Maximum sentence( 2) Community sentence

Having an article with a blade or point in a public place

Criminal Justice Act 1988 sec 139 as amended by Offensive Weapons Act 1996 sec 3

2005

5,957

965

1

2,797

2006

6,284

1,070

2

2,970

Possession of offensive weapons(3) without lawful authority or reasonable excuse

Prevention of Crime Act 1953 sec 1 as amended by Offensive Weapons Act 1996 sec 2(1)

2005

5,689

829

2

3,031

2006

5,630

788

1

2,938

(1) Principal offence basis.
(2) Two years for blade or point offences and four years for offensive weapon offences. (At the Crown court.)
(3) Will include knives, but information collected centrally does not provide a distinction between them and other offensive weapons.
Source:
RDS-NOMS, Ministry of Justice

These figures have been drawn from administrative data systems. Although care is taken when processing and analysing the returns, the detail collected is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large scale recording system.

Prisoners Release: Electronic Tagging

Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what plans his Department has to use satellite tracking for prisoner release with (a) electronic tags and (b) radio frequency identification tags; and if he will make a statement; [184139]

(2) what plans his Department has to use radio frequency identification tag implants under the electronic tagging scheme; and if he will make a statement. [184140]

Mr. Hanson: Prior to the creation of the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) in May 2007 the Home Office ran satellite tracking pilots from September 2004 until June 2006, during which time 517 offenders were subject to tracking. Most of these were prisoners released on licence at the end of their sentence who were deemed at high risk of re-offending or high risk of harm, including sex and violent offenders.

Tracking was based on global positioning system (GPS) technology, and subjects were required to wear a tracking unit, normally worn around the waist, and a radio frequency electronic ankle tag. The pilots were subject to an independent evaluation and the final report was published online on 2 August 2007. A copy was placed in the House of Commons Library. It is not proposed to undertake any further work on satellite tracking in the short to medium term.

There are no plans being considered for the use of radio frequency implants within the criminal justice system. There is no evidence that the technology would work successfully and there are fundamental issues about requiring offenders to submit to a medical procedure for the purpose of implanting a microchip.


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Prisons: Overcrowding

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps the Government plans to take to address prison overcrowding in each of the next three years. [184825]

Mr. Straw: On 5 December the Government announced their response to Lord Carter of Coles’ report on prisons, including measures to both increase the supply of prison places and reduce the demand for them.

The Government are committed to providing an additional 10,500 prison places on top of its existing 9,500 capacity programme. Our aim is to achieve an overall capacity of 96,000 places by 2014. The building programme will include up to three “Titan” prisons of about 2,500 places each.

In 2008, 2009 and 2010 respectively, approximately 2,500, 1,600 and 3,900 additional places are planned to be delivered.

We have tabled amendments to the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill to give effect to measures recommended by Lord Carter to reduce the demand for custody. These measures should start to have an impact in the second half of this year.

The measures we are taking will ease the pressure on the prison estate. No prison is expected to operate at a level of crowding beyond that which the Prison Service area manager (or Regional Offender Manager in the case of a contracted prison) considers safe.

Prostitution: Leicester

Sir Peter Soulsby: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many people have been prosecuted for offences relating to prostitution in Leicester in the last four years. [184226]

Maria Eagle: The number of persons proceeded against at magistrates courts for offences relating to prostitution for the years 2003 to 2006 in Leicestershire police force area can be viewed in the following table.

The Sexual Offences Act 2003 came into force on 1 May 2004.

Court proceedings data for 2007 will be available in the autumn of 2008.

It is not possible to separately identify the number of defendants prosecuted for offences relating to prostitution in Leicester from all those proceeded against in the Leicestershire police force area for offences relating to prostitution.


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N umber of persons proceeded against at magistrates courts for offences relating to prostitution in Leicestershire police force area for the years 2003 to 2006( 1,)( )( 2,)( )( 3,)( )( 4,)( )( 5)
Prosecutions

2003

12

2004

5

2005

1

2006

16

Total

34

(1) These data are on the principal offence basis.
(2) Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.
(3) Includes the following statutes:
Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 S.46, Late Night Refreshment Houses Act 1969 S.9(l), Street Offences Act 1959 S.l(l),
Sexual Offences Act 2003 S.l(l)(a), l(l)(b), 2(1), 33, 33A, 34, 35(1), 36, 48(l)(a), 49(b)(ii) and (2), 50(la), (b)(i) and (2), 52, 83, 57, 58, and 59.
Town Police Clauses Act 1847 S.35
Vagrancy Act 1824 S.3 and 4
Sexual Offences Act 1956 Sec 2, 3, 4, 9, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29
(4) It is not possible to separately identify offences under Sections 22 and 23 from 2, 3, and 4 of the Sexual Offences Act 1957 as they are grouped together. Likewise, it is not possible to separately identify offences under Sections 22 and 23 from 9 of the Sexual Offences Act 1957 as they are grouped together.
(5) The Sexual Offences Act 2003 came into force on 1 May 2004.
Source:
Court proceedings database held by RDS Office for Criminal Justice Reform—Ministry of Justice

Reoffenders

Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many and what proportion of the prison population were being detained as a result of probation recall in (a) May and (b) November in each year since 2000; and if he will make a statement. [182686]

Mr. Hanson: The number and proportion of the prison population being detained as a result of recall in (a) May and (b) November is shown in the following table every year since 2003 (the earliest date for which this information is available).

Recalled population As a percentage of the total prison population

May 2003

2,489

3

May 2004

3,174

4

May 2005

3,378

4

May 2006

4,018

5

May 2007

5,104

6

November 2003

2,916

4

November 2004

3,309

4

November 2005

3,808

5

November 2006

4,724

6

November 2007

5,407

7


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
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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.

These figures have been drawn from administrative IT systems, which, as with any large scale recording system, are subject to possible errors with data entry and processing.


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