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Young Offenders

Baroness Stern asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): Section 34 of the Offender Management Act 2007, among other things, amends Section 107 of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 so as to confer on the Secretary of State power to specify, by order, additional types of custodial provision in which a detention and training order may be served. Section 107 has, from the outset, provided for trainees to be placed in a young offender institution, a secure training centre or a secure children's home and Section 34 would not affect placement in any of those settings. Variations in the regime followed within establishments can normally be made without legislative change.

Baroness Stern asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: At the end of January 2008 there were 48 people under 18 serving indeterminate sentences for public protection. Of the 48, 17 were aged 15, 20 were aged 16 and 11 were aged 17 when sentenced.



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No prisoner serving an indeterminate sentence of detention for public protection may be considered for release until they have completed their tariff—ie, the period of imprisonment considered necessary to meet the requirements of retribution and deterrence. The term “tariff” refers to the period of imprisonment that runs from the date of the prisoner’s remand in custody.

The breakdown of tariff lengths for prisoners who have been given an indeterminate sentence of detention for public protection when under the age of 18 (some of whom will now be aged 18 or over) is as follows:

1 year or less

5

Over 1 year-2 years

56

Over 2 years-3 years

60

Over 3 years

54

Prisoners serving an indeterminate sentence of detention for public protection may be considered for

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release by the independent Parole Board once they have completed the period of imprisonment considered necessary to meet the requirements of retribution and deterrence (the tariff period). This period is set in open court by the trial judge when passing sentence. The Parole Board may direct the release of such a prisoner only if it is satisfied that it is no longer necessary for the protection of the public that the prisoner should be confined. The Secretary of State may release such prisoners at any time only if exceptional circumstances exist which justify release on compassionate grounds.

As at 31 January, no prisoners given an indeterminate sentence of detention for public protection when under the age of 18 had been released.

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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