§ EARLY RELEASE OF PRISONERS
§ Lords amendment: No. 49, in page 31 line 2, at end insert
"and (c) an offence specified in Part III of that Schedule."
§ Mr. Mayhew
This amendment deals with early release under clause 28. It deals with drug trafficking offences, added to the schedule that lists the offences that are excluded from the power granted to the Home Secretary, with parliamentary approval, to effect early release in certain, very tightly limited, circumstances.
This group of amendments falls into two categories. The amendment to clause 28 and amendments to schedule 1 together have the effect of excluding from eligibility for early release under the provisions of clause 27, prisoners who are serving sentences for offences of trafficking in drugs.
In making provision in the clause for the exclusion of offences of violence, which we have already done in this House, the Government have always recognised—and there has been general recognition—that some problems of definition were bound to arise. The list of offences at present found in schedule 1 was deliberately confined to those offences where violence on the part of the offender is an inherent element of the offence. Nobody can doubt, however, that those who traffic in hard drugs are clearly a deep menace to society. It was argued forcefully in
567 another place that such offenders should be treated in the same way for the purposes of this clause as those sentenced to imprisonment for offences involving violence.
The second set of amendments is purely technical. The schedule at present refers to the Hijacking Act 1971 and the Protection of Aircraft Act 1973. These measures have now, however, been consolidated in the Aviation Security Act which received Royal Assent this summer. The remaining amendments adjust the references in the schedule accordingly.
§ Question put and agreed to.