HC Deb 17 December 1975 vol 902 cc658-9W
Mr. Michael McNair-Wilson

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the average period served as a result of a life sentence for murder between 1955 and 1965; and what was the average between 1965 and 1975.

Mr. Alexander W. Lyon

The average period served by persons convicted of murder who were released from prisons in England and Wales between 1st January 1955 and 31st December 1964 was 8 years and 6 months, to the nearest month. The corresponding figure for the period from 1st January 1965 to 30th November 1975 is 9 years and 6 months.

These figures relate only to the initial release of prisoners sentenced to life imprisonment and do not take account of additional time served by those prisoners who have subsequently been recalled to prison. They provide no indication of the time likely to be served by any individual life sentence prisoner, since they do not show the range of the sentences served, which have varied from six months in one case to over 20 years in others. Nor do they take into account the length of time served by those who have not yet been released.