HC Deb 10 April 1987 vol 114 c418W
Mr. Mates

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many persons sentenced to life imprisonment or detention during Her Majesty's pleasure are currently serving such sentences in England and Wales; and how many were serving such sentences(a) 10,(b) 20 and(c) 30 years ago.

Mr. Mellor

The readily available information is given in the table below:

Population of life sentence1 prisoners in Prison Department establishments in England and Wales on 31 December 1956, 1966. 1976 and 1986
Year Number of prisoners2 3
1956 110
1966 470
1976 1,260
1986 2,290
1 Including person detained during Her Majesty's pleasure or for life under Section 53 Children and Young Persons Act 1933 and those serving custody for life.
2 The figures are rounded estimates based on records held centrally which are approximate, particularly for the earlier years. Detailed checking of individual cases would involve disproportionate cost.
3 Including prisoners who had been recalled after having been released on licence.

Mr. Mates

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the average length of sentence served by prisoners sentenced to life imprisonment in England and Wales.

Mr. Mellor

Information on the distribution of time served under sentence by life sentence prisoners received since 1965 is published in Table 4(e) of "Prison Statistics England and Wales 1985", Cmnd. 9903.

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