§ Mr. Boateng
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, since the change in parole policy announced in 1983, how many prisoners serving five years or more for offences of drug trafficking or violence have been released before the last few months of their sentence because of exceptional circumstances; what these exceptional circum-stances have been; and how many prisoners have been released in each year since the commencement of the policy for the above reasons.
§ Mr. John Patten
The more restricted policy on parole to which the hon. Member refers has been applied to prisoners serving sentences of over five years for offences of violence or drug trafficking. As recorded in successive annual reports of the Parole Board, the numbers of cases in which, exceptionally, prisoners have been granted parole other than for a few months at the end of their sentence are:
Number 1984 123 1985 13 21986 34 1 This figure also covers December 1983. 2 The latest date for which figures are available.
It is not possible to generalise about the reasons for considering that circumstances of a case are sufficiently exceptional to provide grounds for the grant of parole under the policy. Each case is considered on its individual merits.