§ 26. Mr. Cran
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people have died over the past 25 years at the hands of previously convicted killers; and what was the average length of sentence served by murderers released from prison over the past five years for which figures are available.
§ Mr. Douglas Hogg
Information on the number of suspects convicted of homicide who had previous homicide convictions is published annually in Criminal statistics, England and Wales (tables 4.9 and 4.10 of the latest issue, for 1987, Cm. 498), copies of which are in the Library.
During the 25 year period 1963–87, 51 persons in England and Wales were killed by persons previously convicted of homicide.
Average times served by sentenced murderers released on licence from prison service establishments are given in the table. The average figures do not take account of the longest periods being served by some of those given life sentences following the abolition of capital punishment in 1965 who have not yet been released. They also exclude persons who have died in custody or been discharged for other reasons.
My right hon. Friend has made it clear that those convicted of the most heinous murders can normally expect to service at least 20 years in prison and in some cases even longer; and no life sentence prisoner is released, no matter how long he or she has served, unless my right hon. Friend is personally as satisfied as it is reasonably possible to be that there is no risk to the community.
Average time1 spent under sentence in prison service establishments in England and Wales by prisoners first released in 1984–88 on licence from a life sentence for murder Year of release Average years2 under life sentence 1984 10.50 1985 10.25 1986 11.00 1987 11.50 1988 10.00 1 Excluding any time spent on remand in custody. 2 Estimates rounded to the nearest quarter.