HL Deb 17 June 1992 vol 538 c13WA
Lord Hylton

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many persons convicted of arson are suffering imprisonment for life; whether those whose mental stability is in doubt will be reviewed annually by a mental health tribunal; and whether they will ask the Court of Appeal to review the appropriateness of sentence in other such cases.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Earl Ferrers)

As at 31st December 1990, there were 81 people serving sentences of life imprisonment following conviction for arson. Of these, 10 were in hospitals, having been transferred from prison under the provisions of the Mental Health Act for treatment for mental disorder.

The health of prisoners is the responsibility of the health care service for prisoners, who will seek the transfer to hospital of any prisoner whose mental disorder warrants detention in hospital for treatment under the terms of the Mental Health Act. Mental health review tribunals have no functions in relation to persons who are detained in prison. However, a sentenced prisoner, who is transferred to hospital and who is subject to a restriction direction, has a right to apply direct to a tribunal once during the second six month period of his detention beginning with the date of the transfer direction, and in any subsequent period of 12 months.

The appropriateness of sentences in individual cases is a matter for the courts. My right honourable friend the Home Secretary is always willing to consider representations that a sentence may have been wrongly imposed. However, he has no plans to ask the Court of Appeal to review the appropriateness of sentences in any particular category of convictions.