HC Deb 12 July 1995 vol 263 c594W
Mr. Madden

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received concerning the contribution to the Irish peace process that could be made by a phased release from Her Majesty's prisons of those convicted of terrorist-related crimes; and if he will make a statement. [33941]

Mr. Howard

I have received a small number of representations from Members of the House, members of the public and others arguing for and against the early release of terrorist prisoners. The Government's position is clear. There will be no amnesty for prisoners convicted of terrorist offences. They should expect to serve their sentences in accordance with the law.

Mr. Madden

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) when he expects to release prisoners convicted of terrorist-related crimes from her Majesty's prisons; when he expects such prisoners to be told of their release dates; and if he will make a statement; [33942]

(2) how many republican prisoners in Her Majesty's prisons, who have served sentences of more than 20 years, have not yet been informed of their release date; and when he intends to tell these prisoners when they can expect to be released. [33943]

Miss Widdecombe

The release of prisoners, irrespective of their offence, is considered in accordance with the Criminal Justice Act 1991 and its associated procedures. I have no knowledge of the release date of any prisoner until, in each individual case, the proper procedures have been completed.

Two prisoners convicted of terrorist offences have served sentences of more than 20 years. A further three such prisoners will have been detained for more than 20 years by the end of July 1995. All five are discretionary life sentence prisoners and they have each been told that the period to be served for retribution and deterrence is 20 years. Their release will be a matter for a discretionary lifer panel of the Parole Board.

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