HC Deb 15 February 1999 vol 325 cc475-7W
Mr. McNamara

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many prisoners applied to the Prison Sentence Review Commission for an accelerated release date by 31 December 1998; in how many cases the Commission made a determination; and for unsuccessful applications, what reasons were given. [69617]

Mr. Ingram

Statutory responsibility for these matters lies with the Sentence Review Commissioners. I have asked the joint Chairmen, Sir John Blelloch and Mr. Brian Currin, to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter from Sir John Blelloch to Mr. Kevin McNamara, dated 11 February 1999:

You recently asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland for information concerning applications made under the Northern Ireland (Sentences) Act 1998. In her answer the Secretary of State advised that, as statutory responsibility for this matter lay with the Sentence Review Commissioners, I would reply.

I can advise that, up until 31 December 1998, 544 prisoners have applied to the Sentence Review Commissioners for a declaration that they are eligible for release in accordance with the provisions of the Northern Ireland (Sentences) Act 1998. Of these, 372 prisoners have received substantive determinations advising that their applications had been successful. There have been no substantive determinations advising that the applicant had been unsuccessful.

A copy of this letter will be placed in the library of the House of Commons.

Mr. McNamara

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if she will(a) list the profile of the politically motivated prison population in Northern Ireland by location, status and perceived affiliation and (b) estimate the number of prisoner releases for each perceived affiliation projected for each quarter up to 30 September 2000. [69618]

Mr. Ingram

Table A shows the perceived paramilitary affiliations of prisoners at HMP Maze.

Table A
UVF 47
LVF 16
UDA 53
Total 116
Total 103

Information is held in relation to the perceived paramilitary association of prisoners, where applicable, for management purposes. With the exception of HMP Maze where links are more clearly defined, this information is based on a combination of factors including the offence, sympathies and associates. No information is held on the political affiliations of any prisoner.

Table B shows a total of 79 prisoners whose cases have been deemed to meet the requirements of the Northern Ireland (Sentences) Act 1998 by the Sentence Review Commission and who have been given Substantive Determinations with release dates up to end September 2000. It includes only those prisoners whose perceived affiliation is to organisations which have not been specified under Section 3 of the 1998 Act. This is drawn from information received by the Secretary of State as at 5 February 1999 from the Sentence Review Commissioners, to whom prisoners apply for early release. The 1998 Act also provides that, if circumstances permit, prisoners with release dates falling after the second anniversary of the coming into force of that Act (on 28 July 1998) who have served two years or more in prison will be released on that anniversary. Those prisoners are not shown in Table B.

Table B
1999 Quarter 2000 Quarter
1 2 3 4 1 2 3 Total
Loyalist 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1
LVF 0 1 1 0 2 0 0 4
PIRA 4 8 2 9 7 1 6 37
Rep Sym 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
Republican 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
RHC 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
UDA 3 4 7 2 1 2 0 19
UFF 0 0 2 0 1 0 0 3
UVF 1 4 1 3 0 3 0 12
Grant Total 9 19 14 14 11 6 6 79

Mr. William Ross

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, how many persons given early release from prison under the Belfast Agreement have been charged with an offence since their release. [68867]

Mr. Ingram

[pursuant to his reply, 2 February 1999, c. 556]: One person released under the Northern Ireland (Sentences) Act 1998 was charged with an offence on 2 February 1999.