§ Mr. Lidington
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list for the period between the commencement of the home detention curfew scheme and 31 May(a) the number of prisoners who were released on the scheme, with a breakdown of the specific offences which they committed, (b) the average sentence (i) received and (ii) served, and the average period spent on the scheme, in respect of each specific offence, (c) the number of prisoners released on the scheme, with a breakdown of the offences committed, who (1) breached the conditions of the curfew, (2) disappeared and were recaptured, (3) disappeared and remain unlawfully at large, and (4) had their licences revoked, and for what reasons, (d) the specific offences committed by prisoners released on the scheme while on the scheme, including all offences committed by prisoners who committed more than one offence and (e) a breakdown of the specific offences committed by prisoners released on the scheme who committed a further offence while on the scheme that was similar in character to that for which they were originally convicted, including all offences committed by prisoners who committed more than one offence; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Straw
[holding answer 19 June 2000]: As of 31 May 2000, a total of 21,798 prisoners had been released on Home Detention Curfew since the scheme commenced on 28 January 1999.
The original offences committed by prisoners released under the scheme during the period, the number of prisoners convicted of each specific offence, the average sentence received and served for those offences, and the average period spent on the scheme in respect of the prisoners convicted of each specific offence are shown in Table 1. The data are taken from the Prison Service's inmate information system based on the data recorded by each prison. The table provides as detailed a breakdown of offences as is possible from central records.
A total of 764 prisoners released on the scheme during the period breached the conditions of their curfew. A breakdown of this number showing the original offences committed in shown in Table 2.59W
Information on curfewees whose licences are revoked and who disappear before being recaptured is included within the information held on the number of curfewees unlawfully at large at any one time. On 31 May there were 36 curfewees who remained unlawfully at large. This represents fewer than four per cent. of the total number of revocations. In the vast majority of cases, when a curfewee's licence is revoked, he or she can expect to be apprehended quickly and returned to custody. While the priority to be given to pursuing individual cases will be an operational matter for local police forces, Home Office Circular 1/1999 made clear that Home Detention Curfew recalls should be regarded as "urgent" cases. In addition, the National Identification Service at New Scotland Yard issues "The Police Gazette" weekly to all police forces, including details of curfewees who are unlawfully at large. When curfewees are apprehended following a period unlawfully at large, they are required to serve the period of time outstanding at the point their licence was revoked.
Details of the offences originally committed by those 36 curfewees who remained unlawfully at large on 31 May 2000 can be found in Table 3.
As of 31 May 2000, 1,028 curfewees had their licences revoked, using the powers available to the Secretary of State under Sections 38A(1) and 39 of the Criminal Justice Act 1991. The reasons for revocation were as follows:for breach of the curfew (Section 38A(1)a of the Criminal Justice Act 1991);because the curfewee's whereabouts could no longer be electronically monitored (Section 38A(1)b of the Criminal Justice Act 1991);because it was necessary to protect the public from serious harm (Section 38A(1)c of the Criminal Justice Act 1991); andbecause the curfewee had committed an offence or breached any requirement of probation supervision (Section 39 of the Criminal Justice Act 1991). Curfewees who are charged with new offences may also be recalled on any preceding grounds depending on the circumstances of the case.
A breakdown of the original offences the 1,028 recalled curfewees committed together with a breakdown of the reasons for recall is at Table 4.
Table 5 gives a breakdown of all offences committed by prisoners placed on Home Detention Curfew while on the scheme. Where a curfewee has been charged with more than one offence, these have been shown separately.
Table 6 gives a breakdown of the specific offences committed by prisoners placed on the scheme who committed a further offence while on the scheme which was similar in character to the most serious offence for which they were originally convicted.
The scheme is designed to ensure a better transition for short-term offenders between custody and the community. Prisoners are only placed on Home Detention Curfew after a careful risk assessment, and the safety of the public is paramount at all times.
Tables 1–6 have been placed in the Library.