§ Mr. Boateng
Information based on notifications direct to the Prison Service and data from the Police National Computer show that fewer than 2 per cent. of prisoners placed on the Home Detention Curfew scheme since January 1999 have committed further offences while subject to the scheme. As at 15 May 2000, the Prison362W Service knew of 395 cases where curfewees had been convicted or cautioned for offences committed while subject to the scheme, or were awaiting prosecution for such offences. The total number of offences known to the Prison Service was 701.
§ Mr. Boateng
The latest information shows that fewer than 2 per cent. of the 20,632 prisoners placed on Home Detention Curfew by 15 May 2000 had committed further offences while subject to the scheme.
Interrogation of data on the Police National Computer (PNC) (covering 14,646 of the 14,837 prisoners placed on Home Detention Curfew up to 31 December 1999) indicates that, as at 13 April 2000, 351 of this group had been convicted of, or cautioned for, an offence committed while subject to the Home Detention Curfew scheme, or had a prosecution pending in respect of such an offence. In addition, there are 44 cases where the Prison Service has been notified of new charges involving prisoners placed on Home Detention Curfew in 2000 and prisoners placed on Home Detention Curfew in 1999 who could not be traced on the Police National Computer. (The figure of 44 excludes cases where the Prison Service is aware that charges were brought but not proceeded with, or resulted in acquittal). This means that at 15 May 2000 the total number of cases where the Prison Service knew of convictions, cautions or pending prosecutions in respect of curfewees was 395, or 1.9 per cent. of the total.
Table 1 gives a breakdown of the offences which led to convictions or cautions or where prosecutions are pending. Table 2 shows the number of cases in which these offences are similar in type to the original offence leading to a custodial sentence, and provides a breakdown.
Figures used in responding to previous Parliamentary Questions in relation to reoffending by those placed on the Home Detention Curfew (both in 1999 and 2000) were based on information about charges reported to the Prison Service by the police. The Prison Service had been previously notified of 171 cases where charges had been brought against offenders placed on Home Detention Curfew in 1999, and 37 cases involving offenders placed on Home Detention Curfew in 2000.
The interrogation of data from the Police National Computer was undertaken as part of the continuing evaluation of the Home Detention Curfew scheme by the Home Office Research Development and Statistics Directorate. The evaluation exercise has not to date covered those placed on Home Detention Curfew in the current year, but regular updates are planned.
The figures obtained from the Police National Computer cannot be compared directly with those previously used in responding to Parliamentary Questions. The new figures are based on convictions, cautions and pending prosecutions, rather than charges reported to the Prison Service by the police. However, the figures show that there has been some under-reporting of charges by the police.363W
This means that the procedures for notifying the Prison Service of curfewees charged with further offences have not fully been followed. These procedures are set down in Home Office Circular 1/99, issued to Chief Constables and police Home Detention Curfew Liaison Officers in January 1999. The circular requires the police to notify the Prison Service either at the time the charge is laid or at the first opportunity thereafter. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has today written to the President of the Association of Chief Police Officers, asking that the Association give this matter their attention and identify what steps can be taken to improve compliance with the circular. Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary will also be monitoring actions taken by the police to improve compliance with the notification procedures.
As a reinforcing measure, other agencies will also be asked to alert the Prison Service to any case that comes to their attention, where a curfewee has been charged with an offence committed while subject to curfew. As already indicated, the Police National Computer will also be interrogated on a regular basis in order to monitor the effectiveness of the notification procedures, and to ensure that information on the numbers of convictions, cautions and pending prosecutions is kept up to date.
Although more curfewees have been charged with further offences than originally notified, overall compliance with the scheme remains high. Taking account of the new information, the successful completion rate is around 94 per cent. (93.6 per cent.).
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. The safety of the public is paramount at all times and, with this in mind, Prisoner Governors will be reminded of the importance, when considering a prisoner's suitability for Home Detention Curfew, of assessing the likelihood of reoffending while subject to curfew.
Table 1: Breakdown of cases involving offences which led to convictions or cautions or where prosecutions are pending Offence Number Total 395 Manslaughter 0 Other homicide and attempted homicide Attempted murder 0 Making threats to kill 5 Conspire, aid, incite murder 0 Death by reckless driving 0 Wounding Wounding (inflicting GBH) 6 Assault occasioning ABH 11 Assault with intent to cause GBH 1 Assaults Assault with intent to resist arrest 0 Other assault 16 Obstruct/resist constable 0 Assault on police officer 9 Cruelty to children 0
Table 1: Breakdown of cases involving offences which led to convictions or cautions or where prosecutions are pending Offence Number Other violence against the person Cause explosion, place explosive 0 Possess firearms with intent 0 Possess offensive weapon 4 Other violence against the person 4 Sexual Offences Rape 13 Buggery 0 Indecent assault 0 Unlawful sexual intercourse 0 Abduction 0 Bigamy 0 Burglary 21 Robbery 4 Taking and driving away 2 Other theft 94 Handling stolen goods 14 Fraud 11 Forgery 2 Drugs offences Production 0 Supply 8 Possession with intent 4 Possession 30 Unlawful import/export 1 Other drugs offences 6 Arson 1 Criminal damage 19 In charge or driving under the influence of drink or drugs 18 Reckless driving 3 Other motoring offences 34 Drunkenness 0 Blackmail 0 Kidnapping 0 Affray 7 Violent disorder 7 Perjury/libel/pervert the course of justice 2 Threat/disorderly behaviour 4 Breach of Court Order 13 Other offences 22 Offence not recorded 9 1 One of the three rape cases was listed on PNC as pending prosecution, and is therefore included in the table. However, the Prison Service has since been informed that the offender was acquitted. The two other rape cases were previously known to the Prison Service and have been referred to in replies to earlier Parliamentary Questions.
1. The table includes all 351 cases drawn from the PNC analysis and the 44 cases where the data is based on police notifications (excluding those cases where, following initial notification of a charge, the Prison Service was informed that the charges had been withdrawn or resulted in acquittal).
2. Where a curfewee was convicted of, or cautioned for more than one offence, or prosecution is pending in respect of more than one offence, the table shows the most serious offence.
Table 2: Cases where new offences are similar in character to index offence Offence Number Total 136 Homicide and attempted homicide 0 including: Manslaughter
Table 2: Cases where new offences are similar in character to index offence Offence Number Attempted murder Conspire, aid, incite murder Wounding and assault 8 including: Wounding (inflicting GBH) Assault occasioning ABH Assault with intent to cause GBH Assault with intent to resist arrest Other assault Obstruct/resist constable Assault on police officer Other violence against the person 0 including: Cause explosion, place explosive Possess firearms with intent Possess offensive weapon Other violence against the person Sexual offences 0 including: Rape Buggery Indecent assault Unlawful sexual intercourse Drugs offences 17 including: Production Supply Possession with intent Possession Unlawful import/export Other drugs offences Driving offences 11 including: Death by reckless driving In charge or driving under the influence of drink or drugs Reckless driving Other motoring offences Taking and driving away Theft and Burglary 89 including: Burglary Robbery Other theft Handling stolen goods Fraud Forgery Disorderly and Threatening Behaviour 6 including: Making threats to kill Criminal damage Affray Violent disorder Threat/disorderly behaviour Drunkenness Kidnap/Abduction 1 including: Kidnapping Abduction False imprisonment Other offences including: Arson 1 Bigamy 0
Table 2: Cases where new offences are similar in character to index offence Offence Number Blackmail 0 Perjury/libel/pervert the course of justice 0 Breach of Court Order 3 Cruelty to children 0
1. The table compares the most serious index offence with all the offences involved in the fresh convictions, cautions and pending prosecutions.
2. Similar offences are defined for the purpose as offences within groups of offences shown above. All "stand alone" offences are not counted as similar in character to any other offence or group of offences.