HC Deb 18 December 2001 vol 377 c240W
Lynne Jones

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has for legislation to reduce the dangers posed to the public by people with a demonstrable history of high-risk offending. [15177]

Beverley Hughes

"Making Punishments Work", the report of a review of the sentencing framework (and known as the Halliday Report), was published on 5 July. One of the key recommendations in the report is that prison sentences of 12 months or more for 'dangerous' (violent and sex) offenders should be subject to special provisions which provide for discretionary release, subject to risk assessment, from the halfway point until the end of the sentence, coupled with the possibility of extended supervision.

We are currently analysing the responses to all the recommendations in the report with a view to formulating final proposals for legislation on a new framework for sentencing.

We also recently published a review of Part One of the Sex Offenders Act 1997 (the register of sex offenders) for public consultation. The consultation period ended on 19 October and we are currently analysing the responses to its recommendations for strengthening the legislation.

In addition, the Government plan to introduce new Mental Health legislation as soon as parliamentary time allows. This will provide a clear legal framework for the detention of those who pose a significant risk of serious harm to others as a result of a mental disorder, including a personality disorder.

These proposals will build on earlier measures we have taken to improve public protection including: implementation of the Sex Offenders Act 1997; provisions in the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 for sex offender orders and extended supervision of sexual and violent offenders; and provisions in the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000 to ban unsuitable people working with children and to strengthen the Sex Offenders Act.