HC Deb 29 October 2001 vol 373 cc496-7W
Mr. Andrew Turner

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list those persons released from prison as a result of the Belfast Agreement, indicating for each (i) the date of release, (ii) the term for which sentenced, (iii) the period served as a percentage of (ii), (iv) the crime for which sentenced, (v) the paramilitary group with which they were associated and (vi) when recalled to prison. [11056]

Jane Kennedy

It is not our policy to release information in relation to individual cases. However certain statistics are held on releases under the Northern Ireland (Sentences) Act 1998.

Of 444 individuals released to date under the terms of the Northern Ireland (Sentences) Act 1998, 230 were released in 1998, 80 were released in 1999, 123 were released in 2000 and 11 have been released so far in 2001.

In total, 153 were life sentence prisoners and 291 were determinate sentence prisoners.

Under the terms of the Act, a life sentence prisoner was liable to serve about two thirds of the period he would have been likely to spend in prison and a fixed term prisoner was liable to serve a third of his sentence.

In relation to the terms and crimes for which they were sentenced, applicants for early release have to fulfil certain criteria to qualify for consideration under the Sentences Act. They have to be serving a term of imprisonment of life or at lease five years for a scheduled offence within the meaning of the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Acts (or a similar offence if committed outside Northern Ireland) and their offence(s) have to have been committed before 10 April 1998.

Information is held, for management purposes, in relation to the perceived paramilitary association of prisoners in Northern Ireland. The table sets out details of the perceived association of the 444 individuals released.

To date five early release licensees (two in 2000 and three in 2001) have had their licences suspended and been returned to prison.

Perceived association Total
PIRA 205
Former INLA 7
Republican Association 3
UDA 87
UFF 14
UVF 67
LVF 16
Loyalist Association 6
Criminal or No Association 12
Grand total 444