§ Mr. Stinchcombe
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prisoners serving life sentences in England and Wales have served(a) up to five years more than their tariff sentence, (b) five to 10 years more than their tariff sentence, (c) 10 to 15 years more than their tariff sentence and (d) in excess of 15 years more than their tariff sentence. 
§ Hilary Benn
The tariff is the minimum period a life sentence prisoner must serve to meet the requirements of retribution and deterrence before being considered for release. After this minimum period has been served release will only take place where the prisoner is judged no longer a risk of harm to the public.
The available information in respect of mandatory life sentence prisoners ie those aged over 21 who have been found guilty of murder is as follows:
- (a) up to five years more than the minimum period—559,
- (b) five to 10 years more than the minimum period—199,
- (c) 10 to 15 years more than the minimum period—97 and
- (d) in excess of 15 years more than the minimum period—20.
Such information in respect of non-mandatory life sentence prisoners—ie those aged under 21 found guilty of murder and those aged over and under 21 who have had a life sentence imposed for an offence other than murder—is not held centrally in the form requested and could be provided only at disproportionate cost by examining the individual records of the prisoners concerned.