HC Deb 09 February 2004 vol 417 c1438W
Dr. Iddon

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on sentencing guidance for rape convictions. [153662]

Paul Goggins

The maximum sentence for rape is life imprisonment. Sentences in individual cases are a matter for the courts, taking into account the circumstances of the offence and the offender including all mitigating and aggravating factors.

It will be possible to sentence offenders to the new sentence of imprisonment for public protection introduced by the Criminal Justice Act 2003. This scheme allows for those who pose a continued risk to the public to be kept in prison for an indeterminate period of time.

The Sentencing Guidelines Council was also set up by the 2003 Act with the purpose of issuing guidance so as to bring about greater clarity and consistency in sentencing. The council will be considering guidance on sex offences as one of its first priorities.