Prisoners (Early Release) — 3 Jul 2000

I beg to move,

That this House condemns the Government's policy of giving prisoners special early release on the Home Detention Curfew scheme; deplores the fact that more than 20,000 convicted criminals, including thousands of drug dealers and traffickers, robbers, burglars and violent offenders, have been released from prison under the scheme before serving even half the sentences they were given by the courts; regrets that child sex offenders and others have been released on the scheme before serving the minimum period required by law and contrary to the explicit assurances given to the House by Ministers; notes the contradiction between the recent comments of the Home Secretary and the Prime Minister's spokesman that violent criminals should serve longer prison sentences and the Government's policy that has resulted in the special early release of thousands of violent criminals on the scheme; calls on the Home Secretary to act on his word and end the release of robbers and other violent criminals on the scheme immediately; calls for the scheme to be abolished completely; and calls on the Home Secretary urgently to clarify the Government's prisons policy.

Today, we have seen a significant shift in this country's penal policy . . . when this bit of the crime and disorder Bill comes before the House, we will resist it.--[ Official Report , 20 November 1997; Vol. 301, c. 456.]

We oppose the early release of prisoners under the scheme.

what the Government are doing is wrong.--[ Official Report , 23 June 1998; Vol. 314, c. 925-28.]

We want to send a clear message to violent criminals that they can expect the stiffest penalties if they commit robberies or other street crimes.--[ Official Report , 23 June 2000; Vol. 352, c. 560.]

no justification for the automatic exclusion of robbers

the average sentence length of the convicted robbers placed on home detention curfew was just over two years, which is well below the current average of three years. Without detracting at all from the seriousness of each individual crime, I think you will nonetheless agree that this gives an indication of the relative seriousness with which the courts regarded each of the offences in question.

New figures show that there are 4,000 "vacancies" in Britain's jails.

There is a growing problem with violence in Britain. The Prime Minister is convinced there is only one way to deal with it and that is to send the message that those responsible will be caught and put away for long periods. There is no excuse for dealing with the situation in any other way.

We should not make a totem of the length of time spent in prison.--[ Official Report, Standing Committee B , 4 June 1998; c. 697.]

has had a highly successful performance record in the 16 months since its implementation.--[ Official Report , 12 June 2000; Vol. 351, c. 659.]

I beg to move, To leave out from "House" to the end of the Question, and to add instead thereof:

'notes that the introduction of Home Detention Curfew with electronic tagging as in the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 was specifically welcomed in the unanimous Third Report of the Home Affairs Select Committee, Session 1997-98 (HC 486-I), whose members endorsing the report at that time included the honourable Members for Woking, Surrey Heath and Aldershot; believes that one of the major factors contributing to re-offending is an inadequate transition between custody and life outside prison in the community; applauds the work initiated by HM Government better to manage that transition, through Home Detention Curfew, more effective drug treatment, Welfare to Work and greater emphasis on education, work and offender behaviour programmes; notes that short term prisoners are only released on Home Detention Curfew after a careful risk assessment, that about 94 per cent. of prisoners have completed Home Detention Curfew successfully, and that the latest information indicates that fewer than 2 per cent. have been arrested, prosecuted or convicted for offences committed on Home Detention Curfew; applauds the Government's toughening of the sentencing regime, its practical approach to honesty in sentencing, and its establishment of a comprehensive review of the sentencing framework; and further notes the Opposition's action in opposing strong measures against anti-social behaviour, benefit sanctions for probation offenders and reform of mode of trial, comforting only the miscreant at the expense of the victim and the community.'.

the requisite period for the term of his sentence.

commitment to tackle the modern menace of drugs in our communities

for certain periods during the day or night to keep him out of prison.--[ Official Report, Standing Committee A , 18 December 1990; c. 258.]

clearly does not do many people a great deal of good and does not turn them away from crime.--[ Official Report , 12 November 1990; Vol. 180, c. 408.]

would provide adequate protection to the public because of the tagging element, and will give prisoners an opportunity to readjust to life outside prison.

after daft prison staff tagged his false leg by mistake.

the introduction of home detention curfew has been remarkably successful.

We have no plans or intention whatever to provide for electronic tagging to facilitate the early release of serious or sexual offenders. Let me make that clear, with a full stop--none whatever.--[ Official Report , 29 November 1999; Vol. 340, c. 27.]

Prison is the right place for those who have committed serious crimes.

a commitment to tackle the modern menace of drugs in our communities.

the police have our full support.

the public have a right to expect . . . long and heavy sentences.

We have no plans or intention whatever to provide for electronic tagging to facilitate the early release of serious or sexual offenders. Let me make that clear, with a full stop--none whatever"--[ Official Report , 29 November 1999; Vol. 340, c. 27.]

I particularly welcome the provisions on electronic tagging.--[ Official Report , 8 April 1998; Vol. 310, c. 417.]

There it is. He cannot say that he did not know--it was all in the Bill and it received not just a welcome, but a particular welcome.

Question put, That the original words stand part of the Question:--

The House divided: Ayes 137, Noes 319.

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Party Summary

Votes by party, red entries are votes against the majority for that party.

What is Tell? '+1 tell' means that in addition one member of that party was a teller for that division lobby.

What are Boths? An MP can vote both aye and no in the same division. The boths page explains this.

What is Turnout? This is measured against the total membership of the party at the time of the vote.

PartyMajority (No)Minority (Aye)BothTurnout
Con0 135 (+2 tell)085.6%
Independent1 0033.3%
Lab289 (+2 tell) 0070.0%
LDem28 0059.6%
PC1 0025.0%
UUP0 2022.2%
Total:319 137072.0%

Rebel Voters - sorted by party

MPs for which their vote in this division differed from the majority vote of their party. You can see all votes in this division, or every eligible MP who could have voted in this division

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no rebellions

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