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Homicide: Reoffenders

Question for Ministry of Justice

UIN 14641, tabled on 10 February 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many people have been murdered since 2017 by people who were previously convicted of murder and then released having served their prison sentences.

Answered on

18 February 2020

Serious further offences are very rare. Fewer than 0.5% of offenders under statutory supervision are charged with a serious further offence.

Anyone convicted of murder is sentenced to a mandatory life sentence. The convicted murderer is eligible for release on life licence only once he has completed the minimum term (tariff) specified by the Court at the point of sentence. It falls to the independent Parole Board to determine whether to release a life sentence prisoner who has completed his minimum term and the Board will direct release only where it is satisfied that it is no longer necessary for the purposes of public protection for the prisoner to remain confined.

Section 21 of Criminal Justice Act 2003 sets out the starting point for the sentencing Judge to impose a whole life tariff in cases where an offender has been previously convicted of murder. Whole life orders are the most severe form of punishment, such sentences have no tariff and no possibility of parole board release.

Since 2017, three1 2 people have been murdered by offenders subject to supervision on a life licence for murder at the time.

This figure includes two victims who were included in the data provided to answer PQ 140689 from the last session.

  1. This figure only includes convictions for murder by life sentence prisoners on supervision that have been notified to HMPPS.

  2. Data Sources and Quality. We have drawn these figures from administrative IT systems which, as with some large-scale recording system, are subject to possible errors with data entry and processing.