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Prisoners' Release

Question for Ministry of Justice

UIN HL14436, tabled on 22 March 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many people were released from prison in the last year that figures are available while serving (1) a life sentence, or (2) an imprisonment for public protection sentence, having spent at least 10 years in custody; and of these, how many have subsequently been recalled to custody.

Answered on

7 April 2021

The total number of releases and subsequent recalls in the last year that figures are available is provided as follows, broken down by (1) determinate sentences of 20 or more years, (2) prisoners serving life sentences who have been in custody for 10 or more years, and (3) prisoners serving imprisonment for public protection (IPP) sentences who have been in custody for 10 years or more.

Sentence Type

Total released between 1 Oct 2019 and 30 Sept 2020

Total recalled since release

Determinate – 20+ years



Life (10+ years in custody)



IPP (10+ years in custody)



These figures have been drawn from the Public Protection Unit Database held by Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service. As with any large-scale recording systems, the figures are subject to possible errors with data migration and processing.

Offenders on licence in the community will be recalled to custody where they breach their licence conditions in such a way as to indicate that their risk has increased to the level where it may no longer be managed effectively in the community, even by the imposition of additional licence conditions and other controls. Recall is a vital measure to protect the public from those who are assessed as likely to commit further offences causing serious harm if they were to remain in the community.

Our primary responsibility is to protect the public. HMPPS remains committed to supporting all offenders recalled to custody to reduce their risk, so that the independent Parole Board (or, in the case of some determinate sentence offenders, the Secretary of State using executive powers) may direct their re-release as soon as it is safe to do so.