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Offender Assessment System: Life Imprisonment

Question for Ministry of Justice

UIN HL465, tabled on 24 May 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government (1) how many, and (2) what proportion of, people serving a life sentence have an up-to-date Offender Assessment System assessment.

Answered on

8 June 2021

The (1) total number and (2) proportion of life sentence prisoners currently in custody, who have an up to date Offender Assessment System (OASys) assessment, is shown in the following table:

Number of life sentence prisoners currently in Custody

Number with an OASys record able to be matched

Number of those identified within OASys with an up to date assessment

Percentage of those identified within OASys with an up to date assessment





Notes for all tables:

  1. These figures have been drawn from the Public Protection Unit Database and OASys National Reporting System held by Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service. This data was matched on PNC and Prison NOMIS ID. As with any large scale recording systems, the figures are subject to possible errors with data migration and processing.

In order to determine whether an assessment was ‘up to date’, the policy and guidance under the HM Prison and Probation Service’s Offender Management in Custody Model has been applied.

1) An initial OASys assessment must be completed within 16 weeks of a new life sentenced prisoner being received into custody. In the interim, where there is a Court OASys risk assessment prepared for sentencing purposes, that is deemed to be an up to date assessment.

2) Following completion of an initial assessment, a review is required as a minimum every 3 years.

Life sentence prisoners will often have reviews of their OASys assessment undertaken more frequently than once every three years due to parole hearings or other significant events.

There are significant vacancies across the Prison Estate, which has an impact on the number of completed assessments. In order to address this, there are ongoing recruitment campaigns for prisons to employ additional probation officers and qualified probation officers and prison officers.