§ 6. Mr. Loughton
What plans he has to make special sentencing powers available to courts for repeat offenders. 
§ The Minister of State, Home Office (Ms Joyce Quin)
We have already implemented the provisions in the Crime (Sentences) Act 1997 under which offenders convicted for the second time of a serious violent or sexual offence will receive an automatic life sentence; and those convicted for a third time of dealing in hard drugs will receive a mandatory minimum sentence of seven years imprisonment.
The Government's Crime and Disorder Bill, which is currently before Parliament, provides for a statutory duty on the Court of Appeal to consider providing sentencing guidelines for all the main offences, which would ensure greater consistency in sentencing.
§ Mr. Loughton
I am grateful for that answer, but, having accepted the principle of extending prison stays for serious sexual and violent offenders as laid down by the previous Home Secretary, what do the Government have against the principle of minimum sentences for repeat or career burglars? Is taking tough action against that serious area of crime not a priority for the Government in the lifetime of this Parliament?
§ Ms Quin
As I made clear at the last Home Department questions, we are not against that principle. This would appear to be a severe case of repeat questioning—[Interruption.] That question has already been answered effectively by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary and other colleagues on several occasions. There is no difference between our view and that of the previous Government in this respect; but it was clear in the measures adopted by the previous Government that they 647 had neither the resources nor an immediate timetable for implementing the measures to which the hon. Gentleman refers.
§ Angela Smith
A recent incident in my constituency involving a sex offender has brought home strongly the importance of ensuring public confidence in the sentencing of sex offenders. What plans does my hon. Friend have to ensure that, following release, serious sex offenders and violent offenders are properly supervised?
§ Ms Quin
I am glad to be able to tell my hon. Friend that the Crime and Disorder Bill will contain provisions for extending supervision of sexual and violent offenders, which will respond to the point she has raised.