§ Mr. Alton
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will consider introducing 266W legislation to allow time spent in custody by a prisoner before conviction to count towards the earliest possible date of parole; and what reduction in the number of prisoners would result from such a measure.
§ Mr. Mayhew
Under section 60(1) of the Criminal Justice Act 1967 as amended, a prisoner serving a determinate sentence becomes eligible for release on licence after completing one-third of the sentence (time spent in custody before sentence is counted) or twelve months in custody after sentence, whichever is the longer. The reasons for the twelve-month minimum are explained in paragraph 54 of the Review of Parole in England and Wales, published last May. We have no plans for legislation altering the law on this point. An estimate of the reduction in the prison population which might result is not readily available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.