§ Mr. Tom Cox
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the present average prison sentence now being served by a person who has been sentenced to life imprisonment.
§ Mr. Mellor
The average time served under sentence in prison department establishments in England and Wales by those first released on licence from life sentences in 1984 was about ten and a half years. There are wide variations in the periods served in custody from which this average is calculated and it does not take into account any time that may have been served in other custodial care before entering a prison department establishment. This average excludes those persons who have died in custody or been discharged for other reasons. Also, it does not fully reflect the longest periods likely to be served by some of those given life sentences following the abolition of capital punishment in 1965 who have not yet been released.