§ Mr. Fitzpatrick
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many sex offenders subject to the Sex Offenders Act 1997 have been placed on the home detention curfew scheme since 28 January 1999. 204W
§ Mr. Boateng
Further to my reply to the hon. Member for Bromsgrove (Miss Kirkbride) of 26 June 2000,Official Report, column 377W, in which I stated that as of 31 May 2000 only two prisoners subject to the provisions of the Sex Offenders Act 1997 had been granted Home Detention Curfew, I have since been informed that a third sex offender subject to the 1997 Act has been placed on the scheme.
The offender was convicted of unlawful sexual intercourse with a 14-year-old girl and was sentenced to 12 months' imprisonment. He was considered as a candidate for Home Detention Curfew in view of the exceptional circumstances that he was a registered blind person and it was his first offence. He had a suitable address and was judged at an enhanced risk assessment board to pose a low risk of re-offending. He was placed on the scheme on 11 July 2000 until his conditional release date of 8 September 2000. He successfully completed the curfew and is not known to have been arrested, charged or convicted of any further offence since.
Under existing arrangements, sex offenders subject to the 1997 Act may be released only in exceptional circumstances and then only with the personal authorisation of the Director General of the Prison Service. In this case, as in the other cases previously notified, I regret that this requirement was not followed by the establishment. Although I am satisfied in this particular case that the risk to the public was remote, I have asked the Director General for a report into the circumstances of the release.
Under the amendment to the Criminal Justice and Court Services Bill which the Government brought forward on 12 June 2000, sex offenders subject to the notification requirements of part I of the Sex Offenders Act 1997 will be excluded from the Home Detention Curfew scheme altogether. This amendment will prevent the re-occurrence of any further errors of this kind as they will automatically be excluded on the local inmate database system (as in the case for other statutory exclusions, for example deportees).