Automatic Early Release in Prisons

A demand by an MP to abolish the law which allows prisoners to be released half way through their sentence regardless of behaviour has been ignored.

Justice Minister Sam Gyimah said prisoners are released on licence and must abide by conditions or face being returned to prison.

But Shipley MP Philip Davies branded the process absurd and said government must overturn the law introduced by the last Labour Government.

He said: “There is no real incentive for prisoners to behave themselves in prison because the law is prisoners have to be released half way through their sentence, irrespectively of how badly they behave or if they are still a threat to the public. I am still waiting for the government to give an explanation as to why they think this law should be on the statute book and yet to receive a satisfactory response.”

Mr Davies previously raised the issue with Prime Minister Theresa May and last week at the Commons Justice Select Committee, which he is a member.

Mr Gyimah said: “He raised the issue at the select committee last week and I will give him the same answer I gave then. When prisoners are released even at the half way point they remain on licence and if there is a breach of the licence they are recalled into prison and that remains the case.”

Many prisoners who breach their licence are returned to prison under the Fixed Term Recall introduced in 2008 whereby they serve a further 28 days.

Mr Davies previously forced government to admit more than 7,000 prisoners who re-offended on licence were returned to prison for the “mini-break” rather than serving the remainder of their original sentence.