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Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012

Section 111 and Schedule 14: Prisoners serving less than 12 months

550.Section 111 provides for prisoners serving sentences of less than 12 months to be released unconditionally at the half way point. It does so by inserting a new section 243A into the 1991 Act. This replicates the corresponding provision in the Criminal Justice Act 1991 (“the 1991 Act”). In effect, it replaces the provisions for release of those serving sentences of less than 12 months (section 181: custody plus) originally provided for in the 1991 Act.

551.Section 111 introduces Schedule 14 which makes consequential amendments in relation to the new section 243A to ensure that the new provision works with the existing release and recall scheme in Chapter 6 of Part 12 of the 1991 Act.

552.Paragraph 14 of the Schedule provides that consecutive sentences which add up to 12 months or more are to be treated as a single sentence of 12 months or more. This means that where a sentence of less than 12 months is served consecutively with another sentence and either (i) the other sentence is 12 months or more, or (ii) the two sentences add up to 12 months or more, then release for the sentence of less than 12 months would be on licence for the remainder of the sentence. However, where consecutive sentences add up to less than 12 months, release will be unconditional.

553.Sentences of less than 12 months were previously all dealt with under the the 1991 Act (by virtue of transitional provisions, this remained the case even after the 1991 Act was brought into force). Paragraph 17 of the Schedule removes those transitional provisions, so that from the commencement of Chapter 4 such sentences are dealt with under the 1991 Act.

Section 112: Restrictions on early release subject to curfew

554.Section 112 amends section 246 of the 1991 Act which provides for early release on HDC, which includes electronic monitoring. The amendments exclude a number of categories of prisoner from the HDC scheme. They will prevent anyone serving a sentence of four years or more from being eligible for the scheme. They also make ineligible those previously released and recalled under the scheme for breach of licence conditions (during a previous or current sentence). Also excluded will be those previously returned to prison under section 116 of the PCC(S)A 2000 for committing a further offence before the expiry of a previous sentence. These changes bring the 1991 Act scheme in line with the scheme under the 1991 Act, so that the statutory provisions for HDC will be the same for all prisoners.

555.Subsection (5) inserts a new subsection (4ZA) into section 246 of the 1991 Act. This deals with concurrent and consecutive sentences for the purpose of determining whether an offender is serving a term of 4 years or more.

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