How many people were convicted for drug possession and supply?

Given recent misinformation about “prison vs health” figures, we highlight these historic government figures.

See also Daily Mail comment.

Charles Walker (Broxbourne, Conservative)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice

(1) how many people aged (a) under 18, (b) between 18 and 24, (c) between 24 and 30 and (d) 30 and above received custodial sentences for (i) possession and (ii) supply of cannabis in each of the last 10 years;

(2) how many people (a) under the age of 18, (b) between 18 and 24, (c) between 24 and 30 and (d) 30 and above were (i) reprimanded, (ii) warned and (iii) charged for possession or supply of cannabis in each of the last 10 years.

 

Crispin Blunt (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Prisons and Probation), Justice; Reigate, Conservative)

The number of offenders cautioned (which include reprimands and warnings) and the number of defendants proceeded against at magistrates courts and found guilty and sentenced at all courts for possession or supply of cannabis by age group in England and Wales, 2000 to 2009 (latest available) are in Tables 1 to 3 as follows.

Charging data are not held centrally, proceedings data have been provided in lieu.

Data for 2010 are planned for publication in the spring of 2011.

Table 1: Offenders issued with a reprimand, warning, or caution( 1, 2 ) and persons proceeded against at magistrates courts, found guilty and sentenced at all courts, for possession of cannabis( 3, 4) , by age group, 2000-09( 5, 6, 7)
Number
  2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008( 8) 2009
Aged 10 to 17                    
Reprimand/warning 7,017 7,618 8,671 8,654 6,975 6,557 5,847 6,707 7,165 6,344
Proceeded against 3,178 3,747 4,426 4,599 3,391 3,302 3,311 3,935 4,825 5,029
Found guilty 2,810 3,220 3,833 4,087 3,084 3,063 3,062 3,685 4,553 4,708
Sentenced 2,808 3,221 3,833 4,087 3,084 3,062 3,062 3,685 4,552 4,707
Of which:                    
Immediate custody 23 26 14 28 21 17 11 7 4 12
Other sentences 2,785 3,195 3,819 4,059 3,063 3,045 3,051 3,678 4,548 4,695
                     
Aged 18 to 24                    
Cautioned 16,353 15,086 17,247 17,308 8,438 8,373 8,061 7,893 8,421 7,446
Proceeded against 9,536 9,701 11,322 12,036 5,682 4,921 5,187 5,860 7,357 9,060
Found guilty 8,882 8,952 10,419 11,217 5,135 4,577 4,859 5,635 7,072 8,737
Sentenced 8,902 8,908 10,413 11,180 5,120 4,551 4,818 5,610 7,048 8,648
Of which:                    
Immediate custody 140 112 98 108 46 56 57 63 122 145
Other sentences 8,762 8,796 10,315 11,072 5,074 4,495 4,761 5,547 6,926 8,503
                     
Aged 25 to 30                    
Cautioned 4,772 4,413 5,251 5,000 2,650 2,764 2,794 2,877 3,154 2,949
Proceeded against 4,484 4,196 4,449 4,718 2,316 2,037 2,117 2,240 2,979 3,976
Found guilty 4,220 3,886 4,062 4,392 2,146 1,879 1,981 2,118 2,873 3,828
Sentenced 4,247 3,892 4,052 4,392 2,143 1,873 1,969 2,099 2,865 3,805
Of which:                    
Immediate custody 80 64 46 54 39 24 29 35 47 86
Other sentences 4,167 3,828 4,006 4,338 2,104 1,849 1,940 2,064 2,818 3,719
                     
Aged 31 and over                    
Cautioned 4,757 4,680 5,762 6,164 3,293 3,423 3,668 3,770 4,083 3,870
Proceeded against 5,105 5,061 5,779 6,518 3,257 2,780 2,835 2,789 3,541 4,361
Found guilty 4,813 4,694 5,341 6,018 2,955 2,576 2,634 2,635 3,357 4,167
Sentenced 4,842 4,715 5,329 6,006 2,955 2,564 2,603 2,610 3,366 4,124
Of which:                    
Immediate custody 118 88 83 98 55 39 44 57 74 77
Other sentences 4,724 4,627 5,246 5,908 2,900 2,525 2,559 2,553 3,292 4,047
                     
                     
All ages                    
Cautioned 32,899 31,797 36,931 37,126 21,356 21,117 20,370 21,247 22,823 20,609
Proceeded against 22,303 22,705 25,976 27,871 14,646 13,040 13,450 14,824 18,702 22,426
Found guilty 20,725 20,752 23,655 25,714 13,320 12,095 12,536 14,073 17,855 21,440
Sentenced 20,799 20,736 23,627 25,665 13,302 12,050 12,452 14,004 17,831 21,284
Of which:                    
Immediate custody 361 290 241 288 161 136 141 162 247 320
Other sentences 20,438 20,446 23,386 25,377 13,141 11,914 12,311 13,842 17,584 20,964
(1) From 1 June 2000 the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 came into force nationally and removed the use of cautions for persons under 18 and replaced them with reprimands and warnings. (2 )The cautions statistics relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When an offender has been cautioned for two or more offences at the same time the principal offence is the more serious offence. (3) Cannabis was classified as a class B drug to January 2004 when it was reclassified as a class C drug. It was then subsequently reclassified as class B from January 2009. (4) Statutes and corresponding offence descriptions used: Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 s.5(2) as amended by Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (Amendment) Order 2008 Having possession of a controlled drug-Cannabis and cannabis resin; Cannabinol; Cannabinol derivatives Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 s.5(2) Having possession of a controlled drug-Cannabis or cannabis resin. (5) The figures given in the table on court proceedings relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences it is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe. (6) Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used. (7) The sentenced column may exceed those found guilty as it may be the case that a defendant found guilty, and committed for sentence at the Crown court, may be sentenced in the following year. (8) Excludes data for Cardiff magistrates court for April, July and August 2008. Source: Justice Statistics Analytical Services-Ministry of Justice.

 

Table 2: Offenders issued with a reprimand, warning, or caution( 1, 2 ) and persons p roceeded against at magistrates courts, found guilty and sentenced at all courts for possession with intent to supply cannabis( 3, 4 ) by age group, 2000-09( 5, 6, 7)
Number
  2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008( 8) 2009
Aged 10 to 17                    
Reprimand/warning 106 126 148 154 118 138 140 110 86 67
Proceeded against 160 179 197 194 158 175 141 159 194 163
Found guilty 124 122 146 144 132 132 117 128 167 134
Sentenced 124 122 146 144 131 130 118 127 166 132
Of which:                    
Immediate custody 16 13 12 5 9 9 10 8 11 5
Other sentences 108 109 134 139 122 121 108 119 155 127
                     
Aged 18 to 24                    
Cautioned 106 93 89 127 157 234 212 204 122 93
Proceeded against 764 639 738 841 636 694 663 695 850 972
Found guilty 625 495 527 585 503 427 399 391 544 659
Sentenced 635 508 519 573 485 390 377 354 497 668
Of which:                    
Immediate custody 219 186 152 163 163 96 79 85 101 151
Other sentences 416 322 367 410 322 294 298 269 396 517
                     
Aged 25 to 30                    
Cautioned 30 26 34 23 40 51 58 43 41 33
Proceeded against 456 354 303 347 253 262 294 270 375 447
Found guilty 416 258 266 253 205 170 168 163 231 279
Sentenced 435 265 267 254 195 172 148 161 211 266
Of which:                    
Immediate custody 219 138 135 105 74 62 53 53 63 86
Other sentences 216 127 132 149 121 110 95 108 148 180
                     
Aged 31 and over                    
Cautioned 33 40 39 41 69 59 80 66 41 39
Proceeded against 814 627 549 668 478 457 496 490 577 638
Found guilty 662 483 449 488 407 264 273 276 299 381
Sentenced 678 506 451 491 399 258 241 268 268 377
Of which:                    
Immediate custody 354 281 248 202 174 105 98 86 88 151
Other sentences 324 225 203 289 225 153 143 182 180 226
                     
All ages                    
Cautioned 275 285 310 345 384 482 490 423 290 232
Proceeded against 2,194 1,799 1,787 2,050 1,525 1,588 1,594 1,614 1,996 2,220
Found guilty 1,827 1,358 1,388 1,470 1,247 993 957 958 1,241 1,453
Sentenced 1,872 1,401 1,383 1,462 1,210 950 884 910 1,142 1,443
Of which:                    
Immediate custody 808 618 547 475 420 272 240 232 263 393
Other sentences 1,064 783 836 987 790 678 644 678 879 1,050
(1) From 1 June 2000 the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 came into force nationally and removed the use of cautions for persons under 18 and replaced them with reprimands and warnings. (2) The cautions statistics relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When an offender has been cautioned for two or more offences at the same time the principal offence is the more serious offence. (3) Cannabis was classified as a class B drug to January 2004 when it was reclassified as a class C drug. It was then subsequently reclassified as class B from January 2009. (4) Statutes and corresponding offence descriptions used: Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 s.5(3) as amended by Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (Amendment) Order 2008 Having possession of a controlled drug with intent to supply-Cannabis and cannabis resin; Cannabinol; Cannabinol derivatives. Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 s.5(3) Having possession of a controlled drug with intent to supply-Cannabis or cannabis resin. (5) The figures given in the table on court proceedings relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences it is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe. (6) Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used. (7) The sentenced column may exceed those found guilty as it may be the case that a defendant found guilty, and committed for sentence at the Crown court, may be sentenced in the following year. (8) Excludes data for Cardiff magistrates court for April, July and August 2008. Source: Justice Statistics Analytical Services-Ministry of Justice.

 

Table 3: Offenders issued with a reprimand, warning, or caution( 1, 2 ) and persons proceeded against at Magistrates’ courts, found guilty and sentenced at all courts for supply or offering to supply cannabis( 3, 4, ) by age group, 2000-09( 5, 6, 7)
Number
  2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008( 8) 2009
Aged 10 to 17                    
Reprimand/warning 153 162 131 124 90 77 58 47 40 35
Proceeded against 84 84 85 81 66 64 50 58 54 40
Found guilty 53 46 59 54 50 48 35 48 42 32
Sentenced 52 46 59 54 50 49 35 49 42 32
Of which:                    
Immediate custody 8 2 2 4 3 2 1 2 4 1
Other sentences 44 44 57 50 47 47 34 47 38 31
                     
Aged 18 to 24                    
Cautioned 105 57 50 57 49 36 37 48 42 27
Proceeded against 352 270 243 258 207 214 210 218 202 199
Found guilty 290 235 192 183 166 151 138 160 145 158
Sentenced 312 244 193 180 151 132 128 150 127 157
Of which:                    
Immediate custody 109 85 78 75 38 39 36 44 32 40
Other sentences 203 159 115 105 113 93 92 106 95 117
                     
Aged 25 to 30                    
Cautioned 20 21 10 22 13 14 11 14 8 19
Proceeded against 220 148 167 111 115 76 123 112 107 109
Found guilty 183 113 124 85 80 55 67 64 51 80
Sentenced 192 110 124 88 78 55 55 63 48 82
Of which:                    
Immediate custody 94 49 54 39 36 26 16 17 20 30
Other sentences 98 61 70 49 42 29 39 46 28 52
                     
Aged 31 and over                    
Cautioned 36 20 25 22 19 26 25 21 23 16
Proceeded against 345 292 263 290 229 234 239 166 198 147
Found guilty 316 219 217 200 160 139 145 95 114 117
Sentenced 314 223 222 192 165 131 134 92 117 121
Of which:                    
Immediate custody 194 129 124 104 79 68 48 38 48 65
Other sentences 120 94 98 88 86 63 86 54 69 56
                     
All ages                    
Cautioned 314 260 216 225 171 153 131 130 113 97
Proceeded against 1,001 794 758 740 617 588 622 554 561 495
Found guilty 842 613 592 522 456 393 385 367 352 387
Sentenced 870 623 598 514 444 367 352 354 334 392
Of which:                    
Immediate custody 405 265 258 222 156 135 101 101 104 136
Other sentences 465 358 340 292 288 232 251 253 230 256
(1) From 1 June 2000 the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 came into force nationally and removed the use of cautions for persons under 18 and replaced them with reprimands and warnings. (2) The cautions statistics relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When an offender has been cautioned for two or more offences at the same time the principal offence is the more serious offence. (3 )Cannabis was classified as a class B drug to January 2004 when it was reclassified as a class C drug. It was then subsequently reclassified as class B from January 2009. (4) Statutes and corresponding offence descriptions used: Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 s.4(3) as amended by Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (Amendment) Order 2008 Supplying or offering to supply a controlled drug (or being concerned in)-Cannabis and cannabis resin; Cannabinol; Cannabinol derivatives Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 s.4(3) Supplying or offering to supply a controlled drug (or being concerned in)-Cannabis and cannabis resin. (5) The figures given in the table on court proceedings relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences it is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe. (6) Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used. (7) The sentenced column may exceed those found guilty as it may be the case that a defendant found guilty, and committed for sentence at the Crown court, may be sentenced in the following year. (8) Excludes data for Cardiff magistrates court for April, July and August 2008. Source: Justice Statistics Analytical Services-Ministry of Justice.