Only 7% of people convicted of possession & supply of drugs received custodial sentence

We highlight the figures below from Hansard (citation: HC Deb, 15 June 2011, c839W) due to recent misleading information about numbers.

Nicola Blackwood (Oxford West and Abingdon, Conservative)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many people have been convicted of (a) possession and (b) supply of illegal drugs of each classification level in each year since 2007; and how many such people received (i) a custodial sentence and (ii) the maximum possible sentence in each case.

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

Persons found guilty at all courts and sentenced, given immediate custody and the statutory maximum sentence for possession, supply and possession with intent to supply a controlled drug, by classification, in England and Wales from 2007 to 2010, can be viewed in the tables as follows:

Number of persons found guilty at all courts and sentenced for possession, supply and possession with intent to supply a controlled drug and maximum sentence, England and Wales, 2007 to 2010(1, 2, 3)
  2007 2008
Drug offences Found guilty Total sentenced Other sentences Immediate custody Maximum sentence Found guilty Total sentenced Other sentences Immediate custody Maximum sentence
Possession class A (max 7 years) 13,389 13,286 12,383 903 3 14,599 14,516 13,531 985 4
Possession class B (max 5 years) 2,466 2,449 2,347 102 0 2,764 2,754 2,658 96 0
Possession class C (max 2 years) 1,761 1,798 1,738 60 4 2,848 2,892 2,805 87 5
Possession class unspecified 33 47 40 7 * 21 29 18 11 *
Possession cannabis(4) (max 5 years) 14,073 14,004 13,842 162 3 17,855 17,831 17,584 247 2
Supply class A (max life) 2,633 2,594 784 1,810 0 2,968 2,976 931 2,045 2
Supply class B (Max 14 years) 84 85 59 26 0 98 97 51 46 0
Supply class C (max 14 years) 201 230 165 65 0 273 293 180 113 0
Supply class unspecified 222 233 20 213 * 248 250 20 230 *
Supply cannabis(4) (max 14 years) 367 354 253 101 0 352 334 230 104 0
Possession with intent to supply Class A (max life) 3,500 3,473 1,004 2,469 2 4,010 3,972 1,059 2,913 1
Possession with intent to supply Class B ( max 14 years) 308 302 163 139 0 341 344 180 164 0
Possession with intent to supply Class C (max 14 years) 687 761 473 288 0 805 905 590 315 0
Possession with intent to supply Class unspecified 46 68 28 40 * 46 58 20 38 *
Possession with intent to supply Cannabis (max 14 years) 958 910 678 232 0 1,241 1,142 879 263 0

 

  2009 2010
Drug offences Found guilty Total sentenced Other sentences Immediate custody Maximum sentence Found guilty Total sentenced Other sentences Immediate custody Maximum sentence
Possession class A (max 7 years) 13,742 13,670 12,894 776 9 12,254 12,175 11,396 779 2
Possession class B (max 5 years) 4,204 4,186 4,072 114 0 4,265 4,268 4,110 158 0
Possession class C (max 2 years) 1,923 1,922 1,858 64 3 1,578 1,576 1,521 55 5
Possession class unspecified 16 27 14 13 * 15 23 20 3 *
Possession cannabis(4) (max 5 years) 21,457 21,300 20,980 320 2 25,188 25,012 24,666 346 0

 

Supply class A (max life) 2,804 2,809 830 1,979 0 2,549 2,530 774 1,756 0
Supply class B (Max 14 years) 171 172 84 88 0 344 340 189 151 0
Supply class C (max 14 years) 234 235 148 87 0 122 120 79 41 0
Supply class unspecified 182 184 21 163 * 284 287 35 252 *
Supply cannabis(4) (max 14 years) 387 392 256 136 0 517 521 348 173 0
Possession with intent to supply Class A (max life) 3,675 3,696 861 2,835 0 3,753 3,687 908 2,779 1
Possession with intent to supply Class B ( max 14 years) 468 470 296 174 0 882 893 590 303 0
Possession with intent to supply Class C (max 14 years) 700 725 473 252 0 325 326 248 78 0
Possession with intent to supply Class unspecified 53 60 13 47 * 50 58 23 35 *
Possession with intent to supply Cannabis (max 14 years) 1,453 1,443 1050 393 0 2,343 2,307 1660 647 0
(1) 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. (2 )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. (3 )Sentenced 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. (4 )Cannabis was re-classified to a class B drug on 26 January 2009 * Not applicable Source: Justice Statistics Analytical Services—Ministry of Justice.