Transparency of the Parole Board and Victim Support - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:32 pm on 9th January 2018.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lord Keen of Elie Lord Keen of Elie The Advocate-General for Scotland, Lords Spokesperson (Ministry of Justice) 3:32 pm, 9th January 2018

I acknowledge the observations made by my noble friend, and they are well founded. The test applied to release by the Parole Board in the case of an IPP prisoner is particularly high and has to be overcome by the prisoner himself addressing the onus. The onus rests on the prisoner to satisfy the Parole Board. However, I entirely accept that we can never exclude risk in this context. These are individuals who have been responsible for violent, and very often violent and sexual, crimes. They do pose a risk. It is a question of determining whether their incarceration should be indefinite or whether society has reached a point where it can decide that the risk is so diminished that they can be safely allowed back out into the community. We in this country do not believe in indefinite imprisonment, nor have we ever done so.

On the question of transparency, I acknowledge that the individual prisoner will have certain basic human rights that have to be respected, but it is necessary for us to take a proportionate approach to that issue, remembering that there are also victims here, not just the perpetrator.