Parole Board

Justice written question – answered on 2nd July 2012.

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Photo of Simon Reevell Simon Reevell Conservative, Dewsbury

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer of 18 June 2012, Official Report, column 681W, on sentencing, what other indicators the Parole Board considers in ascertaining whether a prisoner's risks have been reduced; and what instructions are given to the Parole Board regarding such indicators when they are used in lieu of offending behaviour programmes.

Photo of Crispin Blunt Crispin Blunt Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice) (Prisons and Probation)

The Parole Board is an independent body which has the power to direct release of indeterminate sentence prisoners if it is satisfied that their detention is no longer necessary for the protection of the public.

EWCA Civ 1779 has ruled that these Directions can be regarded only as guidance in respect of cases where the Parole Board has the power to direct release. The Directions set out all the factors the Secretary of State consider the Parole Board should take into account when considering whether to direct release. These Directions were intended to apply to all cases, including those where the prisoner may not have completed offending behaviour programmes (OBPs). Copies of the Directions have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

As explained in my answer of 18 June 2012, Hansard, column 681W, the independent Parole Board's assessment of a prisoner's suitability for release is based upon areas of risk, rather than whether or not specific OBPs have been completed. A prisoner may address his or her risk in a variety of ways and is not limited to participation in group-based intervention programmes. The Parole Board will look at a range of indicators that a prisoner's risks have been reduced, including addressing the area of risk by completing an alternative OBP, engaging with one to one work, education and training, non-accredited courses, work, specialist support and resettlement or demonstrating a sustained period of stable behaviour.

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