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Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 16th April 2019.

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Photo of Alberto Costa Alberto Costa Conservative, South Leicestershire

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of the transparency of parole board hearings.

Photo of Lucy Frazer Lucy Frazer The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

In May 2018, the Government amended the Parole Board Rules to allow victims and other parties to request summaries of Parole Board decisions for the first time. To date, the Parole Board has produced over 1000 decision summaries. This has helped victims and the wider public have a greater understanding of parole decisions.

Decision summaries have been an important first step in bringing greater openness to the parole system. In September 2018, the Government’s Victims’ Strategy recognised that more must be done to increase the transparency of the parole process and the way we communicate with victims. Since then, in February 2019, the Secretary of State published a Review of the Parole Board Rules which further underlined the Government’s commitment to improve the transparency of the parole process.

In light of this review, the Parole Board have committed to:

  • produce Standard Practice guidance to provide clear and public information about how release decisions are reached
  • improve other publicly available information about how parole works
  • continue to work with broadcast and print media to increase understanding of how parole works, including allowing the media to observe some hearings

These measures will improve public understanding of how the parole system operates, support greater consistency in decision making and provide accountability where standards may not have been met.

In February 2019, the Secretary of State also launched a Tailored Review of the Parole Board. This review will include further reflection on the transparency of the Parole Board, its governance, decision making and the information and data it shares with the public (building on the work of recent reviews). The Tailored Review will publish its findings in the summer of 2019.

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