Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 3rd October 2019.

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Photo of Luke Pollard Luke Pollard Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) (Fisheries, Flooding and Water)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether he has plans to undertake a review of the Parole Board guidance on remorse shown by an offender following the release of Vanessa George.

Photo of Lucy Frazer Lucy Frazer The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

Guidance to Parole Board members is a matter for the independent Parole Board. It would be inappropriate for the Government to review guidance issued by an independent body making judicial decisions.

The Parole Board already provides guidance and training to Parole Board members to enable its members to decide whether a prisoner’s continued imprisonment is necessary for the protection of the public. This is a decision focused on an assessment of future risk and will ordinarily look at: the circumstances of the original offending; whether there is any evidence of change whilst in custody; and an assessment of whether risk can be managed in the community if the prisoner were to be released.

In making decisions parole panels must take account of all the written and oral evidence provided, including whether the prisoner expresses remorse. Whilst remorse, or lack of it, cannot be determinative in a parole decision, in making its decisions a Parole Board panel will take account of a prisoner’s attitude to their original offences; their insight into the impact of their offending on victims; and the extent to which they now take responsibility for their offences.

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