Prisoners' Release: Coronavirus

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 13th July 2020.

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Photo of Tan Dhesi Tan Dhesi Shadow Minister (Transport)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what proportion of people who have been released early from prison as a result of the covid-19 outbreak were convicted of serious violent crimes.

Photo of Tan Dhesi Tan Dhesi Shadow Minister (Transport)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what discussions he has had with prison governors on the early release of prisoners as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Photo of Tan Dhesi Tan Dhesi Shadow Minister (Transport)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what proportion of the prisoners released early as a result of the covid-19 outbreak were managed by (a) Community Rehabilitation Companies and (b) the National Probation Service on release.

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

On 4 April, the Ministry of Justice announced the End of Custody Temporary Release scheme (ECTR). This scheme enables risk-assessed prisoners, who are within two months of their release date, to be temporarily released from custody, as part of the national approach to managing public services during this challenging period.

No prisoners released under the ECTR scheme have been convicted of serious violent crimes as offenders serving sentences for violent crimes are not eligible for this scheme.

Further information can be found in the published guidance on gov.uk

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/881061/end-custody-temporary-release.pdf

All offenders released on ECTR are subject to electronic monitoring, which is in place before they are released from custody. Offenders released under ECTR are not subject to statutory probation supervision. However, upon release Community Rehabilitation Companies will deploy Through the Gate staff to ensure each offender has a nominated offender manager to remain in contact with for the duration of the temporary licence.

In addition to ECTR, prisoners in the following groups will merit consideration for compassionate temporary release on a Special Purpose Licence:

a. Pregnant women b. Prisoners with their babies in custody c. Those defined by the NHS guidelines as ‘extremely vulnerable’ to Covid-19

Prisoners who are eligible and who meet the criteria above can apply for release on temporary licence (ROTL). A Special Purpose Licence is one of the provisions of the existing ROTL Policy Framework. Only those prisoners who pass a rigorous risk assessment and approval process, which includes input from Community Offender Managers, the police and other statutory agencies where appropriate will be released. These Covid-19 releases under Special Purpose Licence will involve some prisoners who would not in normal times be released on temporary licence, but for whom it may be appropriate in these unique circumstances.

Further information can be found in the published guidance on gov.uk

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/881060/covid19-use-compassionate-rotl.pdf

All prisoners released on a Covid-19 Special Purpose Licence are subject to supervision and support from the prison by their Prison Offender Manager and in the community by their assigned Community Offender Manager. Some prisoners are also subject to a daily curfew and GPS tagging as part of their individual risk management plan.

Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service provides ongoing support to establishments including direct conversations with governors where required. Guidance has also been issued to governors to support them and their staff in the delivery of the early release schemes.

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