Sentencing

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 15th October 2020.

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Photo of Sarah Champion Sarah Champion Chair, International Development Committee, Chair, International Development Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how victims are notified that their offender's sentence is being reconsidered; and whether the victim has a right to consultation on that sentence.

Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

Under the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime (the Code), police Witness Care Units must inform victims if there is an appeal against the offender’s sentence. Whilst sentencing is a matter for the courts, in determining an appeal against a sentence, the court will always take into account any Victim Personal Statement (which explains the impact the offence had on the victim) that was provided to the sentencing court.

Also, under the Code victims of serious violent and sexual offences where the offender receives a custodial sentence of 12 months or more are eligible to join the Victim Contact Scheme. Victims who do so will be provided with information about key stages in the offender’s sentence, including, for those cases where release falls to the Parole Board (the Board), the timing of the Parole review, and if the offender is released, or moved to open conditions.

In eligible cases, where the Board directs an offender be released, victims may request that the Secretary of State (SoS) apply to the Board for reconsideration of release. Such a request must be made within 21-calendar days of the issuing of the Board’s decision. The SoS will only apply to the Board where there is evidence that the decision taken was either irrational or procedurally unfair.

Anybody who submits a request to the SoS will be provided with a full response from the Public Protection Casework Section (PPCS) of Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service regardless of the outcome.

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