Open Prisons: Prisoners' Transfers

Ministry of Justice written question – answered at on 9 June 2022.

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Photo of Steve Reed Steve Reed Shadow Secretary of State for Justice

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to the press release entitled Offenders to face toughest test yet for open prison moves, published by his department on 5 June 2022, whether he has made an estimate of the number of potential moves that will be assessed by the Lord Chancellor each year under.

Photo of Steve Reed Steve Reed Shadow Secretary of State for Justice

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to the announcement of 5 June 2022, Offenders to face toughest test yet for open prison moves, whether he plans to publish an annual summary of his decision making through the new process.

Photo of Kit Malthouse Kit Malthouse The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice, Minister of State (Ministry of Justice and Home Office)

From 6 June, all indeterminate sentence prisoners recommended for a move to open conditions by the Parole Board will face much stricter criteria. The new rules will mean the Deputy Prime Minister can block any such prisoner moving to an open prison unless they can demonstrably pass a tough three-step test including:

  • Proving the prisoner is assessed as low risk of abscond; and
  • a period in open conditions is considered essential to inform future decisions about release and to prepare for possible release on licence into the community; and
  • a transfer to open conditions would not undermine public confidence in the Criminal Justice System.

It is expected that the Parole Board will make fewer recommendations than was the case under the previous criteria, although no formal estimate has been made of the number of recommendations which will need to be considered by Ministers personally or by officials under approved delegated authority.

There are no plans to publish an annual summary of decisions made in the new process.

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