To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if his Department will take steps to ensure victims of abuse are informed when an offender is released from prison on early parole.
In England and Wales, victims who choose to participate in the Probation Service Victim Contact Scheme (VCS) are currently informed when an offender is released from prison. The Probation Service has the statutory responsibility, under the Domestic Violence Crime and Victims Act 2004 and the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime, for the VCS. The VCS provides victims of sexual and violent offences, where the offender receives a prison sentence of 12 months or more, or a hospital order, with the right, should they so choose, to be informed of key stages in an offender’s sentence, including release from custody.
Where the offender is serving a determinate sentence, the release date is fixed. Victims will be informed of the expected month of release very early following sentence and will be updated with the week of release closer to the actual release date.
Where the offender is subject to discretionary release by the Parole Board, the victim will be informed early in the sentence of the month in which the offender will become eligible for consideration for release, and be informed of the Parole Board’s decision, including if this is to release the offender.