Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 1st July 2022.

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Photo of Matt Vickers Matt Vickers Conservative, Stockton South

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps he is taking to reform the parole system.

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

The Root and Branch Review of the Parole System was published on 30 March 2022 and set out a number of reforms to the parole system. Key reforms include: refining the statutory release test and adding criteria which Parole Board panels must consider; creating a ‘top-tier’ of the most serious offenders, who will be subject to increased ministerial oversight, including the ability of the Secretary of State to refuse their release; and increasing the number of panel members with law enforcement experience, mandating that these members sit on ‘top-tier’ cases. We will legislate for these proposals as soon as parliamentary time allows.

We have already implemented a tougher test and increased ministerial oversight when considering the most serious offenders for a move to open prison conditions. In addition, a Statutory Instrument has recently been laid in Parliament, which will amend the Parole Board Rules to allow for some parole hearings to be heard in public. It will also provide for the Secretary of State to present the Parole Board with a single view on the suitability of a prisoner for release, which will allow for ministers to put in their view to the Board in the most serious cases. All of these measures aim to enhance public protection and improve confidence in the parole system.

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