16. The Parole Board
16.1 The relevant legislation in relation to the release of prisoners is the Prisoners and Criminal Proceedings (Scotland) Act 1993 and applies to prisoners sentenced on or after 1 October 1993. The detailed procedures for parole consideration in relation to these prisoners are governed by The Parole Board Rules (Scotland) 2001.
Parole Board for Scotland
16.2 The Parole Board for Scotland is a Tribunal Non-Departmental Public Body whose members are appointed by the Scottish Ministers. The Parole Board has a number of statutory functions but operates independently from the Scottish Government. The Parole Board has no statutory powers to consider the case of a prisoner unless the case has been referred to it by Scottish Ministers. Directions made to Scottish Ministers by the Parole Board about the early release of an offender are binding, with the exception of deportation cases and applications for compassionate release where the Parole Board will make a recommendation only. For further information see www.scottishparoleboard.gov.uk.
16.3 The Parole Board only grants release in cases where the level and nature of risk is deemed to be manageable in the community; this decision is informed by the evaluation of risk assessments.
16.4 The type of sentence imposed will determine both at which point in the sentence the Parole Board will consider release and under what procedures the review will take place.
Parole Board Executive
16.5 The Parole Board Executive is responsible for the day-to-day administration of the Parole Board for Scotland. On receipt of cases from the Scottish Prison Service or the Scottish Government Parole Unit, the Parole Board Executive schedules the case for a Casework Meeting or Tribunal based on the type of case and informs all parties of the Parole Board's decision following consideration of the case.
Contact DetailsParole Board Executive
16.6 The Parole Unit is part of the Criminal Justice and Parole Division within the Learning and Justice Directorate of the Scottish Government. The Unit oversees casework related to parole and recalls to custody, and is responsible for advising Scottish Ministers on policy and procedure governing the release of prisoners. The Unit is directly responsible for setting the release licence conditions for prisoners whose sentences fall between six months and four years and who have been sentenced for a sexual offence.
Contact DetailsParole Unit
Parole Board - MAPPA Considerations
Information to the Parole Board
16.7 Six months prior to a prisoner's review date, SPS will write to the MAPPA Coordinator advising that the prisoner's review has commenced and that the decision of the Parole Board should be known approximately 10 weeks before the review date. This notification will also advise the MAPPA Coordinator to liaise with Criminal Justice Social Work ( CJSW), who have the statutory responsibility for the reporting on the recommendation of licence conditions to the Parole Board. If the responsible authorities wish to send information to the Parole Board, this information should be passed to the relevant Criminal Justice Social Worker who should ensure that the content is sufficient to support any request.
16.8 Criminal Justice Social Workers preparing reports for the Parole Board must not quote a MAPPA meeting as a source of information, except with the Chair's permission. If the report writer wishes to use a specific piece of information that has been shared at a MAPPA meeting, they must first consult the agency which provided it to seek approval to use the information in the report. The information must be attributed to the agency and the content agreed with the agency representative who attended the meeting.
16.9 If the offender has been released on licence, is in custody and serving between six months and four years for a sexual offence or is being considered by a Tribunal of the Parole Board (life sentence prisoners and extended sentence prisoners recalled in the extension period of their sentence) then the information will be processed on behalf of Scottish Ministers through the Scottish Government Parole Unit.
16.10 Members of the MAPPA group should not contact the Parole Board directly.
Requests for MAPPA Minutes
16.11 If the Parole Board requests a copy of relevant MAPPA minutes in respect of an offender being managed at Level 2 or 3, the matter should be referred to the Chair of the MAPPA meeting concerned and the MAPPA Coordinator.
16.12 All requests and decisions relating to the disclosure of the MAPPA meeting minutes must be recorded on case management records including ViSOR. Where information is to be provided, the MAPPA meeting Chair will complete a Minutes Executive Summary and covering letter.
16.13 Communication in reply to the Parole Board should be through the CJSW.
Parole Board information to the MAPPA
16.14 Information about Parole Qualifying Dates and the Earliest Dates of Liberation are held by the SPS. These dates must be passed to the MAPPA Coordinator and the community based relevant responsible authorities as soon as they are known. This will allow forward planning in respect of housing and potential risks to public protection. This should be done, even if the SPS consider that there is little likelihood of release. The dates should also be recorded on ViSOR.
Throughcare Licence Breach Report: Role of Parole Unit
16.15 Circular JD/4/2008 sets out the format for providing Throughcare licence breach reports. Subject to the recommendation made by the criminal justice supervising officer, the Parole Unit will reach a decision based upon the full facts of the case; this will include, for example, the nature of the reported breach, the individual's criminal record, history of substance abuse and, current risk assessments. Where the supervising officer makes a recommendation for an immediate recall to custody (Scottish Ministers' recall), a decision can only be made where it is expedient in the public interest to do so and where there is clear evidence to show an immediate risk of harm to the public.
16.16 Where a Scottish Minister's recall has not been made the case will be referred to the Parole Board to consider recall.
16.17 Where it is deemed that there has been a serious breach of licence, contact arrangements are available for out of hours emergencies. CJSW Services or the police should contact the Scottish Government Security Staff Control Room (0131 556 8500) who will contact a designated member of the Parole Unit. A discussion can then take place between the supervising officer/emergency duty social worker, police and Parole Unit staff.