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Publication - Consultation responses

Parole reform in Scotland: analysis of consultation responses

Published: 12 Feb 2018
Directorate:
Justice Directorate
Part of:
Law and order, Research
ISBN:
9781788515702

Collated and analysed responses to the public consultation on parole reform in support of the Vision for Justice in Scotland.

37 page PDF

709.1 kB

37 page PDF

709.1 kB

Contents
Parole reform in Scotland: analysis of consultation responses
5. Tests that the Parole Board Apply in Determining Whether to Release

37 page PDF

709.1 kB

5. Tests that the Parole Board Apply in Determining Whether to Release

Overview

5.1 There are currently two tests which the Parole Board is required to use before releasing or re-releasing certain categories of prisoners.

5.2 One of these tests is in relation to the release of life and Order of Lifelong Restriction ( OLR) prisoners and provides that a direction to release cannot be made unless the Parole Board is satisfied that it is no longer necessary for the protection of the public that the prisoner should be confined. The second test is concerned with the re-release of extended sentence prisoners and provides that a direction to re-release cannot be made unless the Parole Board is satisfied that it is no longer necessary, for the protection of the public from serious harm, that the prisoner should be confined.

5.3 There are no specific tests concerning decisions to be made by the Parole Board for the release, re-release or recall of other types of prisoners. The consultation proposed that there should be a common test applied in all release, re-release and recall cases considered by the Parole Board.

Tests for release

Q11. "Do you agree that a common test should be applied in all release, re-release and recall cases considered by the Parole Board?"

5.4 Sixteen of the 23 respondents answered the initial question. Responses were as follows:

R = Total Responses
Y = Yes
N = No
Overall Responses Public Sector LA Individual 3 rd sector legal Judiciary
R Y N R Y N R Y N R Y N R Y N R Y N R Y N
(Q11) Common test(s) for all release, re-release and recall considerations 16 15 1 4 4 0 5 5 0 2 2 0 3 3 0 1 0 1 1 1 0

Key themes from respondents in relation to their follow-up comments were:

For those who answered Yes:

  • whilst answering yes, it should be tests as opposed to a single test, which should be set out clearly in legislation.
  • would provide clarity, tests should reflect risk. Different prisoner categories reflect and are perceived to be a higher risk than others.
  • would aid consistency and transparency of decision-making.

For those who answered No:

  • a universal test would not be appropriate for certain categories of prisoners for example, those with an extended sentence.
  • a balance must be struck for a test(s) in relation to risk and public safety.

5.5 A further follow-up question was asked, "Do you have views on what the common test to be applied should be?" Sixteen of the 23 respondents answered this. Twelve answered Yes and four answered No.

Key themes from respondents in relation to their follow-up comments were:

For those who answered Yes:

  • the one local authority who did not answer the initial question did provide reasoning on what the tests should be, again flagging up a universal test may not be the most appropriate but any tests should be in statute and ensure risk is detailed in terms of the test.
  • public safety must be at the centre of any test e.g. "risk posed by the individual can be managed in the community".
  • need to recognise the varying risks posed by certain prisoner categories such as those who have an OLR.
  • interested parties would welcome further discussion where appropriate to input on what these new tests may be, this would support multi-agency working.
  • opportunities for prisoners to reduce risk, a balance needs to be struck to enable this to happen.

For those who answered No:

  • not in position to comment as creation of new or single test(s) is a matter for Parliament.

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