Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Parole Board ~ update

In early January 2018 it was announced that the Parole Board had assessed John Worboys (aka Radford) as suitable for release on licence from prison - post 5 January 2018.   There was a judicial review of that decision - post 29 March 2018 - and Worboys remains in prison.

These events led to the controversial departure of Professor Nick Hardwick, the Parole Board Chairman.   The Secretary of State for Justice (Mr David Gauke MP) gave Professor Hardwick no real option but to resign.  Since then a new Board Chair, Caroline Corby, has been appointed with effect from 1 November 2018.

A Press Release announcing the appointment of Caroline Corby also referred to:
  • a departmental review of the 27 Parole Board rules
  • the need to address the relative lack of ethnic diversity among Parole Board members in the next recruitment round in 2019
Review of Parole Board Rules:

The outcome of the departmental review of Rules has been announced - see Ministry of Justice 4 February 2019.    Actual rule changes will be made by Statutory Instrument.  Here is a summary of the key points in the review -

Reconsideration Mechanism:

The Review provides for a new, though somewhat limited, reconsideration mechanism so if there is a seriously flawed release decision by the Parole Board it can be looked at again without the need for judicial review.  See also The Guardian - Crime Victims get power to challenge prisoners' release.

Here is a summary of the new mechanism -

Further review:

The Secretary of State also confirmed that he has launched a Tailored Review of the Parole Board which will consider what further changes over the longer term would benefit the parole process. There are no restrictions on the scope of this work, which will be wide-ranging and will report back by the summer before publishing its findings.

It will consider fundamental issues such as the purpose of the Parole Board, which functions it should deliver, its efficiency and effectiveness and its structure, including whether it should become a judge-led tribunal. This also includes assessing whether the Parole Board should receive additional powers and be monitored by an independent inspectorate.

Other links:

Ministry of Justice - 4 February 2019 - New improvements to parole board transparency and victim support

Nuffield Foundation 2009 - A new Parole system for England and Wales

Scottish Parole Board

Parole Commissioners for Northern Ireland

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