Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Terrorist Offenders (Restriction of Early Release) Bill

Updated 19 February

The Terrorist Offenders (Restriction of Early Release) Bill is now before Parliament.  The purpose of the Bill is to ensure that terrorist offenders are not automatically released before the end of their custodial term without agreement of the Parole Board.  

The provisions in the Bill change the release point for offenders who have committed a relevant terrorism offence and refer those offenders to the Parole Board at the two-thirds point of the sentence. The changes will apply
to offenders currently serving a custodial sentence for terrorist offences, as well as to future terrorist offenders who receive a standard determinate sentence or (in England and Wales) sentence for offenders of particular concern (SOPC).

According to the Explanatory Notes - "The incidents at Fishmongers Hall on 30 November 2019 and in Streatham on 2 February 2020 demonstrate that the United Kingdom faces an unpredictable risk to public safety from released terrorist prisoners. Following the incident in Streatham on 2 February the government decided to take immediate action to end the automatic release of terrorist offenders before the end of their sentence. This Bill will apply to all serving prisoners, as well as those sentenced in the future."

The government considers that the Bill is compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights and the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice has provided a statement under section 19(1)(a) of the Human Rights Act 1998 to that effect. The operation of clauses 1 to 4, whilst having retrospective effect, do not in the view of the government engage Article 7 of the European Convention as it does not increase the penalty imposed by the court. The provisions in the Bill do not retrospectively alter a serving offender’s sentence. The government considers that release arrangements are part of the administration of a sentence, which can change without breaching an offender’s human right. 

UK Government - Terrorist Offenders (Restriction of Early Release) Bill including European Convention on Human Rights Memorandum (8 pages pdf).

House of Commons Library - Research Briefing on the Bill

Previous post 2 December 2019 - Fishmonger's Hall, London - Usman Khan and Extended sentences

BBC New 2 February 2020 - Streatham attacker had been released from jail  

12 February:

The Bill completed, in  one day, its House of Commons stages - Hansard.

19 February:

The Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation - Report on the Terrorist Offenders (Restriction of Early Release) Bill

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