Political News Updates

15.06.2014

Prisoners

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice on which occasions Ministers in his Department have taken decisions on (a) moving prisoners into open conditions and (b) releasing prisoners on temporary licence since May 2010. [200224]

Jeremy Wright: An indeterminate sentence prisoner is transferred to open conditions only after a robust risk assessment and, in most cases, upon the recommendation of the independent Parole Board. In making its risk assessment, the Parole Board is provided with reports from a range of professional staff from within the National Offender Management Service, all of whom can be required to attend the Parole Board hearing and give evidence directly to the Board if required to do so. In making its recommendation, the Board’s overriding priority at all times is the safety of the public.

Decisions as to whether to accept a Parole Board recommendation to transfer an indeterminate sentence prisoner to open conditions or to direct the transfer of such a prisoner without a Parole Board recommendation are taken by officials within the National Offender Management Service on behalf of Ministers, in accordance with the Carltona principle. Such decisions are not referred to Ministers.

Decisions to transfer determinate sentence prisoners to open conditions are taken by population managers within the National Offender Management Service. Only prisoners who have been thoroughly risk assessed and categorised as suitable for open conditions will be considered for transfer to open prisons. Decisions on re-categorising prisoners as suitable for open conditions are taken by experienced prison staff with input from offender managers, healthcare and other professional staff using recent information about the prisoner including behaviour while in closed conditions, security and intelligence information and any other risk information that might demonstrate the prisoner’s proven trustworthiness. Decisions are not taken by Ministers.

Decisions to release prisoners on temporary licence (ROTL) are taken by prison governors and directors, or their delegates, on behalf of the Secretary of State and in line with national guidance issued by the National Offender Management Service (NOMS). Decisions are taken on the basis of recommendations from a risk assessment board that has taken account of the nature of the offence and any indentified risk factors, the position of known victims, the offender’s record on previous ROTL; their behaviour in prison and progress in tackling their offending behaviour, and any other specific areas of concern relevant to that case. Decisions are not taken by Ministers.