Independent members are part of panels that are responsible for assessing the risk presented by prisoners and deciding whether they are suitable for release.
Their initial work will involve paper panels. These consider either the recall of a prisoner or whether to release on parole licence. Later on they also take part in oral hearings at prisons. These consider release or recall of life sentence and high-risk prisoners.
An empathy and understanding for the effect our decisions have on people’s lives is critical in this role. The Parole Board serves to protect society and reduce the risk of future victims. Independent members need to demonstrate their understanding and empathy of victims and those affected by crime. This could be through direct experience of being a victim of crime, through having links to other who have been victims of crime or through a wider understanding of the issues victims face.
My professional background is that I was a private sector manager for over 20 years working for companies like Coca-Cola. I no longer do that, but I still work as a management consultant, typically on issues like leadership, strategy and change. I have lately been doing more work for disadvantaged people and in the public sector. Offender rehabilitation and crime reduction has developed into a recent area of personal interest for me.
The Parole Board has a most important role to play in crime reduction and offender rehabilitation and thus I am happy to be a member. My understanding of organisations and the public sector has improved after seeing how the Parole Board operates. On the personal side, my understanding of human beings, and criminals in particular, is getting better through the cases that I have come across. I also find that working with like-minded people in panels is satisfying.