Case study

Psychologist members of the Parole Board: a case study

Psychologist members of the Parole Board have strong analytical skills and can interpret complex information. A member discusses her role.

In assessing the risk a person represents to society, the Parole Board recognises the value of the scientific approach taken by trained and experienced psychologists. Their skills support and provide theoretical backup for the decisions we make.

Psychologist members must be accredited British Psychological Society members.

Robert Halsey

As a forensic clinical psychologist on the board I am able to put to good use my specialist knowledge of forensic risk assessment. This is a natural extension of my “day job” in the NHS in which I routinely contribute to multidisciplinary decision making in a variety of contexts. I work with mentally disordered offenders within a secure mental hospital and, following their period of inpatient treatment, I help to provide community follow-up.

As a psychologist member of the board the vast majority of my work involves life sentenced prisoners. I particularly enjoy attending oral hearings and following the progression from the abstract information contained within the dossier through to the hearing itself which is brought alive by the presence of the inmate, their family and lawyers. In addition to panels, my other main commitment to the board is to sit on the Review Committee. This meets at regular intervals to examine in detail and to highlight learning points in cases where an individual who has been released on parole goes on to commit a further serious offence.

Published 23 July 2014