This year the Parole Board set up an internal working group of staff and Parole Board Members in order to identify how the Parole Board can improve victims’ experience of what can be an emotional and difficult process. This group drafted an information booklet for victims and consulted partner agencies, the Victims’ Commissioner, the Ministry of Justice Victims Panel and various victims’ groups for feedback.
This guidance has now been published.
Claire Bassett, Chief Executive of the Parole Board said:
“Helping victims negotiate what can be a complex and frustrating process is very important to us. We hope this booklet will go a long way to support victims and answer their questions.”
Since 2007, victims have had a right to submit a written Victim Personal Statement to the Parole Board and they do so through the National Probation Services Victim Contact Scheme. Since that time, the Parole Board has also been considering requests for victims to attend and present their statements in person where the case is being dealt with at an oral hearing.
The Parole Board first issued Practice Guidance to its members on victims’ participation in 2010. This guidance was designed to set out the role, powers and responsibilities of Parole Board panels. It was revised in February 2014, following publication of the Victims’ Code.
The Board does not generally have direct contact with victims, other than when they attend hearings in person, or if they write directly to the Board after a case has been considered. All information about when Parole Reviews are due, what the decision is and communication about making a statement is handled by the National Probation Service’s Victim Liaison Officer.
The Parole Board recognises that it needs to do more to help victims understand the Parole process and the role that a Victim Personal Statement can play in it. We hope this booklet will be a useful guide.
Notes to Editors
The Parole Board is an independent body that works with its criminal justice partners to protect the public by risk assessing prisoners to decide whether they can safely be released into the community.
The Board has responsibility for considering life sentence prisoners (mandatory life, discretionary life and automatic life sentence prisoners and Her Majesty’s Pleasure detainees; and prisoners given indeterminate sentences for public protection); and determinate sentence cases (discretionary conditional release prisoners serving more than 4 years whose offence was committed before 4 April 2005; prisoners given extended sentences for public protection for offences committed on or after 4 April 2005; and prisoners given an Extended Determinate Sentence after 3 December 2012).
The Board considers initial release into the community and re-release following a recall to prison.
For further information please call Glenn Gathercole, Business Development Directorate on:
0203 334 4392 during office hours
07725 927954 out of hours or