The Parole Board has published its Annual Report and Accounts for 2014/15 which records the work carried out by the Board last year to achieve its aims of making risk assessments that are rigorous, fair and timely while protecting the public and contributing to the rehabilitation of prisoners.
During the past year the Parole Board has faced the ongoing challenge of a significant rise in its oral hearings caseload following the Supreme Court Judgment in the case of Osborn and others handed down in October 2013. The Board continued to hold a high number of oral hearings throughout the year and it has begun to see a reduction in the backlog of cases in the last quarter of the year.
The Board implemented the new Member Case Assessment model, which was an entire re-design of its casework function and impacted both staff and members alike. Over 150 members were trained and it introduced entirely new ways of working.
The Governance reforms were successfully implemented and a new Committee structure was established. The Triennial Review of the Parole Board was completed in January 2015 and endorsed the changes put in place for its Governance structure.
The coming year also promises to be a challenging one as the Board works to reduce the backlog further in the face of a rising oral hearing demand, and against a background of immense change across the Criminal Justice sector.
The Board will continue to focus on making right and fair decisions at the right time, utilising resources across the whole system as efficiently as possible to best protect the public.
The key statistics for 2014/15 are:
The total number of hearings conducted during the year. This is compared with 24,710 during 2013/14.
The number of oral hearings that took place during the year. This compared to 5,174 in 2013/14. This 33% significant increase follows on from the Osborn judgment which significantly broadened the circumstances in which the law requires the Board to hold oral hearings, resulting in far more cases progressing to oral hearing.
The percentage of paper hearings that directed the prisoner to an oral hearing. This is an increase from 29% in 2013/14.
The percentage of prisoners progressing at the oral hearing stage is 10% down on last year (74%).
The Parole Board budget for 2014/15.
The number of staff in post on 31 March 2015.
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.
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