About us

The Parole Board is an independent body that carries out risk assessments on prisoners to determine whether they can be safely released into the community.

About the Parole Board

Who we are

The Parole Board is an independent body that carries out risk assessments on prisoners to determine whether they can be safely released into the community. It was established in 1968 under the Criminal Justice Act 1967 and became an independent executive non-departmental public body on 1 July 1996 under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994.

We have 246 Parole Board members who make the assessments and decisions. We employ around 120 members of staff to support them, based in 102 Petty France, London.

Our job is to determine if someone is safe to release. We do that with great care, and public safety is our number one priority. We deal with 25,000 cases a year, which are referred to us by the Ministry of Justice once prisoners have served the punishment determined by the courts. Parole Board decisions are solely focused on whether a prisoner would represent a significant risk to the public after release. The risk assessment is based on detailed evidence found in the dossier (a collection of documents relating to the prisoner) and evidence provided at the oral hearing.

Key Statistics

Number of cases concluded at oral hearing in 2016-17: 5165

  • 35% of these were refused
  • 48% were released
  • 17% were recommended for moves to open prison.

From 2013 to 2016, the percentage of offenders who committed serious further offences following a release decision or move to open conditions was less than 1%

Our responsibilities

We carry out risk assessments on prisoners in England and Wales according to provisions in the Criminal Justice Act 1991 and the Crime (Sentences) Act 1997. Our main responsibility is to protect the public, and we manage: