The Parole Board has now published its Annual Report and Accounts for 2016/17.
“The Parole Board is making good progress after a difficult period but there is still more to do.” said Professor Nick Hardwick, Chair of the Parole Board for England and Wales.
He said: “At the start of our 50th anniversary year I am pleased to report significant improvement in the Board’s performance although I do not underestimate the work there is still to do. Our backlog of cases is down, waiting times are down, the number of prisoners serving a sentence of Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) still in custody is down, over 100 new members have been recruited, and we have successfully moved from paper to digital systems.
“None of this progress is yet complete but much has been achieved and I am confident it will continue to be so.”
The 50th anniversary of the Parole Board is in 2017/18 and the report looks back at how the Board has developed over that period as well as providing a detailed look at the Board’s work in 2016/17.
Martin Jones, the Chief Executive of the Parole Board said:
“Deciding whether it is necessary to keep someone in prison to protect the public is a vital, but sometimes difficult decision. It is a job that requires good judgement to make decisions based on an assessment of the evidence.
“I am enormously grateful to my members and staff, and all those involved in the system, who help us make these decisions. The Board is committed to making those decisions, as swiftly as possible, with care, humanity and courage, because we know those decisions have a massive impact on victims, prisoners and their families. “
The Board dealt with the highest number of oral hearings in its history in 2016-17:
- In 2016/17 held 7,377 oral hearings and 25,204, cases on the papers, up 6% on 2015/16
- The number of outstanding cases reduced by 17% from 2,445 to 2,033 cases.
- 1,938 IPP cases were concluded at oral hearing. The Board ordered the release of 894 IPPs (including IPP recalls) a 20% increase on the number released in 2015-16 and we released an additional 11 IPPs on the papers. The number of unreleased IPPs fell to 3,528 down 42% on its peak in June 2012.
- 104 new Parole Board members were recruited
- The proportion of oral hearings that were adjourned or deferred in 2016/2017 remained too high at 30% and this is a major priority for 2017/18.