The Parole Board reconsideration mechanism was launched on 22 July 2019. This allows parties to the case to challenge a parole decision made on or after 22 July 2019.
A guide to the reconsideration mechanism
Reasons for reconsideration
The reconsideration mechanism will give people the right to ask for a parole decision to be looked at again by the Parole Board if they have reasons to show the decision is either:
- Procedurally unfair - the correct process was not followed in the review of the offender for parole - for example, important evidence was not shared
- Irrational - the decision makes no sense based on the evidence of risk that was considered and that no other rational panel could come to the same conclusion.
Being unhappy with the decision is not grounds for reconsideration.
Types of prison sentence this applies to
The reconsideration mechanism applies to prisoners serving:
- indeterminate sentences (Life or IPP),
- extended sentences,
- certain determinate sentences where the initial release is at the discretion of the Parole Board (Discretionary Conditional Release (DCR) cases and Sentences for Offenders of Particular Concern (SOPC)).
It will also apply to recalled prisoners serving these sentences.
People who can apply for reconsideration
Only the Secretary of State or the prisoner can apply to the Parole Board for reconsideration as they are parties to the proceedings.
Apply within 21 days of decision being issued
An application must be received within three weeks (21 calendar days) of the decision being issued to the parties in the case (the prisoner and the Secretary of State).
The initial decision will be made final if there have not been any applications during the 21 day window.
Any requests made after the three weeks will not be accepted by the Parole Board.
If there is serious concern with the decision once the 21 day window has closed, then people can still apply for ‘Judicial Review’ — through the Administrative Court.
How victims and the public can apply
The Secretary of State’s Reconsideration Team will look at every release decision made for every case that is eligible for reconsideration. This is to ensure that there have not been any serious flaws. If they believe that there is serious concern, they can apply to the Parole Board for reconsideration.
A victim or member of the public can also make a case to the Secretary of State for a decision to be reconsidered, if there is serious concern with the decision.
Go to the page for victims and the public for information on challenging a parole decision).
How prisoners can apply
A prisoner can apply for a decision to be reconsidered themselves, or through their legal representation. This application will be sent directly to the Parole Board Reconsideration Team.
If possible, the form should be sent via email rather than post because the timeframe to challenge a decision is just 21 days.
Go to this page for the application form for a prisoner to request for a parole decision to be reconsidered.
Or write to email@example.com for further information.
Possible outcomes of review
The Parole Board will review the details of the case and decide whether the decision should be reconsidered, based on whether the decision meets the reconsideration threshold — was it irrational or procedurally unfair?
Application is accepted:
The case will be sent for another parole review, which will be arranged as a priority. This new review will be made on papers or at an oral hearing.
Depending on the facts of the case, the review will either be managed by the panel who made the original decision, or a new panel of members.
If a case is reconsidered at a new parole review, the panel may make the same decision as the original panel.
Application is rejected:
The Parole Board will give written reasons why the decision should not be reconsidered.