The Parole Board reconsideration mechanism was launched on 22 July 2019. This allows parties to the case to apply for reconsideration of a parole decision.
Contents 1. A guide to the reconsideration mechanism 2. Reasons for reconsideration 3. Types of prison sentence this applies to 4. People who can apply for reconsideration 5. Apply within 21 days of decision being issued 6. How victims and the public can apply 7. How prisoners can apply 8. Possible outcomes of review 9. Reconsideration Application Decisions
A guide to the reconsideration mechanism
Reasons for reconsideration
The reconsideration mechanism will give parties to a case 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 prisoner 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 a sufficient ground for reconsideration to be directed.
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))
- Sentences to which the Terrorist Offenders (Restriction of Early Release) Act 2020 applies
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 the only 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 make a request to the Secretary of State
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 request to the Secretary of State that a decision should be reconsidered, if they have a 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 representative.
This application will be sent directly to the Parole Board Reconsideration Team. An application should be made on the relevant form, which can be found via the link below. The application can be sent by post or by email to email@example.com.
It is recommended that, the form is sent by email because the timeframe to challenge a decision is just 21 days. If a form sent through the post does not arrive in time then the Parole Board cannot accept the application.
Please note that only applications which are sent to the correct postal or email address will be accepted. If you send it to a different address, or forward it to another person at the Parole Board, they will not be able to accept it.
If you have any questions, or need further information, you can write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Go to this page for the application form for a prisoner to request for a parole decision to be reconsidered.
Possible outcomes of an application for reconsideration
The Parole Board will review the decision and the details of the case, and will then decide whether the decision should be reconsidered. The Parole Board will only do so if the decision meets the criteria for reconsideration — was it irrational or procedurally unfair?
If the Parole Board decides that the decision itself was correct, even if the process was flawed, the Board may uphold it anyway.
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 carried out by the Parole Board panel who made the original decision, or a new Parole Board panel will be convened.
If a case is reconsidered at a new parole review, the panel may make the same decision as the original panel, or they may make a different decision.
Application is rejected:
The Parole Board will give written reasons why the decision was not reconsidered.
Reconsideration Application Decisions
The Parole Board has commenced the publication of its reconsideration application decisions from 27 January 2020. Copies of these decisions can be found on Bailii.