HC Deb 21 January 1971 vol 809 cc1255-6
12. Mr. Spearing

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is satisfied with the working of the Parole Board system; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Maudling

Between April, 1968 and December, 1970 over 5,100 prisoners were released on parole. 258 were recalled to prison during their period on licence. These figures show that the scheme has made an encouraging start. I have recently decided to establish additional panels of the Parole Board at Birmingham and Manchester, and shall continue to keep the scope of the scheme under review.

Mr. Spearing

Will the right hon. Gentleman make a statement about paragraph 120 of the last Parole Board Annual Report? Will he also clarify his reply? Are Parole Boards local review bodies, or is the central Parole Board split into several parts?

Mr. Maudling

If the hon. Member will study my reply, he will see that I said that additional panels of the Parole Board, would be established in Birmingham and Manchester. In relation to the whole scheme, the Home Secretary is faced with great problems in deciding to allow the release of people on parole, but it is absolutely right to carry on with this scheme, which is a humane and sensible one. I pay particular tribute to the work of the Parole Board, which is voluntary, detailed and extremely hard. The board does it extremely well.

Mr. St. John-Stevas

In view of the outstanding success of the scheme under the enlightened chairmanship of Lord Hunt, will the Home Secretary consider extending it to cover all prisoners?

Mr. Maudling

That is going a little further. So far the scheme is working well, thanks, as my hon. Friend said, to Lord Hunt and his colleagues. I should like a little further time, and I shall keep it always under review.