HL Deb 22 March 1993 vol 544 cc4-5

2.45 p.m.

Lord Boyd-Carpenter asked Her Majesty's Government:

What are the names and qualifications of the members of the Parole Board.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Earl Ferrers)

My Lords, there are 85 members of the Parole Board. Their names and relevant experience are published in the board's annual report, a copy of which was placed in the Library of the House.

Lord Boyd-Carpenter

My Lords, I thank my noble friend for that comprehensive Answer. In the case of future appointments to the board, will the Government bear in mind the important duties which members of the board discharge in advising the Home Secretary in connection with the release of long-term prisoners? Will he secure that among those appointments are people with experience of the problems of law and order?

Earl Ferrers

My Lords, I agree with my noble friend that the Parole Board has important duties to discharge. By law, the board must consist of at least one of the following categories: members of the judiciary; psychiatrists; those who have experience of the supervision or after-care of discharged prisoners; and those who have made a study of the causes of delinquency or the treatment of offenders. Of course, lay members too can be appointed. My right honourable friend's remit is covered by my noble friend's Question.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

My Lords, it was impressive to know that there are 85 members of the Parole Board. Is that enough? How many cases before the Parole Board were outstanding at the end of last year? Has that number been increasing over recent years?

Earl Ferrers

My Lords, the noble Lord asks whether the board has enough members. The membership has increased by 22 since January of last year. That is a fair increase. I cannot tell him how many outstanding cases there are.