HC Deb 27 October 1992 vol 212 c580W
Sir John Wheeler

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what rules he has made governing the proceedings of the parole board when considering the cases of discretionary life sentence prisoners who are eligible for consideration under the provisions of the Criminal Justice Act 1991; and how the board will be constituted when considering such cases.

Mr. Kenneth Clarke

The parole board rules 1992 were made on 31 August 1992 under section 32(5) of the Criminal Justice Act 1991. They will come into force on 1 October. A copy of the rules has been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

When considering these cases, the parole board will sit in panels of three. I have written to the chairman of the board asking him to bear in mind the following criteria when selecting panel members.

Chairman Panels should be chaired by a High Court judge member of the Board where cases involve: terrorist offences; the attempted murder or wounding of a police or prison officer; the sexual assault or mutilation and killing of a child (ie in the same incident); serial rape; manslaughter following release from prison on a previous manslaughter sentence; offences giving rise to multiple life sentences. Otherwise, a circuit judge or recorder may take the chair.

Second member The second member should generally be a psychiatrist. But, if there is conclusive medical evidence that no serious concern exists about the prisoner's state of mind at the time of the offence or subsequently during imprisonment, a psychologist or probation officer may be appointed.

Third member The third member of the panel should be a lay member, a criminologist, or a psychologist or probation officer (where he or she is not already the second member).

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