§ Miss Widdecombe
[holding answer 1 February 1996]: Responsibility for this matter has been delegated to the temporary Director General of the Prison Service, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.
Letter from A. J. Pearson to Ms Ann Coffey, dated 5 February 1996:
The Home Secretary has asked me, in the absence of the Director General, to reply to your recent Question about the policy on informing police authorities of the release of offenders convicted of manslaughter and murder.51W
The current procedure for informing the police of the final discharge of all prisoners on completion of sentence is that on or about 28 days before discharge, the establishment where the prisoner is serving completes a Form 99. This form is then sent to the National Identification Service (formerly National Identification Bureau) at New Scotland Yard.
The form gives all personal details of the prisoner, including, if known, his CRS number. Details of the present conviction, offence, committing courts and sentence are also included as is the discharge address, if known.
The relevant instructions to establishments to carry out this procedure are contained in Prison Service Standing Order 1I (Discharge of Prisoners), paragraph 11 and Prison Service Circular Instruction 40/1992, paragraph 8.
Under the arrangements introduced in April 1995 governing the release on temporary licence of prisoners, the Prison Service must notify the police about such releases in cases where the post trial report prepared by the police indicates that notification is required. Post trial reports are completed on any offender serving a custodial sentence (of any length) involving sex, violence or drugs and in respect of any prisoner serving a custodial sentence of 12 months or more.
The notice of temporary release is faxed to the Force Intelligence Bureau (FIB) of the police service in whose area the prison is located, at least 5 working days before the temporary release is due to take place. The force FIB will then relay the information either to the police service which originally dealt with the offences and/or the police service to which the prisoner will be going on temporary release.