HC Deb 10 May 1996 vol 277 c308W
Mr. Congdon

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to revise his directions to the Parole Board. [29306]

Miss Widdecombe

We have revised our directions to the Parole Board on the release and recall of determinate sentence prisoners, originally issued in 1992 under section 32(6) of the Criminal Justice Act 1991, in order to tighten and clarify the framework within which parole decisions are made. We have asked Lord Belstead, chairman of the Parole Board, to implement these directions as soon as possible. Copies of the new directions have been placed in the Library.

The main changes to the directions on release are as follows:

  • there is a more explicit statement about the need to protect the safety of the public being a paramount factor;
  • it is made clear that the board can take into account the nature and circumstances of the original offence when assessing risk;
  • it is made clear that previous post-release behaviour must be considered; and
  • emphasis is placed on the need to take into account, in the case of a violent or sexual offender, any previous convictions for violence or for sexual offences.

The directions on recall have been recast in such a way as to preserve consistency with the revised directions on release.

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