HC Deb 15 June 1999 vol 333 c100W
Mr. Stinchcombe

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to change(a) Prison Service and (b) Parole Board procedures to ensure that prisoners with short tariffs are not unnecessarily held beyond expiry of the tariff. [86375]

Mr. George Howarth

None. Short tariff life sentence prisoners are, with rare exceptions, those whose tariffs (relevant parts) have been set by the courts. Such prisoners are statutorily entitled to an oral hearing of their case by the Parole Board once the relevant part of the sentence has expired. The Board may direct the prisoner's release following such hearings if they are satisfied that the level of risk is acceptable. No change is, therefore, necessary to Parole Board procedures.

The Prison Service has set up an 86-bed main centre at Brixton prison to provide fast-track arrangements for life sentence prisoners with short tariffs. The aim is to provide expedited reports on such prisoners so that they may be allocated at an early stage to other prisons which can offer any necessary course work on offending behaviour. This should enable such work to be completed in time for the outcome to be reported to the Parole Board for the oral hearing on tariff expiry.