HC Deb 08 May 2000 vol 349 c311W
Mr. Flynn

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will recommend that remission of sentences granted to sick prisoners because of their illnesses be reviewed when the prisoner has recovered. [120928]

Mr. Boateng

Section 36 of the Criminal Justice Act 1991 allows for release from prison on compassionate grounds in exceptional circumstances. Remission of sentence was abolished with the introduction of the 1991 Act.

Decisions to release prisoners under section 36 of the 1991 Act are rare. Release is granted only where strict criteria are met and where it is considered that release will not place the safety of the public at risk.

Where a prisoner's exceptional circumstances warrant release on compassionate grounds, he or she must comply with the conditions contained in their release licence. If he or she fails to comply with those conditions, or if his or her behaviour after release indicates that there is reason to revise the original risk assessment, the licence can be revoked and the individual returned to custody. Current policy is that improvement in an individual's medical circumstances are not, on their own, sufficient reason to revoke a licence. There are no plans to change this policy.