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Offenders: Rehabilitation

Volume 472: debated on Monday 25 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice by what means, other than completion of a rehabilitation course, prisoners on indeterminate sentences may demonstrate that their level of risk is sufficiently reduced for them to be released. (188636)

The release of a tariff expired indeterminate sentence prisoner is entirely a matter for the independent Parole Board. The statutory test applied by Parole Board panels in assessing risk in such cases, is whether they are satisfied that it is no longer necessary for the protection of the public that the prisoner should be confined. Guidance on this matter is contained in Directions to the Parole Board on the Release and Recall of Life Sentence Prisoners, a copy of which is available in the House of Commons Library.

When determining whether or not such offenders should be released, the Parole Board will look at the relevant risk factors in the individual cases, the various ways in which these have been addressed during sentence, and the outcomes manifested. The ways might include formal accredited offending behaviour courses, one to one work on identified risk factors, educational or vocational interventions and achievements. The risk assessment and risk reduction processes are, of necessity, holistic ones, considering all relevant factors.

Ultimate responsibility for the offender satisfying the Parole Board that the level of risk is reduced to the extent that he may be safely released into the community rests with the offender.