Parole concerns raised with MPs ahead of debate
The Prison Reform Trust has prepared a briefing to assist MPs in the second reading debate on the Victims and Prisoners Bill, which is scheduled to take place on Monday 15 May.
We are particularly concerned with part three of the bill, which takes forward proposals in the government’s root and branch review of the parole system. This includes provision for the creation of a “precautionary approach” to the release of a “top tier” of prisoners. For these prisoners, the bill provides for:
- A new power and procedure to usurp the Parole Board’s decisions in certain serious cases.
- A new appeal route to the Upper Tribunal where the Secretary of State has used the new decision-making power.
- A new power to enable the Secretary of State or the Upper Tribunal to set or direct licence conditions.
Part three has been tacked on to a victims bill without sufficient consideration, scrutiny or consultation. Indeed, many of its provisions were not even included in the root and branch review. Several of the measures raise significant constitutional questions regarding the independence of the judiciary and compliance with human rights obligations. If enacted, they are likely to be subject to further legal challenge.
We are urging MPs to oppose part three of the bill.