Latest Public Sector News

04.10.13

Grayling to scrap automatic release for most serious criminals

Automatic early jail release should be stopped, the Government has proposed. 

MoJ plans would affect around 600 prisoners a year; those serving fixed-term sentences who are currently eligible for release on a conditional licence into the community halfway through their sentence, and serious criminals on extended determinate sentences who are eligible for release after two thirds of their sentence. 

These prisoners are now automatically released at these points, provided they have been well-behaved in jail. The new proposals would require prisoners to prove to the Parole Board they are no longer dangerous and a risk to society. 

Justice secretary Chris Grayling said: “It's outrageous that offenders who commit some truly horrific crimes in this country are automatically released from prison halfway through their custodial sentence, regardless of their behaviour, attitude and engagement in their own rehabilitation. 

“We need to teach criminals a lesson; you will be punished for your crime and you must earn your release, it is not an automatic right.” 

But Andrew Neilson, of the Howard League for Penal Reform, warned the announcement “will not make the public safer”. 

“When prisoners are released early, they do at least receive supervision from the probation service for the remainder of their sentence, with the threat of recall to prison always present. 

“We fear this move will only serve to further clog up the Parole Board, which is already under-resourced and over-burdened.” 

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@publicsectorexecutive.com

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