On 21 July 2017, the Scottish Government published a consultation on Parole Reform in Scotland. This consultation sought views within six distinct areas which covered proposals for both primary and secondary legislation. The consultation closed on 13 October 2017. A total of 23 responses were received comprising of 20 from organisations and three from individuals. Organisations representing the public, local authorities and the third sector provided 18 of the organisational responses with each of these sectors providing six responses.
The consultation consisted of 21 closed questions with a follow-up comments section. When reporting the number of responses/comments received those who stated “no comment” have not been included.
There was no single question to which all 23 respondents answered. There were five questions to which every category of respondent answered. Two third sector organisations responded by letter. The content of their letters were considered as a response to the final question (Question 22 (Q22)).
Across every category of respondent, there was a varying degree of understanding around the parole process. It was clear however from the comments that more clarity would be welcomed in relation to certain aspects of the Board’s activities including the role of the Scottish Ministers, the role of the Parole Board, independence and the accountability and governance structure of the Parole Board.
The responses to this public consultation were low but they did represent a cross-section of organisations. The limited response numbers demonstrate that these are technical changes. With the exception of Q.2 (current terms for appointment and reappointment being fit for purpose) and Q.20 (oral hearings and tribunal considerations to mirror casework) there were no areas where responses indicated a clear disagreement with proposals as presented.