New Parole Board Rules

Changes make rules simpler and clearer.

For the first time, Parole Board Rules will specify the failure to disclose a victim’s body as a matter which can be taken into account when deciding a person’s release from prison.

The move is one of a number of planned Rule changes laid before Parliament today (Thursday 22 Dec), which aim to modernise and simplify the current procedures, which are more than 20 years old.

Under the changes, which take effect in April 2023, certain victims registered with Part 1 of the Victim Notification Scheme will also be able to choose if they wish to get information on the decision relating to the person involved in their case – rather than the decision summary being automatically sent to them.

This move, by enabling victims to ‘opt-out’ of such notifications, aims to avoid re-traumatisation. It builds on the Scottish Government’s other recent parole reforms, such as the right for victims to observe parole proceedings, and its wider vision to put victims at the heart of the justice system.

The new rules will also include a new procedure allowing the Parole Board to reconsider cases under certain conditions where a decision has been made not to release a person. The Parole Board will also be able to appoint a representative on behalf of prisoners who lack capacity to appoint one themselves.

Justice Secretary Keith Brown said:

“These new rules reflect the Scottish Government’s wider commitment to putting victims at the heart of the justice system, by making it clearer and easier for victims and others to understand.

“The current Parole Board rules are more than 20 years old and have undergone lots of changes and amendments, making them complex and inaccessible.

“Simplifying and modernising the rules will help people better understand what is often seen as a difficult and convoluted procedure and improve the process for everyone involved.”

John Watt, Chairman of the Parole Board for Scotland said: 

"The Parole Board for Scotland has been fully engaged with the Scottish Government over these changes to Parole Board Rules which we anticipate will make the Rules more accessible and understandable for all involved in, or affected by, the parole process."

The new rules will come into force on 1 April 2023.

Read the new rules.


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