Transforming parole in Scotland: consultation

Consultation on proposals to improve the openess and transparency of parole and strengthen the victim's voice in the parole process.

6. Supervision, Review And Recall

What we want to see?

6.1 Parole licence conditions are intended to protect public safety. It is therefore very important that there is a high compliance rate with these conditions and that there are robust mechanisms in place to ensure that is the case. Where individuals do not comply, it is critical that there are streamlined and fast-moving procedures to recall them to custody.

What happens now?

6.2 Supervision to ensure compliance with licence conditions is carried out by criminal justice social workers in accordance with the National Outcomes and Standards for Social Work Services in the Criminal Justice System[9]. The Parole Board currently has no role in supervision after release and nor would it be appropriate for it to be involved directly in supervision. This function is carried out by supervising officers who can make recommendations for variation or amendment of licence conditions as appropriate.

6.3 In relation to recall, the supervising officer prepares a licence breach report and submits it to the Scottish Ministers. A judgement is made on whether the need for recall requires an immediate decision by the Scottish Ministers or whether the report should be referred to the Parole Board for a decision.

6.4 There is potential for delay in the current system between the supervising officer concluding that the risks posed by the individual on licence have become unacceptable, a decision being made to recall the individual and the recall order being prepared and provided to police.

Options for Change

6.5 Emerging evidence from problem solving approaches in court[10] and the children's hearings system suggest that regular reviews help improve outcomes as progress is reported and views are expressed. Early compliance is likely to lead to longer-term success in relation to adherence to licence conditions.

6.6 We would like you to consider whether measures should be introduced to regularly, and formally, review individuals on parole licence to ensure compliance with conditions. An additional review hearing, carried out by the Parole Board, may help ensure compliance with licence conditions in the initial months following release. Following the review, the Parole Board could consider adjusting the licence conditions accordingly, based on evidence of risk posed.

6.7 Regular reviews may also support criminal justice social work supervision as it would provide an opportunity for developing difficulties to be dealt with before they escalate, potentially helping to avoid recall to custody. It would also provide the opportunity for good conduct to be recognised and supported.

6.8 A post-release review process may lead to fewer recalls if issues could be addressed quickly and appropriately. Currently, when an individual has been released on licence, and is not detained in custody for any other matter, their licence may be revoked and they may be recalled to prison. This process does not give them the opportunity to make representation or present their case, even when there could be mitigating circumstances.

6.9 In relation to revocation of licence and recall to custody, we would like you to consider whether there is a more effective way to speed up the process of identifying when the risk becomes unacceptable and expediting the return of the person concerned to prison (if required).

6.10 One option could be to give the Supervising Officer the power to refer cases directly to the Parole Board for consideration, without necessarily needing to revoke the licence. This approach may improve the process by bringing individuals back quicker before the Parole Board.

6.11 This proposed approach would reduce the period of time an individual deemed to be at increased risk was at large in the community.

Questions On Supervision, Review And Recall

Question 13: Is there a requirement for an additional review process (at least initially)?

Yes / No

If Yes, who should carry out that review and what would you see as the advantages or disadvantages of an additional review? If No, why not?

Question 14: In relation to revocation of licence and recall to custody. Do you consider social workers should be able to refer directly to the Parole Board?

Yes / No

If Yes, what are the implications of this change and how could this be managed? If No, why not?


Email: Sandra Wallace

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