Parole reform in Scotland: analysis of consultation responses

Collated and analysed responses to the public consultation on parole reform in support of the Vision for Justice in Scotland.

2. Introduction


2.1 The proposals in the consultation support the Vision for Justice in Scotland which is safe, just and resilient. The proposals were developed as part of the Governance and Legislation Project in the Scottish Government's Parole Reform Programme in order to partially deliver the following manifesto commitment:-

"We will improve the effective rehabilitation and reintegration of people who have committed offences and complete the implementation of the parole reform project to modernise and improve support for the vital work of the Parole Board ."

2.2 The Scottish Government's Parole Reform Programme aims to clarify the role and status of the Parole Board, simplify and modernise processes and support consistency of approach. There are four projects within the Scottish Government's Parole Reform Programme, one of which is the Governance and Legislation project. The project's objectives include reviewing primary and secondary legislation to bring, where practical the Parole Board, into line with other tribunal organisations. There were a number of pre-consultation discussions prior to the public consultation in summer 2017 with the Scottish Ministers, Scottish Government officials, the Parole Board for Scotland Management Group and key stakeholders.

2.3 The consultation sought views on the six distinct areas which were identified by the project as needing to be reviewed:

  • Governance of the Parole Board for Scotland;
  • Involvement of the Scottish Ministers in the parole process;
  • Tests that the Parole Board apply in determining whether to release;
  • Timescales for subsequent reviews following initial consideration for parole;
  • The way in which information is supplied to the Parole Board; and
  • Administrative procedures for considering cases.

2.4 In addition to these areas, the consultation also provided the opportunity for respondents to submit views on any potential impact (positive or negative) that the proposals could have on any individual, or any organisation involved in, or affected by, the parole process including those in custody or community facing.

Consultation process

2.5 On 21 July 2017, the Scottish Government published a consultation on Parole Reform in Scotland. The consultation sought views within six distinct areas which covered proposals relating to 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 authority and the third sector provided 18 of the organisational responses with each of these sectors providing six responses.

See table below:-

Category of respondent No. of respondents % of all respondents*
Public Sector 6 organisations 26
Local Authorities ( LA) 6 26
Third Sector (3 rd) 6 organisations 26
Individuals 3 13
Judiciary 1 group 4
Legal 1 organisation 4

* Percentages do not total 100 exactly due to rounding

Analysis of responses

2.6 The 23 responses were received in a variety of ways, some came in hardcopy by post, some were emailed as a word document version of the respondent form, two were emailed by way of a letter and the remainder responded online via Citizens Space. Five of the respondents did not wish their responses to be published. The content of each response was reviewed by an official and it was agreed due to the small number of responses, that analysis would be conducted in-house.

2.7 There were 21 closed questions within the consultation with a follow-up comments section. When reporting the number of responses/comments received those who stated "no comment" have not been included. See Annex A for overall breakdown of closed questions and respondents.

2.8 In response to the final question (Q.22), which related to potential impacts, some of the comments received were directly related to earlier questions. This analysis took into account that certain comments provided at Q.22 should be associated with their relevant question to provide greater context. Two third sector organisations provided responses by letter, the content was transferred to formulate their answer to Q.22.

Structure of report

2.9 As the consultation was broken down into the six distinct areas, this report of the analysis of responses follows the same structure as the consultation document.


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