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PSI2011-037 Transfer to the Parole Board of functions under the Criminal Justice Act 1991 - Release of long-term prisoners

Issue Date: 6 May 2011

Effective Date: 20 May 2011

Expiry Date: 5 May 2015

This instruction amends PSO 6000 ‘Parole, Release and Recall’.

This PSI updates PSO 6000 following changes to the release provisions for prisoners sentenced to 15 years or more who are subject to the Criminal Justice Act 1991.

Section 145 of the C&JA 2009 came into force on 2 August 2010. The Secretary of State no longer has the power to make parole release decisions in respect of 1991 Act prisoners serving 15 years or more. A Parole Board recommendation to release will be binding, as it is already for other categories of prisoner who are subject to the parole process, and 15-year-plus cases will, therefore, no longer be referred to Ministers for a decision.

As a result of these changes, the release decision for 1991 Act 15-year-plus cases will be sent to the prison directly from the Parole Board and not via Public Protection Casework Section (PPCS).

The provisions also make some changes to the setting of licence conditions for those prisoners who are not awarded parole and are automatically released at their Non-Parole Date (NPD). As with other prisoners who are entitled to automatic release by the Secretary of State, responsibility for the licence conditions when release is at the NPD is now for Prison Governors / Controllers on behalf of the Secretary of State. Therefore, the Parole Board no longer has to approve licence conditions for NPD releases (subject to the Transitional Arrangements).

The Parole Board will remain responsible for setting, varying or cancelling licence conditions for those 1991 Act prisoners serving 4 years or more where the Board grant release on parole on or after the half-way point of sentence (PED) but before the NPD at the two-thirds point of the sentence.

These changes have been brought about as a result of the introduction of section 145 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 (C&JA 2009). These provisions also affect the setting of licence conditions for prisoners sentenced to 4 years or more who are subject to the Criminal Justice Act 1991 (other than those whose sentences were subject to ‘conversion’) and this PSI explains these changes too.

The PSI contains many worked through examples and explanations as well as sample licence conditions. Any prisoner who is subject to Section 145 of the C&JA 2009 should read through this PSI in the prison library.

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