The Justice Secretary has issued a new legal test to determine whether or not offenders can be transferred to open prison conditions.
Defence solicitors – England and Wales
If you have been accused of a criminal offence, please contact us at Ashmans Solicitors. We can represent you throughout proceedings. We are available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Suitability for open conditions test
Open prisons have less security than closed prisons. They are often seen as a last step before the offender is released back into the community at the end of their sentence.
The Parole Board is responsible for deciding whether an offender should be transferred to an open prison. Now, the Justice Secretary has issued a statutory direction to the Parole Board that will impact the decision-making process going forward. This is all part of a wider reform of the parole system.
More specifically, the Parole Board must only recommend a transfer to open prison conditions if:
- The prisoner is assessed as low risk of absconding; and
- A period in open conditions is considered essential to inform future decisions about release and to prepare for possible release on licence into the community; and
- A transfer to open conditions would not undermine public confidence in the Criminal Justice System
The Parole Board must only recommend a move to open conditions where it is satisfied that all three criteria apply. This is a tougher test than previously.
Can the decision be challenged?
The government can challenge decisions made by the Parole Board in the court. Occasionally, it does win such challenges. Most recently, the Justice Secretary barred the transfer of an offender convicted of murder.
Can offenders convicted of terror offences be considered?
Prisoners serving a sentence for a specified terror offence, or a terror connected offence, can only be considered for open conditions where exceptional circumstances apply. If these do apply, then the prisoner can be recommended for an open prison transfer, but the three-stage test outlined above must be met first.
Can foreign national prisoners be considered?
A foreign national prisoner who is liable for deportation – but who has not yet exhausted all their appeal rights – may be considered for a transfer to open conditions. Again, the three-stage test must be met first. However, a foreign national prisoner who has been served a deportation order and who has exhausted all their appeal rights is not eligible.
solicitors – England and Wales
If you have been accused of a criminal offence in England or Wales, please contact us at Ashmans Solicitors. We specialise in criminal defence law and can represent you throughout proceedings.
Call us on 0333 009 6275. We are available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.