Early release of hundreds of high-risk offenders condemned

Sunday 8 May 2011 at 8:54 am | In News | Post Comment
Parliament to consider early release of prisoners
This week a parliamentary bill drafted by the probation officers’ union will be debated for the first time by MPs. Under its proposals, prisoners serving determinate sentences of more than two years would have to prove to the parole board that they pose a low risk.

At the moment hundreds of dangerous offenders, including those assessed as likely killers, are being released into society under a scheme condemned by the probation service as “scandalous”.

During a two-week period last month more than 30 prisoners considered to pose a high or very high risk to the public were released or were about to be released. The findings have raised questions over the public safety of the law that stipulates that all offenders sentenced to a determinate period in prison are automatically released once half of their sentence is completed, regardless of their circumstances.

The Criminal Justice Act 2003 introduced a range of new penalties (such as Custody Plus and Custody Minus) and changes in sentences (such as automatic half-way release for non-dangerous offenders with a custodial sentence of 4 years or more).

Reconviction rates

  • Community rehabilitation order: 62.6%
  • Drug treatment and testing order: 88.9%
  • Community punishment order: 38.9%
  • Community punishment and rehabilitation order: 54.4%
  • Prison: 67.4%

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