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Parole hearings to be heard in public for the first time

Law changes made today will mean that victims, members of the public and the media will be able to ask for a parole hearing to be heard in public.

The parole board will have the final say - with decisions due to take into account factors including the welfare of the victims. 

The statutory instrument is being laid today which will mean the measure comes into effect from July 21. 

The move comes following calls for greater transparency after the decision to release black cab rapist John Worboys in 2018 which was later overturned.

It is one of a range of legislative changes which were originally announced in March. As part of the reforms, the Deputy Prime Minister will also get extra powers to challenge parole board decisions including once new violent behaviour comes to light. 

Recommendations for release or moves to open prison for the most serious offenders will also now be made by the Deputy Prime Minsiter before going to the Parole Board for a final decision. 

The Director of the Prison Reform Trust has since asked for clarity on this latest move. 

These changes are due to be bolstered by further reforms which will include a tougher Parole Board release test and powers to scrutisinse and block the release of the most dangerous offenders. 

Deputy Prime Minister, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Dominic Raab MP, said: “This is the first step in our reforms to the parole process. We are making proceedings more transparent, so victims and the public can see justice being done. I am also making sure there is one, crystal clear, recommendation from the Justice Secretary when it comes to the risk of release of the most serious offenders. 

“We are overhauling the system, to make sure public protection is the overriding the priority.”


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