News In Focus
Parole Board releases 2005 annual report
A high number of prisoners released on parole are recalled to custody, according to the 2005 Parole Board Annual Report published today.
Figures for the last year show 363 prisoners were recommended for parole, compared to 311 in 2004.
Key findings include:
- 813 cases were considered by the board in 2005, up from 703 in 2004;
- the number of prisoners being released on parole has increased to 363 in 2005, compared to 311 in 2004;
- the number of life prisoners released on licence for the first time was 22 compared to 28 in 2004;
- fewer prisoners opted out of consideration than last year with 49 in this category in 2005 compared to 67 in 2004.
In 2005, 49 prisoners were recalled to custody, with 24 not re-released, compared to 50 and 26 in 2004, and 20 and 7 in 1998.
The Parole Board's chairman Professor Sandy Cameron said: "In my predecessor's [Professor James McManus] last report he drew attention to the high number of prisoners recalled to custody. That continues to be a concern this year. It is a matter which, along with other members of the board, I wish to consider in more detail.
"It is also worthy of note that there was a 14% increase in those granted parole, but this was in the context of a 15% increase in the number of cases considered by the board. This provides some context for what could be seen as an increase, but is in fact a small, proportionate decrease.
"The year ahead will see significant changes in the criminal justice system which will impact on the work of the board. Not least amongst these will be the implementation of changes arising from the recommendations of the Sentencing Commission.
"Establishing effective working relationships with the new Community Justice Authorities will be a priority for me. Similarly the Risk Management Authority is a body with which the board will have a significant working relationship and I look forward to developing that.
"The volume of business which the board deals with continues to expand, as is demonstrated in this report. The board must therefore ensure that it is using all modern methods to enable it to continue to meet its targets and to ensure the effectiveness of its decision making in ensuring public safety."
The report can be viewed on the Parole Board website at www.scottishparoleboard.gov.uk .