Anyone serving an indeterminate sentence, will receive a tariff. This is the date at which they can apply to be considered either for a move to open conditions or release, therefore if they are not initially successful, they are able to be reviewed every 12-18 months thereafter until such time as they are released.

A prisoner will receive notification approximately 6 months prior to any review commencing. At this time, they are entitled to instruct a solicitor to represent them during this review. Initially a dossier of papers will be compiled, once this is complete the prisoner has the right to respond to the reports. This is where a solicitor will prepare representations on their behalf which will be added to the dossier.

Once this is done the dossier goes to a single member of the Parole Board who will consider the papers. They have the following options available to them;

  • Direction to release on the papers (a date and place of release will be specified)
  • Recommendation to the Ministry of Justice that the prisoner can be moved to an open prison (the final decision on whether this occurs is out of the Parole Board hands)
  • Deferral for further information (this is to be provided within a set time laid out in directions from the member)
  • Oral Hearing
  • Refusal on the papers (case will be reviewed again in 12-18 months)

All decisions are set out in a letter which explains the reasoning for the decision and what is needed to progress the matter further.