Every person released from prison having served a sentence of 12 months or over will be subject to a period of licence. This means you are subject to a set of conditions which must be abided with otherwise the persons licence is revoked and they are returned to prison.

For how long a person remains in prison is based upon of the type of sentence they received. For those on determinate sentences it could be until their sentence end date (this is no more than ½ the sentence received from the Court) or as little as a set 28-day return. For those on indeterminate sentences they are serving an indefinite period in custody until such time as the Parole Board determines the risk has become manageable in the community.

Once recalled the prisoner is in the system and must go through the steps to release even if the initial reason for the recall no longer exists ( for example recalled due to alleged no offences, for which there ends up being no charge, or being found not guilty by the police)

The Parole Board are meant to conduct an automatic review of your recall to custody within a reasonable timeframe, however it is only referred to the Parole Board after a report from Probation (PART B) is provided and this is expected within 28 days of a recall being initiated. This report should consider whether the recall was justified and, if it was, whether the ongoing risk can be managed in the community.

A prisoner is entitled to submit written representations to the Parole Board explaining the circumstances of the recall and setting out their case for re-release.  A deadline will be given for those representations and if not met your side may not be considered. Therefore, it is always important to instruct a solicitor within 2 weeks of a return to custody.

At the time of writing there is a significant backlog at the Parole Board, in normal circumstances a decision would be expected 4 weeks after the case is referred to them, however at present time of writing (June 2023) this timeframe is in excess of 10 weeks. Once again, the Parole Board consider the case on the papers and have a number of options available to them;

Firstly, to direct release at a specified date just on the papers alone.

Secondly, they can make no direction for release. If this is the case, then a prisoner is only legally entitled to annual reviews, (in some cases where the sentence expires in less than 12 months then that is the end of the case).

Finally, they can order an oral hearing, which will take place anytime up to 9 months from the decision.