Parole hearings to be held in public to ‘remove the secrecy of the process’

Parole hearings assess whether offenders are fit for release (Picture: Getty)

Brits will be able to ask for a parole hearing to be held in public from next month.

From July 21, anyone will be able to apply, with the Parole Board having the final say on whether a hearing should be public.

A statutory instrument is being laid on Thursday ahead of it becoming law next month.

The Parole Board will consider the welfare and interest of victims and reach a conclusion based on the interests of justice.

The move is designed to pave the way for the parole system to be opened up to all victims and remove the secrecy surrounding the process.

Parole hearings assess whether offenders, such as those serving life sentences, are fit for release.

They’re typically held in private and often inside prisons with victims and observers such as reporters given limited access in rare circumstances.

Victims can currently ask to read a statement in person but are not allowed to hear the rest of the evidence.

Parole hearings to be held in public to 'remove the secrecy of the process'
The deputy prime minister Dominic Raab will make a decision on the most serious offenders (Picture: Getty Images)

The government previously said victims would be given the right to attend parole hearings in full for the first time after the Conservative Party pledged the change in its 2019 manifesto.

Recommendations for release or relocation to an open prison for the most serious offenders – including murderers, rapists, terrorists and those who have caused or allowed the death of a child – will now be made by deputy prime minister Dominic Raab before a final decision is made by the Parole Board.

Mr Raab will take expert advice ahead of his decisions.

‘This is the first step in our reforms to the parole process,’ he said.

‘We are making proceedings more transparent, so victims and the public can see justice being done,’ he said.

‘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 priority.’

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected].

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