First Parole Board review

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					PSO : 4700                                                         Chapter 5,                   Page 1


5.1     First Parole Board Review

5.1.1   Timing of first review

The purpose of the first Parole Board review is to consider the prisoner’s suitability for transfer to
open conditions. The first review is considered on the papers only. It will normally begin around
three years before the tariff expires in cases where the tariff is set for six years or over. However,
where a lifer has progressed to a Second Stage Category C conditions four and a half years before
tariff expiry, the first review will begin three and a half years before tariff expiry. Lifer Managers
must provide the relevant caseworker in LRRS with details of any lifers who appear to qualify for
such an early review. This should normally be done soon after the prisoner’s arrival in Second
Stage Category C conditions. LRRS staff will then write to the Lifer Manager and the individual
prisoner to confirm eligibility and to advise of the revised date of the first review.

5.1.2   Short tariff review cases

5.1.3   The date of the first review is set by LRRS caseworkers on the basis of tariff length and
        progress in custody. As a general rule, a pre-tariff expiry Parole Board review on the
        papers will not be feasible if the tariff is less than 3 years. In such cases the prisoner is
        entitled to have a first review shortly before tariff expiry to consider suitability for release on
        the expiry date. In cases where the tariff is between 3 and 6 years the first review will begin
        on the papers at the halfway point. The first review date will be notified to the prisoner by
        LRRS (copied to the Home Probation officer) as soon as possible after sentencing. The
        first review date is the date on which the complete dossier is disclosed to the prisoner. The
        Lifer Manager must set up systems to remind staff at the prison when reports need to be

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5.1.4   Deferral following escape or abscond

5.1.5   The review date is calculated on the basis of time spent in custody. If a lifer escapes, then
        the date of his or her first review will normally be put back by the period of time the prisoner
        was unlawfully at large. The Governor must report any such incident to LRRS as soon as it
        occurs. LRRS will decide whether the first review date should be put back. Each case will
        be considered on its own individual merits.

5.1.6   Further custodial sentences

5.1.7   The first review date can also be changed if the lifer receives a further custodial sentence.
Lifer Managers must refer details of any further sentences to the relevant caseworker in LRRS for
advice on whether the date of the first review needs to be changed.

5.2     Deferral of reviews

5.2.1   Deferral requests are usually made to allow prisoners the time to complete offending
        behaviour courses and reduce risk prior to the Parole Board considering the case. The
        view of the Lifer Manager must be provided in writing with any deferral request. Requests
        should be sent to the appropriate caseworker in LRRS.

Parole Board Review Procedures

The stages in the first formal paper based Parole Board review for lifers are shown in the following
timetable: -

 1      PRELIMINARY          LRRS discloses skeleton dossier to arrive 15 working days prior to
        STAGES OF PRE-         start of review proper.
        TARIFF REVIEW        prison to add complete set of LSP reports to skeleton dossier and

 2      WEEK REVIEW         Complete dossier disclosed to prisoner.       Prisoner has 28 days to
        STARTS 0            make representations.

 3      WEEK 4              Deadline for receipt of prisoner’s representations.

 4      WEEK 5              Prison sends full dossier (including prisoner’s representations) to
                            Parole Board (copied to LRRS).

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 5    WEEK 10            Parole Board considers case.

 6    WEEK 11            Parole Board notifies LRRS of panel decision.

 7    WEEK 12            LRRS notifies prisoner of further review in closed conditions, also
                         known as (“knockback”) decision.

 8    WEEK 18            LRRS notifies prisoner of acceptance of Parole Board’s
                         recommendation for transfer to open conditions.
                         NB: Senior Managers in LRRS must consider Parole Board
                         recommendation for open conditions and the prisonershould be
                         notified of the outcome within 7 weeks of LRRS receiving notification
                         of the Parole Board recommendation.

 9    WEEK 22            LRRS notifies prisoner of rejection of Board’s recommendation for
                         transfer to open conditions.
                         NB: Ministerial approval is required for any decision to reject a
                         recommendation for open conditions.
                         The prisoner should be notified of such decisions within 11 weeks of
                         receipt of the Parole Board’s recommendation.

5.4   Further details of the First Parole Board Review Process

            the start date of the review is the date the dossier should be disclosed to the
             prisoner i.e. Week 0).
            The Lifer Manager is responsible for obtaining all the necessary reports for the
             review and for ensuring that a full set is available for disclosure with the skeleton
             dossier by the start date.

      The following core LSP3E reports must be provided in every case: -
            Lifer Manager
            Wing/Unit Manager
            Personal Officer
            Seconded Probation Officer
            Home Probation officer
            General Practitioner within prison
            Activity Supervisor

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      Reports should also be submitted by any other member of staff who has contact with, or
      special knowledge of, the prisoner e.g. Chaplain/Minister of Religion, Specialist Staff etc. A
      report from Chartered Forensic psychologist (or trainee Forensic Psychologist supervised
      by Chartered Forensic Psychologist) will only be required if there has been substantive
      psychological input into the case. Psychiatric reports are only required when there are
      mental health issues on which to report.

      The following documents should also be made available: -

                Life Sentence Plan (LSP2B, 2F, 3C and 3D)

                OASys Assessment (if available).

      In cases where a core report writer has had little or no contact with the prisoner a note to
      this effect must be included in the dossier explaining why no report has been provided. The
      Lifer Manager must sign this note.

      LRRS must prepare, number and send a skeleton dossier containing the information below,
      to arrive at the prison no later than 15 days before the dossier disclosure date. The
      skeleton dossier for pre-tariff expiry reviews must include:

                Index sheet.

                The note formally referring the case to the Parole Board for consideration.

                The pro-forma case summary containing basic details of the case including the
                 period of time the prisoner has served in custody, his or her current location, the
                 dates of remand, sentence and the length of tariff, and brief details of the index

                Offence-related papers including the summary of offence, the pre/post trial sentence
                 reports, previous convictions and any other relevant papers.

                A list of the previous establishments where the prisoner has been held during this
                 sentence with relevant transfer dates and reasons.

                A summary of reports of progress in prison.

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                Reports from any offending behaviour work undertaken.

                List of adjudications since sentencing.

                A copy of the Life Sentence Plan (LSP 2B, 2F, 3C and 3D) if available (to be added
                 by the holding prison if not included by LRRS).

                A review monitoring sheet will be enclosed with a copy of the skeleton dossier which
                 should be completed and returned to LRRS with a copy of the full dossier.

      The prison must add a full set of reports, any missing LSP documentation (i.e. LSP2B, 2F,
      3C and 3D) and any appropriate OASys reports to the skeleton dossier and continue the
      numbering of the dossier in chronological order. The full dossier must then be disclosed to
      the prisoner on the first day of the month of the review, having been checked by the Lifer
      Manager (or other nominated person). It is good practice for the Lifer Manager or other
      nominated person to disclose the dossier to the prisoner personally.

      The dossier must not be disclosed to the prisoner until a full set of reports has been
      attached and all matters relating to the non-disclosure of material have been addressed
      (see 5.9).

                If the prisoner’s solicitor requests a copy of the dossier this should be provided.
                 Establishments may charge a fee to cover administrative costs in line with current
                 Prison Service Policy (Finance PSO 7500 – Chapter 17.11 – charging for supplying

                The prisoner must be given 28 days from the date of disclosure to make any
                 representations (or sign a disclaimer). It must be made clear to the prisoner that if
                 the prison receives no representations or a disclaimer within the 28 day period, it
                 will be assumed that they do not wish to make any representations and the review
                 will proceed on that basis. If the prisoner does not wish to make representations
                 and refuses to sign a disclaimer the Lifer Manager must include a note to this effect
                 in the dossier.

                Lifer Managers must ensure that cases where an extension for representations has
                 been agreed are properly monitored and followed up.

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             The prison must add the prisoner’s representations to the full dossier and complete
              the numbering of the dossier before sending one copy of the dossier to the Parole
              Board Secretariat and one to LRRS – the review monitoring sheet should also be
              returned to LRRS. (One copy of the full dossier must be kept on file). All copies of
              the dossier disclosed by the prison must be identical.

            The Lifer Manager (or other nominated person) must check the full dossier before it is
             sent to the Parole Board Secretariat. It is essential that all sections of the dossier are
             legible, correctly dated and numbered.

       Unless the prisoner has asked for an extension of time to make representations, the Lifer
       Manager must send the full dossier to the Parole Board Secretariat by the end of week 5 of
       the timetable. The Secretariat will then set a date for the case to be considered on the
       papers by a panel of the Parole Board.

       The Parole Board Secretariat will not normally accept a review dossier for consideration
       unless it contains the following: -

            referral note to the Board
            summary of offence
            summary progress in prison
            full set of reports (or explanation of why a report is not being supplied)
            prisoner’s representations (or a signed disclaimer and a note from the Lifer Manager
             when a prisoner refuses to sign a disclaimer).

       The Secretariat will return any incomplete or otherwise defective dossiers to the Lifer
       Manager for appropriate remedial action to be taken, and must inform LRRS when this

       The Parole Board will consider the case, and make a written recommendation to LRRS
       within 11 weeks of the start date of review.

5.5    The Parole Board recommendation

The panel may recommend either that the lifer should: -

             remain in closed conditions; or

             transfer to open conditions.

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LRRS will consider the Board’s recommendation and notify the prison and prisoner of the outcome
of the review. When a move to open conditions is recommended, LRRS senior managers will
decide (under delegated authority from Ministers), whether the recommendation may be accepted.
LRRS will, however, refer any case to the Minister where it is appropriate to do so, including the
proposed rejection of the Parole Board recommendation.

The Parole Board panel is not empowered to make recommendations about: -

              the security classification of the closed prison in which the prisoner will be detained,

              any specific treatment needs or offending behaviour work required, or

              the date of the next review.

5.6     Recommendations to remain in closed conditions

5.6.1   LRRS will consider a recommendation to remain in closed conditions, (known colloquially
        as a “knockback”) and will formally notify the prisoner of the reasons, and the date of the
        next review. This will normally take place shortly before tariff expiry and will be conducted
        under the provisions of the Parole Board Rules 2004 (copy at Appendix 1 to this Manual).
        LRRS staff will notify the Home Probation officer of the outcome of the review.

5.6.2   Where the Parole Board do not recommend open conditions at the first review, an earlier
        second review on the papers, i.e. well before tariff expiry, may be appropriate in some
        cases. This will arise where sufficient time is available to both further review the lifer’s
        progress and allow for a period of meaningful testing in open conditions prior to the review
        at the tariff expiry point under the above Rules.

5.6.3   Local management should bring any such cases to the attention of the appropriate
        caseworker in LRRS who will decide whether to advance the date of the next review. It is
        important to note that lifers do not have an automatic right to an earlier review and each
        case is considered on its own individual merits. However, there must be sufficient time for
        the additional paper review to be concluded before the start of the pre-tariff review.

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5.7     Move to open conditions

5.7.1   Lifers can normally only be transferred from closed to open conditions when a positive
        Parole Board recommendation has been accepted by senior managers in LRRS on behalf
        of the Secretary of State. The process is as follows: -

        The Parole Board will consider the lifer’s dossier including current LSP 3E progress reports
        and a summary of all previous LSP 3E reports and recommend transfer to open conditions;

        LRRS staff will consider and having decided to accept or reject the Board’s
        recommendation, taking into account the Home Secretary’s Directions to the Parole Board
        (see Appendix 2 to this Manual), will notify the holding prison in writing of the reasons for
        the decision;

The Lifer Manager must then arrange for the prisoner to be informed of: -

The Parole Board’s recommendation and reasons, including their advice on any outstanding risk
factors which need to be addressed. The prisoner will also be notified of the next review date,
which will normally take place shortly before tariff expiry.

The Secretary of State’s decision and reasons for accepting or rejecting the Parole Board

5.7.3   Staff in the holding prison will arrange a suitable allocation with an appropriate open prison
        (or another closed prison in rejection cases if appropriate) and will e-mail a
        recommendation to Population Management Section (PMS), using the appropriate inter-
        prison escort booking form. PMS will then arrange the transfer.

5.8     Access to Parole Board dossiers

5.8.1   The Lifer Manager must: -

              ensure that every dossier is stored securely with controlled access;

              provide the prisoner with a copy of the full dossier and access to it as frequently as
               facilities and resources allow;

            make a copy of the dossier available to the prisoner’s representative on request

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5.8.2        In deciding what access facilities to provide, the Lifer Manager should bear in mind
             the possible effect on the prisoner and the establishment should the contents of the
             dossier become more widely known. Particular care should be taken with dossiers
             containing vivid accounts of the offence or those relating to sex offences.           Lifer
             Managers may decide it is appropriate for the prisoner to be allowed access to the
             dossier only at times when he or she is locked in their cell, for example at lunchtime or

5.8.3   To avoid being put under pressure by other prisoners to reveal the contents of their dossier,
        lifers may also request that their dossiers be kept out of their possession. In these cases
        Lifer Managers should arrange for the dossier to be retained by staff in a secure place.

5.9     Withholding Documents

5.9.1   The process for withholding documents from a life sentence prisoner is set out in paragraph
        6 of the Parole Board Rules. Although the Parole Board Rules do not apply to first Parole
        Board reviews on the papers, the same principles apply and the Chair of the Panel will still
        be able to give a ruling on whether or not documents should be withheld

5.9.2   Rule 6(2) provides for any part of the information or reports for the review to be withheld
        from the prisoner on the grounds that its disclosure would adversely affect: -

              national security, or

              the prevention of disorder or crime, or

              the health or welfare of the prisoner or others.

5.9.3   While the Lifer Manager is responsible for serving such documents on the Parole Board in
        all lifer cases, it is strongly advised that LRRS staff are consulted in all matters
        relating to the withholding of parole review documents.

5.9.4   The Lifer Manager should firstly consider whether certain information actually needs to be
        considered by the Parole Board, and if it does, whether it should be withheld from the
        prisoner or be re-written in a disclosable form. If, after discussion with LRRS staff, the Lifer
        Manager concludes that information should be withheld from a prisoner, the documents in
        question must not be included in any copies of the dossier disclosed to all parties at Week
        0. Instead, the Lifer Manager should send copies of the withheld material to the Parole

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      Board separately, with a covering note seeking a decision on whether the material may be
      considered by the panel but withheld from the prisoner. Full reasons must be given by the
      Lifer Manager for withholding the material in question.

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5.9.5   It is for the Chair of the panel to decide whether the material should be withheld from the
        prisoner, and if so, whether it should be disclosed to the prisoner’s legal representative.
        The Lifer Manager must act on any decision made by the Chair of the Panel. For example,
        if it is decided that the information should be withheld only from the prisoner, the Lifer
        Manager must inform the prisoner of this and must disclose the relevant papers to the
        prisoner’s legal representative and LRRS with a letter referring them to the non-disclosure
        direction. If, exceptionally, it is thought that the information may have to be withheld from
        both the prisoner and the legal representative, the Lifer Manager seek further advice from

5.9.6   If the panel Chair decides that the information should not be withheld from the prisoner, the
        Lifer Manager must seek advice from LRRS to decide whether to withdraw that information
        from the review.

Issue Number 260                                                                Issued 15/05/ 2006

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