This guide explains how and when prisoners get released from jail and how UK law applies to people who will be leaving prison or legal custody.
There is additional information about certain types of resettlement schemes with details on getting a temporary release on licence.
What happens when a prisoner has met the release criteria and they are eligible to leave the prison or legal custody?
As a rule, the time when a prisoner gets released depends most on:
Quite often, prisoners serving determinate sentences get released by automatic process. Much of the time the release happens around the middle of their sentence.
Prisoners usually leave prison on probation if their sentence is twelve (12) months or longer. There is no need for a Parole Board to get involved when this occurs.
Some prisoners who get detained in legal custody can apply for parole. The parole process is for those with an extended sentence, or a fixed-term sentence for:
There is no need for prisoners with a life sentence or an indeterminate sentence to ask for parole. In these cases, the government will apply for parole on their behalf.
Those who get detained in legal custody can leave prison for short periods at the end of their sentence. Leaving prison towards the end can happen no matter whatever type or length of sentence.
Note: Prisons do not release prisoners if they could be a risk to the members of the public or they may commit further crimes.
A prison resettlement day release allows prisoners to leave custody during the daytime. This means they could go on a training course to help them look for work after they get released.
A prison resettlement overnight release allows them to spend a night out of jail. As a rule they must stay at the place where they will live after leaving prison.
The childcare resettlement licence is a special release concession for some prisoners. It allows them to spend some private time with their child or children.
But, prisoners can only apply for this if they will be the only carer for the child after their prison sentence.
In the United Kingdom, all prisoners get help to prepare for life after leaving prison. They will get advice during the last twelve weeks of their prison sentence.
Thus, the advice and support will help them to:
Some prisoners will also get additional specialist support if they have:
One of the general rules of leaving prison in the United Kingdom allows released prisoners to spend the last few months of their sentence at a prison close to where they plan on living.
As a rule, entitlement to welfare benefits will cease for people imprisoned or detained in legal custody. You can ask by letter for any due arrears to get paid to someone else for you. You can also choose to have money paid into your own account.
But, persons leaving prison may qualify for financial support which includes:
National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders
Telephone: 0300 123 1889
16-17 Devonshire Square
Note: Having been approved for early release on electronic tag, the video documents how life changes for people who are 'fresh out of prison'.
Prisoner Release Process Explained for United Kingdom