The UK Rules
Leaving Prison

Getting Released from Prison

Find out how prisoners get released from jail and the process of leaving prison or legal custody. There is extra information about resettlement schemes and getting a temporary release on licence.

LEAVING PRISON UK: What happens when a prisoner can leave prison or legal custody?

As a rule, the time when a prisoner gets released depends most on:

Prisoners with a Fixed Term Sentence (determinate)

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 12 months or longer. There is no need for a Parole Board to get involved when this occurs.

What happens when a Parole Board reviews a case?

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:

Prisoners with a Non Fixed Term (indeterminate) or Life Sentence

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.

How to get Temporary Release from Prison

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 any prisoners if it think they are a risk to the public or may commit further crime.

Prison Resettlement Day Releases

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.

Prison Resettlement Overnight Release

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.

Childcare Resettlement Licence

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.

Getting Help Before Leaving Prison

In the United Kingdom all prisoners will get help to prepare for life after leaving prison. They will get advice during the last 12 weeks of their prison sentence. The advice and support helps them:

  1. Find somewhere to live.
  2. Search for and secure a job.
  3. How to take care of their finances.

Some prisoners will also get additional specialist support if they:

As a rule of leaving prison, most will spend the last few months of their sentence at a prison close to where they plan to live.

Support When Someone Leaves Prison

As a rule, entitlement to benefit ceases for those 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:

Some organisations provide support for families' of prisoners and for people leaving prison. They include Nacro and the Prison Reform Trust.

National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders
46 Loman Street, London SE1 0EH
Telephone: 0300 123 1999

Leaving Prison: Process for Getting Released from Jail in the United Kingdom