What is Parole UK? The original meaning of the word parole was 'word of honour'. The parole system in England and Wales refers to the provisional release of a prisoner from prison.
PAROLE UK: The Parole Board can release prisoners on licence even while a sentence is still ongoing.
In most cases the parole will be a 'conditional' release. That means the Parole Board can recall the prisoner back to prison during the sentence.
Recalling a prisoner back to prison happens most if licence conditions get broken or they commit another offence.
This guide explains about the parole system and getting parole in the United Kingdom.
Find out who can get parole for determinate and indeterminate sentences. There is further advice and information for representing yourself at a hearing. In some cases you may choose to challenge a Parole Board decision.
Those who get imprisoned may be eligible for parole. That means they could leave prison early or get released from custody.
Note: The rules for parole conditions differ in Northern Ireland and in Scotland. Follow different rules to apply for parole if you are a young offender.
What happens after you apply for parole and get released? The UK parole system keeps released prisoners under strict supervision. This situation is usually called being on probation or 'on licence'.
Some prisoners might get transferred to an open prison instead. This is sometimes known as 'open conditions'. As a rule, open conditions have less security than closed prisons. In general, that means you will not get locked up in a cell.
Note: If your case fails to meet the parole conditions the Parole Board will review it again within 2 years.
There are two situations whereby you can apply for parole. If you have either:
Note: Your sentence must be for at least 4 years to apply for parole.
Prisoners can apply for fixed-term parole up to 6 months before their earliest release date. The prison offender supervisor can provide further information on your parole eligibility date.
Fill in a parole application form from the prison and hand it back to the supervisor. They will then create a file based on:
You can check to see if your file is correct and you can add extra evidence with your own opinions.
Note: This part of the parole system can take up to 6 months. You will get a letter with their decision and their reasons for it. In some cases you can make a challenge against the decision.
Tariff refers to the minimum length of time you got ordered to stay in prison. The judge should have informed you the length of your tariff when you got sentenced.
Note: You may need to represent yourself at the hearing unless you can apply for legal aid or get a solicitor.
Note: As a rule it takes up to 6 months to get a decision about your particular parole case.
The Parole Board may set up a hearing to help them make a decision. As a rule you will get a hearing if:
Several members of a panel (usually three) will decide whether to release you. They base their decision on the file documents that the prison created. Your prison file includes information such as:
As a rule you must attend your own Parole Board hearing. But, there could also be other people attending such as:
The Parole Board write to you with their decision after the hearing. Their full decision will is usually kept private. In some cases you may be able to challenge the Parole Board hearing decision.
In some cases you can get legal aid for your parole review. As a rule it applies to those who get considered for release from a life sentence. But, you will not get legal aid if you are serving a life sentence and getting considered for:
The Offender Management Unit at the prison can give you the contact details of the case manager who is handling your case. You can also get help from the Prisoners Advice Service, the Howard League, and the Prison Reform Trust.
Contact the Parole Board for further advice. You can also get help and support for family and friends of prisoners.
Parole Board UK
Telephone: 0203 880 0885
Check call charges in the United Kingdom.
In fact prisoners cannot appeal against a Parole Board decision. But in some cases they can apply for a judicial review. Your solicitor can apply for a judicial review if:
Note: Check to see if you can get legal aid to help cover some of the costs of challenging a Parole Board decision.
The Parole System: Getting Parole in the United Kingdom