Stages of the Parole Process

Appointment of a Commissioner

A Parole Commissioner will be appointed to consider the prisoner's case.

Notice of referral

The Commissioners’ office will write to the prisoner to let them know that his/her case has been referred to them by the ORU. That letter, known as the ‘Notice of Referral’, will list the dates by which certain things need to be done by the prisoner and/or their representative so that the case can proceed. It is very important that the prisoner and his/her representative keep a note of these dates and that the prisoner is clear about what they have to do. He/she will receive a copy of a direction from the Commissioner along with a Notice of Referral which will say how the prisoner's case will be dealt with.

Decision of the Commissioner

The Commissioner will either:

Direct the prisoner's release

The prisoner's release will be directed if the Commissioner is satisfied that the risk of harm he/she would pose if they were to be released would be minimal. The direction will be the final decision of the Commissioners and it will not be necessary for the case to be considered further. The Commissioner will recommend any licence condition(s) thought necessary to enable the risk the prisoner poses to be managed safely in the community. The ORU will be informed of the direction and arrangements will be made for the prisoner's release on licence.

Or: decide that the prisoner is not to be released

If the Commissioner decides that the prisoner is not to be released, the decision of the Commissioner will be the final decision of the Commissioners and the prisoner will not be entitled to have their case considered further by the Commissioners unless the Commissioner dealing with the case so decides.

The decision of the Commissioner may also include either a recommended date for the prisoner's release on licence or a date for the next review of the case and may include a recommendation that he/she completes offence focussed work to reduce his/her risk.