Scottish Government
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Parole Board annual report

The Parole Board for Scotland Annual Report 2006 was published yesterday, showing that out of the 754 determinate sentence prisoners whose cases were referred to the Board 283 were recommended for release on parole.

This compares with 363 out of 764 in 2005.

The cases of 829 determinate sentence prisoners were referred to the Board - the highest number ever.

The number of life sentence prisoners released on licence for the first time was 22 exactly the same number as for 2005.

There was a significant increase in the number of determinate sentence prisoners who opted out of consideration by the Board - 75 cases compared with 49 in 2005.

Chairman of the Board Professor Sandy Cameron CBE said:

"Looking back over 2006 - my first full year as Chairman of the Board - we saw a caseload that continued to grow and continuing pressure on the time of all Board members.

"We take our statutory functions extremely seriously and I want to acknowledge the commitment of all members of the Board to upholding the best possible standards in all aspects of our work. We are dealing with matters of public safety and the management of risk and will never be complacent about the seriousness and importance of our work."

"The Parole Board is a key part of the criminal justice system in Scotland and I want to ensure that we do all we can to ensure that the Board adopts the highest possible standards of corporate governance and best practice appropriate to the unique nature of our work.

"During 2006 a small group of members met during this year under my chairmanship to review a sample of our cases to give internal assurance as to the defensibility of our decision making processes. It is my intention in the light of this very positive experience to establish an internal review system which will operate as a matter of routine. The decisions we take and our subsequent recommendations to Scottish Ministers are crucial to the safety of our wider communities and it is therefore important that the Board keeps itself at the forefront of practice developments in respect of risk assessment and risk management and I look forward to reporting progress on these matters in our 2007 Report."

The Parole Board takes decisions on the release of life sentence prisoners and on the timing of the release on parole of determinate sentence prisoners serving sentences of four years or more.

Prisoners sentenced to four years imprisonment or more on or after October 1, 1993 are automatically released from custody when they have served two-thirds of the sentence.

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