The Parole Board today published its Business Plan for 2009/10, setting out its aims, objectives, targets and projected workloads for the coming 12 months. The Plan details how the Board will manage the changing nature of its work as it faces an increased workload and a consultation over the future of the Board itself.
Changes in legislation have led to a significant fall in the number of determinate sentence cases considered by the Board, with further reductions also projected for next year taking the total for DCR/EPP cases from 3,917 in 2008/09 to 2,050 in 2009/10. The number of determinate sentence recalls referred to the Board and considered on paper has also fallen and is projected to fall still further from 17,184 in 2008/09 to 13,088 in 2009/10.
However, most other areas of work are likely to increase with legislative changes and judicial review decisions leading to an ever increasing number of indeterminate sentence cases and those that have to be dealt with by oral hearings. The number of indeterminate IPP sentences dealt with by oral hearing is projected to increase from 704 in 2008/09 to 2,162 in 2009/10. The number of lifer oral hearing reviews is also projected to increase from 1,382 to 2,002.
Sir David Latham, Chairman of the Parole Board, said:
“Many challenges lie ahead of us during the next year. Not least of which is the significant lack of judicial resources available to the Board. This shortage of judge time severely limits the number of oral hearings cases that we can handle and addressing the issue will be one of my top priorities.
“The organisation and constitutional independence of the Parole Board needs to be at the heart of the future arrangements in the face of ongoing changes in workload, legislation and case law.”
Linda Lennon, Chief Executive of the Parole Board said:
“Last year there was a record number of oral hearings which continues the trend away from paper hearings towards the more resource intensive oral hearings. This is largely due to changes in the law and the expanding population of indeterminate sentence prisoners.
“Changes to the Parole Board Rules will assist in that we are no longer under an obligation to accede to every request for an oral hearing. The rules allow for independent members to chair panels for indeterminate prisoners and we are embarking on programmes to train independent members to do so.
“The introduction of a Generic Parole Process, which brings together all agencies involved in parole reviews for indeterminate prisoners, will also assist in the Board’s ability to deal with cases on time by providing members with timely, quality information.”
Caseload projections Type of case 2008/09 actual 2009/10 projections DCR/EPP 3,917 2,050 Deportees 138 220 Lifer/IPP first reviews, ICM and advice cases on papers only 3,519 4,202 ESP annual reviews on papers only 77180 Lifer reviews 1,382 2,002 IPP reviews 704 2,162 Juvenile hearings (oral) 79 130 Lifer/IPP recall oral hearings 125 150 ESP recall oral hearings 385 338 Determinate recalls (paper) 17,184 13,088 Determinate recalls (oral) 422 563 Determinate recall sift (paper) 664 1,200.