(CNS): In its first annual report, the Conditional Release Board has given an early indication of how the new legislation surrounding the release of prisoners is working, revealing that last year 84% of prisoners who had served 60% of their sentences were released on licence and so far none of them have been recalled for breaching their parole conditions. The report, which was made public last week when it was tabled in the Legislative Assembly, found that 45 applications for release were considered in 2017, with 38 people being released and seven refused.
The board also noted that 12 victims of crime were also interviewed by the board ahead of the hearings for the prisoners.
The short annual report outlines the process, the consideration given to the circumstances surrounding prisoners and, above all, how they weigh the risk to the community versus the need to reintegrate offenders.
Consideration is given to victim submissions; psychiatric, psychological and prison reports; the risks of reoffending; the rehabilitation needs and programmes completed by offenders; their behaviour during the sentence; a release plan for more rehabilitation in the community; and submissions from the offender, including where they will live and work and what family support they have.
The Conditional Release Law now requires all inmates who have served 60% of their sentence to demonstrate that they have changed and that they no longer pose a risk of re-offending. This compares to the previous situation, where all inmates were released after serving two-thirds of their sentence regardless of their state of rehabilitation or risk.