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Parole Committee

Role of the Committee

The Isle of Man Parole Committee is an independent statutory Committee within the Isle of Man Criminal Justice System. The Parole Committee advises the Department and considers requests for parole from long term prisoners under a discretionary conditional release licence and makes recommendations to the Minister for Justice and Home Affairs (Minister).

The Parole Committee is comprised of up to nine lay members in order to bring an outside and independent perspective to decisions being made for offenders to be released back into the community, or recalled to custody. 

Membership

Members are appointed by the Minister for Home Affairs initially for 3 years, although they can be appointed to serve an additional term. The Parole Committee normally has at least 10 meetings a year. Members are paid an allowance for attending meetings of the committee and are also entitled to travelling expenses, when appropriate.

No formal qualifications are needed to become a member of the Parole Committee and members come from a range of backgrounds and occupations in the Isle of Man. They possess applicable skills but also receive appropriate training.

Directions to the Parole Committee

The Minister for Justice and Home Affairs has formally agreed that the following Directions be issued to the Parole Committee:

The Parole Committee is required to make its recommendation or direction to the Department after considering and assessing the following principles:

  1. The risk to the public that early release would present

  2. The risk of further offending

  3. If early release would contribute to rehabilitation and reintegration into the community

  4. What conditions could be attached to a licence to assist with reintegration of the offender into the community and reduce risks identified upon early release

Eligibility for parole

A prisoner serving less than 12 months custodial sentence is released automatically at the half way point and with no ‘conditions’ attached to the release.

A prisoner serving more than 12 months (but less than 4 years custody) is released automatically at the half way point, and will be issued on licence with conditions attached relating to behaviour on release.

A prisoner serving more than 4 years custody can apply to the Parole Committee at the half way point of his sentence, and will be issued with a licence with conditions attached relating to behaviour on release. If they do not wish to apply for Parole, then at the 2/3 point of their sentence they can be released, but will still be subject to licence conditions.

Explanation of sentencing terms

Date of sentenceDay on which sentence passed in court
Parole eligibility date (PED)

1/2 Way Point
The 'parole eligibility date' is the earliest date the offender can become eligible for parole. Parole eligibility occurs upon completion of half of the term.

Prisoner can apply for release. Considered by the Parole Committee. If released, subject to Licence Conditions.

The prisoner remains on licence and can be recalled back into custody at any point until the sentence expiry date.
Non-parole release date (NPRD) 

2/3 Way Point
If parole is not applied for the prisoner will remain in prison until they are released on licence at 2/3 of the way through the sentence. 

The prisoner remains on licence and can be recalled back into custody at any point until the expiry of their sentence.
Licence expiry date (LED)

3/4 Way Point
Supervision by Probation Service ends and licence conditions cease to apply.
Sentence expiry date (SED) The date at which the sentence (and any additional extended licence period ends).  

The prisoner cannot be recalled back into prison for the index offence following this date.

Release on licence

The Parole Committee is an independent committee who advise and make recommendations on the release, and subsequent conditions, for detainees’ serving 4 years or more custody.

The Parole Committee has four objectives in considering recommending release:

  1. The risk to the public that early release would present

  2. The risk of further offending

  3. If early release would contribute to rehabilitation and reintegration into the community and

  4. What conditions could be attached to a licence to assist with reintegration of the offender into the community and reduce risks identified upon early release

The Parole Committee are therefore not only taking into account the risk to the public, but also the ability to support rehabilitation in the community when making its recommendations.

Licence conditions

Licence conditions are applied to all detainees leaving custody within their sentence. The application of licence conditions enable the Probation Service to manage and monitor behaviour in the community.  Licence conditions must be proportionate and necessary to manage the risk presented. Licence conditions which can be applied to a detainee upon release are found on our Isle of Man Prison and Probation Service page

Recommendations

Where a recommendation is made to release, this is not binding on the DHA and the Department will consider the Committee’s recommendation and information and reasons provided before making a final decision. The reasons for this decision will be recorded and shared with the Committee.

Where a recommendation is made NOT TO RELEASE, then the decision stands, and the DHA has no powers other than to not release on licence. The Committee will provide the reasons for that decision to the DHA. The applicant may submit a further application for re-consideration.

Breach of licence conditions

The Standard Licence Conditions are fairly far reaching and are used to describe the expectation that:

'You must be of good behaviour. You must obey licence conditions. You must not behave in a way that may lead to you being arrested or charged with a criminal offence. You must not commit any further offence.'

Should the licencee breach any of his conditions, the legislation allows for them to be recalled back to prison and the licence revoked. However, this is balanced by the need to support reintegration in the community, along with a likely period of readjustment following any lengthy prison sentence.

Where the risk of reoffending is imminent, or the pattern of behaviour is escalating, then recall may be reasonable. Should there be reasonable suspicion that a further offence has been committed, remand to custody for this new offence may be required by the courts, but not necessarily a recall.

Generally, recall should be a last resort.

Recall is considered to be a final option for cases where the risk of serious harm can no longer be managed in the community or where the offender is out of contact or presents an imminent risk of reoffending.  As now, probation practitioners should be looking for creative and responsive ways to secure compliance short of recall (whether in the form of additional restrictive measures or supportive protective measures).

Direction – Re-release on licence

In accordance with 13B(4), Schedule 2, Custody Act 1995, the DHA issues the following Directions to the Committee in respect of a Long Term Detainee who, following recall, is making an application for re-release on licence:

The Parole Committee, acting independently, is required to use its judgment to make its recommendation or direction to the Department after considering the following principle:

  1. The Committee shall direct the detainee’s release if satisfied that it is no longer necessary for the protection of the public that they should be confined (but not otherwise)
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