I was granted permission to listen into a hearing of the Parole Board to consider the application of a prisoner to be released following a recall to prison for breach of a licence requirement. The majority of hearings by the Parole Board are in respect of these types of cases. The complex and high profile cases, such as the release of someone serving a long term sentence for a serious crime and for terrorist offences are those that draw media attention, some of it adverse, although only a small proportion of offenders are released early.
I had spoken to a member of the parole board a few days before the hearing and also afterwards to learn about the work of the parole board and those that serve on the board. These are a mixture of professionals working in or retired from the criminal justice sector and volunteers.
The Parole Board has been judged to be a Court when sitting to hear a case which typically involve members of the board, a member of the Probation Service, the prisoner and their legal representative. It was a privilege to have the opportune to gain an insight into their work.