Reports and evidence provided by prison and probation staff for the Parole Board no longer include a recommendation about a prisoner’s release or move to an open prison. This change to the parole process, which took effect on 21 July, follows an overall review of the way the Parole Board works. Only reports submitted to the Parole Board after 21 July will change.

This includes all reports written by:

  • Prison offender managers
  • Probation officers
  • Psychologists (including any psychology reports arranged by HMPPS)
  • Anyone else who works for the prison service.  

This will also be the case for any evidence prison and probation staff give at oral hearings to the Parole Board.

This change aims to make the parole process more consistent. Previously lots of different people would offer their recommendations about whether someone in prison was suitable to be released or moved to open conditions. This change allows the Parole Board to look at all the information provided by these people in reports and evidence and use that to make the decision which it is responsible for making by law.

What is not changing?

Everything else in prison and probation reports will stay the same. Prison and probation staff will carry on writing and talking about prisoners’:

  • Progress
  • Sentence plan
  • Risk of reoffending
  • Risk of harm
  • License conditions

The Parole Board process will stay the same and it is still the Parole Board who decide if a prisoner will be released.

Any reports arranged by a prisoner’s legal representative (if they have one) can still include a recommendation to the Parole Board about what happens next. This includes reports like psychologist reports arranged by solicitors. When these people talk at oral hearings, they can still talk about their recommendation. 

In a small number of cases, the Secretary of State for Justice will offer a view to the Parole Board on a prisoner’s suitability for release or for a move to open conditions.  This will be based on all the HMPPS reports in their file. This view will be included in the prisoner’s file, and they will get to see it. A Secretary of State’s Representative will also be at the oral hearing.

The only thing that will be different is that prison and probation staff will not make a recommendation about release or a move to open conditions.

What about reports from before 21 July 2022?

If a prisoner’s reports were submitted to the Parole Board before 21 July, they will still include a recommendation about possible release or a move to open conditions. These reports will not be changed.  When staff talk about these reports at an oral hearing, they will still talk about the recommendation in the report.

Page last reviewed: 22 July 2022