Released, But Not Free
For many offenders a prison sentence is a grim reality. It is a punishment that must be served. It will impact not only on the single individual but in many cases on their family as well.
As a result, when the day of release comes it will be a significant moment. The door on the punishment has closed. It is an opportunity to draw a line under the past and move on. For many offenders, however, the release from custody comes with conditions. These are in the guise of license conditions that must be abided by. There is the threat of a return to prison if not obeyed in full.
The government has announced changes to the release license regime that come into effect on 13th November 2017. Prison law specialist Irene Tolley outlines the changes below.
New Licence Conditions Category
In the future, Release licenses will be able to restrict ‘specified conduct or specified acts’.
The government intends that conditions are to be put in place for particular offenders that will:
• Prohibit gambling
• prevent the drinking of alcohol
• ban the use of some social media websites
In planning for an offender’s release, a supervising officer will create a release plan. This will include the consideration of whether additional licence conditions are appropriate. These conditions are then submitted to the Governor of the releasing prison. They will review their application on behalf of the Secretary of State. Only once the Governor confirms the conditions do they become legally enforceable.
Why Prohibit Alcohol Consumption?
“The consumption of alcohol is a known factor in recidivism for some offenders. In 2004, the Prison Reform Trust published a paper which estimated that 63% of male offenders and 39% of female offenders within the England and Wales prison estate admitted to hazardous drinking before being imprisoned. At the same time, the estimated cost of alcohol-related crime and public disorder was £7.3 billion per year. A condition to require an offender not to consume alcohol would set an expectation for an offender on licence and compliance with that condition would be subject to recall.”
Can I challenge my Licence Conditions?
To be lawful, any licence condition, whether standard or additional, has to be necessary and proportionate to manage the offender’s risk of reoffending and risk of harm. It is always open to an offender to challenge the imposition of a licence condition by way of an application for judicial review. This would be where the offender considers that the condition is not necessary or proportionate to manage the risks of his case.
How We Can Help
We can assist with any sentencing related query. Please contact either Irene at our Nottingham office on 0115 9599550 or Derby crime and prison law solicitor Rosamunde Benn at Derby on 01332 546818.
Alternatively you can use the contact form below.
Contact - Prison Law