PAROLE BOARD: ORAL HEARINGS OF OFFENDERS’ REPRESENTATIONS AGAINST RECALL

PURPOSE
THIS CIRCULAR REPLACES PC 45/2004, WHICH WAS ISSUED IN ERROR. COPIES OF PC 45/2004 SHOULD BE DESTROYED To provide guidance for probation officers asked to provide written reports for, or to attend, Parole Board oral hearings of offenders’ representations against recall. ACTION • To ensure that all probation officers, SPOs, and above and any other staff likely to be involved in the procedure are informed of the existence of this Circular; • To make clear to staff that they must co-operate with the Parole Board by providing them with the information they need to make their decisions and by attending hearings if invited. • To ensure staff have access to relevant information in respect of extended sentence and life sentence prisoners including Prison Service Instruction 06/2004 on extended sentenced prisoners and Prison Service Order 4700 –“The Lifer Manual”. • To note, in relation to staff development, that it would be good practice for staff who have not attended an oral hearing to attend one with a colleague before they are required to attend an hearing to give evidence in their own right. SUMMARY 1. An overview of post-recall procedures and the legal status of hearings 2. Guidance on the information needed in parole reports for recalled offenders 3. Preparation for and attendance at the oral hearing. RELEVANT PREVIOUS PROBATION CIRCULARS 13/2003 on sharing information 42/2003 on parole, licence and recall arrangements CONTACT FOR ENQUIRIES Kristyn Miller Early Release and Recall Section Tariq Khan, Early Release and Recall Section Vicky Quinn, Lifer Review and Recall Section Matthew Bird, NPD 020 7217 5546; 020 7217 5067; 020 7217 5526; 020 7217 8058.

Probation Circular
REFERENCE NO: 45B/2004 ISSUE DATE: 12 August 2004 IMPLEMENTATION DATE: Immediate EXPIRY DATE: July 2009 (or until replaced) TO: Chairs of Probation Boards Chief Officers of Probation Secretaries of Probation Boards CC: Board Treasurers Regional Managers AUTHORISED BY: Liz Hill, Head of Public Protection and Courts Unit ATTACHED: Annex A – Template for Report Annex B – Tips for Dealing with Difficult Questioning (both contained within PC Word file)

National Probation Directorate
Horseferry House, Dean Ryle Street, London, SW1P 2AW General Enquiries: 020 7217 0659 Fax: 020 7217 0660

Enforcement, rehabilitation and public protection

Purpose PC 42/2003 contained guidance on the recalling of offenders released from custody on licence. Paragraphs 24-25 touched upon the offender’s right to make representations against recall. This Circular deals specifically with occasions where those representations will be heard at an oral hearing. The need for this Circular has arisen in particular as a result of the number of extended sentence recall cases but many of the principles that apply to the handling of those cases also apply to the handling of life sentence cases. 2. For offenders serving an extended sentence and prisoners recalled to prison from life licence, representations against recall will almost invariably be heard at an oral hearing. However, the Parole Board will apply different tests in determining whether or not the recall decision should stand in relation to: extended sentence life sentence cases and ordinary DCR cases. 3. For this reason, this Circular contains detailed guidance about extended sentence and life sentence recall hearings although the kind of written reports needed in both sets of cases is essentially the same. 4. This Circular has been produced by the Correctional Services as a joint enterprise between the Early Release and Recall Section, the Lifer Review and Recall Section and the National Probation Directorate. Correctional Services has consulted the Parole Board closely about its needs. Action Chief Officers are asked to bring this Circular to the attention of all relevant staff and to put procedures in place to allow staff to meet the requirements of this Circular. Contents • • Representations against recall: cases other than Extended Sentence and Life Sentence Recalls Test applied by Parole Board Extended Sentence Recalls: representations against recall Offender’s rights to make representations Test applied by Parole Board Role of the National Probation Service Written Report Attendance of the Probation Officer as a Witness • • • Conduct of the Hearing The Outcome Annual reviews Circumstances in which further information may be sought and/or an oral hearing may be required

Representations against recall: cases other than extended sentence and life sentence recalls 5. PC 42/2003, paragraphs 10-23, set out the arrangements for requesting the recall of an offender serving a determinate sentence. Offenders are entitled to make representations about their recall. Test applied by the Parole Board 6. It will rarely be necessary for representations by a recalled determinate sentence offender (other than an extended sentence prisoner) to be heard at an oral hearing. When considering a prisoner’s representations against recall, the Parole Board shall determine whether: … (i) The prisoner’s liberty would present an unacceptable risk of a further offence being committed. The type of re-offending involved does not need to involve a risk to public safety; or Whilst on licence, the prisoner failed to comply with one or more of his or her licence conditions and that failure suggested that the objectives of probation supervision had been undermined; or The prisoner breached the trust placed in him or her by the Secretary of State either by 2

(ii)

(iii)

PC45B/2004 - Parole Board: Oral Hearings of Offenders' Representations against Recall

failing to comply with one or more of his or her licence conditions, or any other means; and (iv) The prisoner is likely to comply with licence conditions in the future, taking into account in particular the effect of the further period of imprisonment since recall.

Each individual case shall be considered on its merits, and without any discrimination on any grounds.

7. The Board may decide to release such an offender who was properly recalled if they consider that he or she is likely to comply with the licence in the future, or no longer poses an unacceptable risk of re-offending. 8. The offender may contest any or all of the grounds for recall in his or her representations. The Parole Board will look at the offender’s representations in light of the information supplied by the Probation Service or other agencies and come to a decision on the balance of probabilities. Circumstances in which further information may be sought and/or an oral hearing required 9. Generally these cases are heard on paper. But if the Parole Board panel cannot decide from reading the revocation request, the offender's representations and any other relevant information on the dossier, whether the offender should continue to be detained in prison, they may seek further written information. If this is not appropriate or the information is not available, they may alternatively order an oral hearing. 10. This is most likely where there is a large discrepancy in the accounts respectively provided by the Probation Service and the offender about the circumstances leading to the recall. The Panel may seek contemporaneous records such as hostel logs or witness statements to support the supervising officer’s account of events. If this information is not available, or the panel is still unable to decide, they will order an oral hearing before a panel of three members, at which the conflicting accounts are examined and the parties questioned. Extended Sentence Recalls 11. PC 42/2003 paragraph 21 summarised the arrangements for extended sentence recalls. Prison Service Instruction 06/2004 contains very full information about the treatment of extended sentence prisoners within the Prison Service and a copy of this can be obtained from ERRS. The purpose of the following advice is to clarify what the Parole Board needs from probation officers to help it determine the release or otherwise of extended sentence offenders who have been recalled. Offender’s rights to make representations 12. All recalled extended sentence prisoners are entitled to have their recall reviewed at an oral hearing of the Parole Board. Although they are only entitled to appeal once, there is no time limit imposed on the stage at which, following their recall, they can request the opportunity to make representations. Section 44A (2) of the CJA 1991 (as amended by section 60 of the Crime & Disorder Act 1998) allows the offender to have his case referred to the Parole Board at any time following recall. The offender does not have to give reasons for this or make written representations, nor need the offender have a good prima facie case. 13. In extended sentence cases, where a prisoner is being held for preventative rather than punitive reasons, Article 5 (4) of the ECHR requires that decisions about their liberty should be taken by a court-like body. For these purposes, this means an oral hearing before the Parole Board. 14. The net effect of the legislative position is that extended sentence offenders who are recalled have an absolute entitlement, regardless of the merits of their case, to an oral hearing. In theory an offender may choose to have his or her case considered on papers, but in practice most opt for an oral hearing. Test applied by the Parole Board 15. Section 44A (2) of the Criminal Justice Act 1991 (as amended by section 60 of the Crime & Disorder Act 1998) says that on a reference of this kind: the Board shall direct the prisoner’s release if satisfied that it is no longer necessary for the protection of the public that he should be confined (but not otherwise) Case law (R ex parte Sim) has ruled that the Parole Board is obliged to conclude it is no longer necessary to detain the recalled prisoner unless the panel are positively satisfied that the interests of the public require that he be confined. The same judgement dictates that the public interest will only require the offender’s detention if the panel judges that the offender poses a risk of sexual or violent offending that cannot properly be controlled in the community. So even if the panel is satisfied that the recall was properly made, it is obliged to release the prisoner unless satisfied that his or her detention is necessary in the interests of public safety. PC45B/2004 - Parole Board: Oral Hearings of Offenders' Representations against Recall 3

There are therefore three questions on which the Parole Board has to satisfy itself: • • • Was it proper to recall the offender? What degree of risk does the offender pose now? Can that risk reasonably be managed in the community?

The test the Parole Board applies is the balance of probabilities. It is entitled to take account of hearsay evidence, opinion, contemporaneous records, and allegations that did not result in a conviction. The process is an inquisitorial one: it differs from a court procedure, where the Judge or Magistrate plays a neutral role and the contesting parties must prove their case; in an inquisitorial process such as a Parole Board hearing the panel collects information, examines the issues, questions those who have relevant information and applies reason to come to a judgement. Role of the National Probation Service 16. • • • The role of the National Probation Service is therefore to provide the Parole Board with information on: The circumstances surrounding the recall The risk, if any, that the offender poses to public safety and Whether (and in what circumstances) that risk can reasonably be managed in the community.

Written report 17. A written report is always required in advance of the hearing for the Parole Board dossier. The Early Release and Recall Section will request this report by letter as soon as they receive notice that the offender wishes to make representations against recall. The letter will be copied to the ACO so that he or she can decide whether input from more senior officers is needed and for planning and monitoring purposes. It is important that you provide this report in good time, because the Secretary of State’s representative, the offender and his or her legal adviser all need time to read and absorb its contents in advance of the panel. The Secretary of State’s representative also needs to take account of it when writing the Secretary of State’s view, which must itself be submitted in advance. You will usually have a month to provide the report. 18. Your report will perform a function similar to that of a PSR in a criminal case and a similar level of analysis is needed. The more detailed the report, the less questioning will be required at the hearing itself. The report may include hearsay evidence, abstracts of contemporaneous records, opinion and unproven allegations, provided it makes the status of the information clear, and should include such information if it has a bearing on risk. The report will be disclosed to the offender’s representatives. If you wish to submit any information that you do not want disclosed to the offender himself or herself, please refer to Probation Circular 13/2003 about sharing information. 19. 20. A report template is provided at Annex A to assist in the preparation of this document. The report should include:

(i) An account of the circumstances leading to the recall. If the revocation request was very detailed, you can refer the panel to this but the report should normally detail any other misconduct during the period on licence. If the offender was recalled because of criminal charges, please give an account of what he was alleged to have done (attach the MG5 form from the police if you prefer), even if the charges were dropped or the offender acquitted, a view of how credible the allegations are and whether they should be taken seriously. If you have no details of the incident(s), please let us know the name and location of the police officer in the case. If the offender failed to respond to requests to contact you, please satisfy yourself that these requests were sent to the correct address. (ii) A view of the risk presented by the prisoner. When considering your view, please include an account of: • the offending history, including an account of the index offence. This is often omitted from the PSR, which quite reasonably assumes the court knows what the offender did. Any pattern of offending, or escalation in offending behaviour, should be identified. Include records of offending behaviour that did not result in a conviction, e.g., social services interventions to protect the offender’s children, charges on which he was acquitted, etc. Formal risk assessments (e.g., Matrix 2000, OASys ROH) and any views you have about risk based on the offender’s behaviour and apparent attitudes If relevant, how the offender’s behaviour while on licence fits in with his offending pattern or otherwise throws light on his risk or the feasibility of managing it in the community. Any interventions made while on licence (or indeed, before release), e.g. offence related programs, and the offender’s progress. Attach post-course feedback reports if available. The successful completion of offending behaviour programmes is central to any consideration of risk and it is important that the panel have as much relevant information as possible. 4

• • •

PC45B/2004 - Parole Board: Oral Hearings of Offenders' Representations against Recall

Whether, in your opinion, the prisoner’s risk can reasonably be managed in the community, and under what circumstances: e.g., licence conditions, offending behaviour courses, hostel residence, whatever is relevant

(iii) A detailed release plan. The Parole Board needs to know what the proposed release arrangements are in order to decide whether the risk can reasonably be managed in the community. You must provide this even if you do not think it is safe to release the offender. The Parole Board can and does release offenders in circumstances where the supervising officer would prefer they did not and you should be aware that if the panel decides to release the offender he or she would normally be released within 5 days of the hearing. You need to bear this in mind when considering the need to arrange provisional places in approved premises and meetings under MAPP Arrangements at either Level 2 or 3. Probation circular 42/2003 gives up-to-date guidance about additional licence conditions that are acceptable and enforceable. (iv) Comments relating to Victims Charter Issues. 21. ERRS will also request reports from the Prison Service and from the prison’s seconded probation officer.

The Hearing Attendance of Probation Officer as Witness 22. The calling of witnesses is governed by Parole Board Rule 151: 15 1. Where a party wishes to call witnesses at the hearing, he shall make a written application to the Board, a copy of which he shall serve on the other party, within 20 weeks of the case being listed, giving the name, address and occupation of the witness he wishes to call and the substance of the evidence he proposes to adduce. 2. Where the Board wishes to call witnesses at the hearing, the chair of the panel should notify the parties, within 21 weeks of the case being listed, giving the name, address and occupation of the witness it wishes to call and the substance of the evidence it proposes to adduce. 3. The chair of the panel may grant or refuse an application under paragraph (1) and shall communicate his decision to both parties, giving reasons in writing for his decision in the case of a refusal. 4. Where a witness is called under paragraphs (1) or(2), it shall be the duty of the person calling the witness to notify the witness at least 2 weeks before the date of the hearing and the need to attend. 23. The “parties” mentioned in Rule 15 are the offender (and his representative) and the Secretary of State (in the person of his representative from the Early Release and Recall Section). Both parties are entitled to ask to call witnesses, and these requests are invariably granted. The Secretary of State will in almost every case seek to call the offender’s supervising officer as a witness. 24. Staff in the Early Release and Recall Section will contact the officer who appears to be the supervising officer. This will often be the officer who initiated the recall, particularly if the invitation is issued before receipt of the report described in paragraphs 17-21 above. If the wrong officer is invited, please telephone the number given on the invitation and tell them so. SPOs or ACOs may decide that they would be better placed to attend the hearing. In this instance, they must ensure they are adequately briefed. Witness notification information is routinely copied to ACOs for planning and monitoring purposes. 25. Alternatively, SPOs or ACOs may wish to attend the hearing in support of the staff member who has been called to give evidence. This can be arranged through the Early Release and Recall Section but will require the offender’s consent. 26. It will occasionally be necessary to invite additional probation service witnesses such as managers of approved premises. While case law (R ex parte Sim) confirms that the Parole Board is entitled to take account of hearsay evidence such as the supervising officer’s account of what other probation staff reported, it also makes clear that justice will sometimes require that additional witnesses be called so that the offender can question them directly. The attendance of additional witnesses may be unnecessary when adequate written records, for example, case records or approved premises’ records such as the daily log or witness statements are provided at an early stage. 27. The High Court judgement in the recent case of Brooks made it clear that the Parole Board has the power to compel the attendance of witnesses through a court summons. Although this would be very much a last resort for the Board, which both it and Early Release and Recall Section would wish to avoid, the Board will certainly use it if it is
1

For a copy of the Parole Board rules staff may refer to the Parole Board website at www.paroleboard.gov.uk 5

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routinely faced with a failure to attend hearings by the NPS. Failure to respond to a summons would amount to a contempt of court, which is an offence carrying a maximum penalty of six months imprisonment. Conduct of the Hearing 28. When attending the hearing, please bring with you all relevant documents, eg. contact logs, copies of the offender’s supervision plan etc., and familiarise yourself with the revocation request, which is likely to be scrutinised in evidence. It is important to arrive early to allow plenty of time to move through prison security and to meet with the Secretary of State’s representative who will discuss the case with you and attempt to alleviate any concerns you may have about the process. 29. The conduct of the hearing itself is governed by the Parole Board Rules. The relevant rules are: Hearing procedure 19 1. At the beginning of the hearing the chair of the panel shall explain the order of proceeding which the panel proposes to adopt and shall invite each party present to state their view as to the suitability of the prisoner for release. 2. The panel shall avoid formality in the proceedings and so far as possible shall make its own enquiries in order to satisfy itself of the level of risk of the prisoner; it shall conduct the hearing in such manner as it considers most suitable to the clarification of the issues before it and generally to the just handling of the proceedings. 3. The parties shall be entitled to appear and be heard at the hearing and take such part in the proceedings as the panel thinks fit; and the parties may hear each other's evidence, put questions to each other, call any witnesses who the Board has authorised to give evidence in accordance with rule 15, and put questions to any witness or other person appearing before the panel. 4. The chair of the panel may require any person present at the hearing who is, in his opinion, behaving in a disruptive manner to leave and may permit him to return, if at all, only on such conditions as the chair may specify. 5. The panel may adduce or receive in evidence any document or information notwithstanding that such document or information would be inadmissible in a court of law but, subject to the requirements of rules 6 and 7, no person shall be compelled to give any evidence or produce any document which he could not be compelled to give or produce on the trial of an action. 6. The chair of the panel may require the prisoner, or any witness appearing for the prisoner, or any other person present, to leave the hearing where evidence is being examined which the chair of the panel, in accordance with rule 8(2)(d) (subject to any successful appeal under rule 8(2)) previously directed should be withheld from the prisoner as adversely affecting national security, the prevention of disorder or crime or the health or welfare of the prisoner or others.

7. After all the evidence has been given, the prisoner shall be given a further opportunity
to address the panel. 30. It is important to note that representatives of the National Probation Service attending the hearing are not on trial and are not required to prove any case. Their role is to clarify the information contained in the written report and answer any outstanding questions about the recall and the offender’s risk of further sexual or violent offending. 31. Typically, the Secretary of State’s representative will ask questions first, followed by the offender’s representative, and finally the panel members will seek to clear up any issues where they need more detail. The Secretary of State’s representative may then take the opportunity to re-examine the probation officer. Again, the panel is entitled to take account of hearsay & information from third parties, opinion, allegations that did not result in a conviction, and references to contemporaneous records (see Parole Board Rule 19(5) above). 32. The offender will normally be represented by a barrister or solicitor, who may be unfamiliar with tribunal procedures and may seek to conduct his or her case as in a court of law. This may lead to adversarial questioning, which the chairman of the panel should not allow. Annex B attached gives practical advice on dealing with difficult questioning styles and either ERRS or the Lifer Review & Recall Section (LRRS) may be able to give further advice on this. It would be good practice for those responsible for probation officers’ continuing professional development to arrange for officers who have not done so to observe a hearing. This can be arranged through the Parole Board Secretariat. However, the

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cost of attending a hearing is borne by Areas in the public interest and it would therefore be sensible to arrange attendance at a local prison via ERRS rather than travelling a long distance because a colleague happens to be doing so. The Outcome 33. The Panel will not announce its decision at the hearing. The Parole Board will normally write to ERRS within five days of the hearing with the Panel’s decision. ERRS will then relay the information to the supervising officer by phone and fax in order that communication and liaison between the prison, probation and other agencies responsible for managing the risks presented, can take place promptly. Release plans and plans to manage risk of harm should be implemented immediately. A decision to release does not normally mean that the recall was unjustified; rather, that the Panel believes the offender’s risk can reasonably be managed in the community. If you have questions about the implications of any Parole Board decision, please contact ERRS who can discuss the issues with you. 34. If the decision is to release, you should note that the offender will normally be released within a few days. The Parole Board’s decision is not subject to appeal and is absolutely binding on the Secretary of State. Annual Reviews 35. In the event that the panel are satisfied that the risk posed by the offender cannot be reasonably managed in the community and they direct his or her continued detention, he/she will be entitled to have their further detention reviewed at regular intervals. These reviews will also take the form of an oral hearing before the Parole Board and they will commence one year after the original representations against recall were rejected and continue every year until the Parole Board are satisfied that the level of risk has been sufficiently reduced or until the offenders are automatically released on their licence expiry date. In the latter circumstances the offenders will be placed on licence until their sentence expiry date to ensure they are subject to some period of community supervision. 36. The focus of annual reviews will be on the time offenders have spent in prison since recall and any effect this may have had on their attitude towards their offending and their level of risk. The Secretary of State will not be represented but there will still be a need for up to date reports from the home probation officer and the seconded probation officer. The report required for these proceedings takes the form of a regular Parole Assessment Report and should address the progress the offender has made rather than the circumstances of the original recall. There may also be a need for the home probation officer to attend as a witness. 37. The arrangements for annual reviews are handled by the parole clerk at the relevant establishment and they are responsible for collating the hearing dossier, including notifying the probation officer of the need for an up to date report. The responsibilities of parole clerks are set out for their information in PSO 6000. If there is a need for probation officers to attend these proceedings as witnesses, they will be notified of this requirement and the relevant hearing date by the Early Release and Recall Section acting on the Board’s instructions. Life Sentence Cases 38. The similarities in relation to the National Probation Service’s involvement in extended sentence and life sentence recall oral hearings are much greater than the differences. The role of the National Probation Service identified in paragraph 15 above, the principles surrounding the provision of written reports identified in paragraphs 16-19 above, the hearing itself and the conduct of the hearing identified in paragraphs 22 to 32 above are all essentially the same in both types of cases. This Section of the Circular concentrates therefore on any notable differences there are between extended sentence and life sentence cases. 39. The test applied by the Parole Board for the consideration of life sentence recall cases is the same as that applied to their consideration of whether life sentence prisoners may be released in the first place. For this purpose the Parole Board must be satisfied that it is no longer necessary for the protection of the public that the prisoner should be confined and that the risk to life and limb posed by the prisoner to others is no more than minimal. There is nothing to prevent the Parole Board from considering all risk factors, including previous convictions, when considering such cases. 40. Essential features of life sentence cases that you should note here are as follows: • LRRS requests the release plan from the Probation Service once it is known that the licensee has arrived in custody following recall. We do not wait until we receive a notice that the offender wishes to make representations against recall. The release plan is forwarded to the prisoner as soon as it is received. LRRS will aim to disclose the Secretary of State’s view on whether the prisoner should be re-released or whether he/she should remain in detention as much in advance of the hearing as possible.

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Life sentence prisoners do not have annual reviews by the Parole Board. If the oral hearing to consider the prisoner’s representations against recall does not result in the prisoner’s release, the timing of the next review is determined on the individual facts of the case though the statutory maximum period between successive Parole Board reviews is two years.

Liz Hill, Head – Public Protection and Courts Unit

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Annex A
REPORT TEMPLATE

1. INTRODUCTION a. Author’s professional background, training, qualifications and experience b. An account of the supervision of the offender, including any programmes.

2. CIRCUMSTANCES LEADING TO THE RECALL a. A full picture of the events / circumstances leading to recall b. The offender’s general compliance and attitude to being on licence.

3. A VIEW OF THE RISK PRESENTED BY THE PRISONER When considering your view, please include an account of: a. The offending history, including an account of the index offence and offending behaviour that did not result in a conviction, e.g., social services interventions, charges on which he was acquitted, etc. b. Any relevant information about compliance during earlier periods under supervision. c. An account of formal risk assessments and your assessment of the risk the offender poses, whether it can be managed in the community and any necessary licence conditions.

4. A DETAILED RELEASE PLAN a. The Parole Board needs to know what the proposed release arrangements are in order to decide whether the risk can reasonably be managed in the community. What work has been done? What work needs to be done? What work needs to be re-done? b. Accommodation referrals and outcome. c. Details of external support (family, friends, etc.)

5. COMMENTS RELATING TO VICTIMS CHARTER ISSUES

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Annex B
DEALING WITH DIFFICULT QUESTIONING The oral hearing process is designed as inquisitorial and as a means for the Parole Board panel to establish the facts of a recall and make an informed decision about risk. As such, the style of questioning employed by all parties should not become adversarial. In circumstances where an offender’s legal representative adopts an overly challenging questioning style with the Secretary of State’s witness, the panel will generally direct him/her to change their style. Alternately, the Secretary of State’s representative will not hesitate to remind the panel of the intended nature of the hearing if he/she feels their witness is being treated unfairly. The following points may help those preparing to attend an oral hearing as a witness, to deal with questioning generally and with any difficult questioning styles that may be encountered: 1. Being well prepared will increase your confidence, but do not feel that you cannot refer to your file or notes if you need to. The panel recognise that it has generally been at least a couple of months since the offender’s recall took place and that your memory may need refreshing or you may need to confirm specific details. 2. Direct your answers to the Chair of the panel. He/She will be the middle of the three panel members. Ultimately it is the panel that require the information you are there to provide and it will divert your attention from any tactics of distraction that the prisoner’s legal representative may seek to employ. 3. Do not comment on matters that you are not qualified to consider. If you are asked a question that is beyond your realm of professional expertise, point this out and say that you cannot answer it. You are there in your capacity as a Probation Officer, not a Psychiatrist or Psychologist, and the panel know this. Similarly, if you are asked a question that you do not have the factual knowledge to answer, just say so. 4. Do not be intimidated by questions that are focused on the ‘fairness’ of circumstances or that criticise how likely something is to happen quickly. The panel are concerned with risk. They are also aware that the Probation Service operates with limited resources and that it is not always possible to obtain everything an offender needs to address their risk factors in what is often a very limited period of time. 5. Similarly, do not be concerned if the offender’s legal representative attempts to restrict you to a ‘yes/no’ line of questioning. Try to expand on your answers, with reference to risk, if possible. Otherwise the Secretary of State’s representative will give you the opportunity to provide more information during their questioning of you as their witness. 6. Do not be intimidated by questions that seek to undermine your professional credibility or criticise your report. The Secretary of State’s representative will have the opportunity to ask questions of you and they will use this to highlight what has happened and ask you questions that address these areas, if necessary. 7. Do not worry if your answers or opinions do not coincide with the position of the Secretary of State as presented by his representative on the day. The panel are there to consider all available information and perspectives and to make a decision on the balance of factors that work both for and against the offender.

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National Directorate

TO: All Chairs, Chief Officers and Secretaries of Probation Areas in England and Wales

Our Ref Your Ref Date

30 July 2004

Dear Colleague EXTENDED SENTENCE ORAL HEARINGS I am writing further to Probation Circular 45/2004 on oral hearings of offenders’ representations against recall, and PC34/2004 on parole assessment reports. The purpose of this letter is to make a personal request that you, with Recall Liaison Officers and other relevant colleagues, take a personal look at local systems with a view to improving performance in this area. We are very concerned at recent feedback from the Parole Board that there has been a significant reduction in the quality of probation reports around parole and recall. I was particularly concerned to hear recently that a probation officer that had declined to attend a lifer hearing had also declined to be involved in the case by video-conference. The decision not to attend may have been the right one. But opportunities to capitalise on new technologies, such as video-conferencing, are precisely the sort of opportunity we should be looking at very carefully with a view to maintaining or improving our performance while helping our colleagues to manage their caseloads. We are aware that there is some uncertainty in Areas around attendance by probation officers at oral hearings. The guidance attached will, I hope, make clear the position and the priority that should be accorded to this work. Prisoners who are subject to an extended sentence will, almost by definition, fall into the higher risk categories. Moreover, the supervising probation officer will almost certainly have played a key role in the recall against which the prisoner is appealing. The High Court judgement in the recent case of Brooks made it clear that the Parole Board has the power to compel the attendance of witnesses. I believe this would be very much a last resort for the Board, which it would wish to avoid as much as the NPS. Nevertheless, we must do everything we can to avoid pushing the Board to that extreme. As you will know, we held a training day for Recall Liaison Officers around oral

Enforcement, rehabilitation and public protection National Probation Directorate, Horseferry House, Dean Ryle Street, London SW1P 2AW Tel 020 7 217 0737 Fax 020 7217 0660 Email steve.murphy@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

hearings at the end of April. As a member of the Parole Board since 1995, I have had the opportunity to view our work as a consumer, as well as a producer. I know how valued it is when we get it right, and how potentially difficult it can be if that work should fall below our usual standards. This guidance is designed to make sure that we sustain our reputation for high standards in this vital area of public protection work. I would ask you to consider with Recall Liaison Officers on their return what work needs to be done, firstly to cascade relevant information in the Area; and secondly to raise our game on parole issues across the board. Yours

Stephen Murphy CBE Director General, NPS for England & Wales

Enforcement, rehabilitation and public protection National Probation Directorate, Horseferry House, Dean Ryle Street, London SW1P 2AW Tel 020 7 217 0737 Fax 020 7217 0660 Email steve.murphy@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk