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Victims could be given greater say over release of prisoners

NECN Contributor1 19th December 2018 Local News Comments Off on Victims could be given greater say over release of prisoners

Victims of crime in Scotland could be given a greater say over whether a prisoner is released from custody.

Proposals set out by the Scottish Government aim to improve the transparency and openness of the parole process in the country.

It would give victims and their families increased involvement in the process and allow them to find out more about decisions taken regarding a prisoner’s release.

A consultation has been launched to seek a broad range of views on the plans, which have been informed by the experiences of victims and families involved in Scotland’s criminal justice process.

It suggests giving individuals information on the parole process at the earliest opportunity and to allow them to make representations to the parole board.

Increased transparency about decisions, a streamlining of the parole process and changes to the supervision and recall of individuals are among other factors that will be considered in the consultation.

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said the plans could help strengthen public confidence in the system.

“I have listened to the experiences of victims and their families, and this has only reinforced my conviction that victims’ needs must be at the centre of the criminal justice system,” Mr Yousaf said.

“Importantly, that includes ensuring they have better information, increased involvement and greater support ahead of prison release decisions.

“Parole Board for Scotland members do a difficult and complex job which requires careful judgment and expertise in assessing risk.

“By making improvements such as giving victims the opportunity to make representations to the parole board and ensuring openness and transparency, I believe we can strengthen public confidence in an already fair and robust system which recognises the need to provide opportunities for rehabilitation and reintegration.”

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