Parliamentary briefing: Victims and Prisoners Bill - second reading
We've prepared a briefing on the Victims and Prisoners Bill which passed a second reading on 15 May.
The bill will:
- give new powers to the Secretary of State, to make decisions about liberty that have been referred to the Parole Board in certain serious cases
- implement a new release test for the release of prisoners by the Parole Board which replaces a simple one sentence test with many clauses
- disapply section 3 of the Human Rights Act to legislation concerning the release of prisoners as a group, weakening the UK’s human rights protections
We welcome the provisions in this bill for Independent Advocates for victims following major incidents, and enhancements of victims’ access to justice by putting the Victims’ Code on a statutory footing
However, changes within this bill to the Parole Board are likely to add complexity and delay to its decisions. While provisions to give the Secretary of State powers to usurp its decision making will override the common law principle that decisions about liberty are for the judiciary.
The briefing provides more details on the following areas:
- changes to parole
- disapplication of the Human Rights Act to prisoners
- establishment of an Independent Public Advocate
- support for victims