19:14, May 21 182 0 theguardian.com

2018-05-21 19:14:03
Right to see Parole Board decisions comes into force

Members of the public will be able to request summaries of Parole Board decisions on whether prisoners are safe to release under a law change prompted by the handling of the case of serial sex attacker John Worboys.

The Parole Board was previously unable to tell victims or the public the reasons why it had decided whether or not to release a prisoner.

Under the new rule that comes into effect on Tuesday, victims, members of the public and the media will be able to request a summary for cases that are considered by the board. However, decisions made before Tuesday will not be eligible.

The change comes after uproar over the now-overturned decision to release Worboys, a former black-cab driver who was jailed indefinitely in 2009 with a minimum term of eight years after being found guilty of 19 offences, including rape, sexual assault and drugging late-night passengers, committed against 12 victims.

The Parole Board chief executive, Martin Jones, said: “The Parole Board has been pushing for more transparency and I am pleased that this change to the rules will allow for better understanding of the parole process.

“Protection of the public is our primary concern and I hope these summaries will provide reassurance, particularly to victims, that these difficult decisions are made with a great deal of care.”

Requests will have to be submitted via an online form on the Parole Board website and summaries will be subject to data protection regulations.

In March, three high court judges quashed a decision to release Worboys, after a legal challenge brought by two of his victims.

The judgment also concluded that rule 25 of the Parole Board rules, which prevented publication of any of the reasoning behind decision-making, was illegal. The board makes 25,000 decisions on whether or not to release inmates every year.