Parole, generally, is the process by which prisoners who haven’t reached the end of their sentences, are released early and allowed to serve the rest of the sentence in the community as long as they keep to certain licence conditions, including being well-behaved.

If they are recalled because they are regarded as having broken those conditions or committed further offences they will be liable to serve until the end of the sentence in prison, subject to reviews to see whether they still need to be detained to protect the public from the risk of serious harm. Lifers and IPP prisoners can also be recalled after release in a similar way as other prisoners.

Despite many cuts to help for prisoners, Legal Aid can still be applied for so that a prisoner can be represented in making representations for their re-release on licence and in many cases oral hearings will be needed where they can be legally represented. Lawtons has particular expertise and a high success rate in getting prisoners back into the community on licence.

As well as representing people who have been recalled for breaching their licence conditions, there is also parole for lifers and IPP prisoners who have reached the end of their sentence tariff. This is the minimum term they have been sentenced to serve before their release on licence can be considered by a Parole Board. Lawtons has also had a very large rate of success in representing Lifer/IPP clients to obtain their release into the community or, as a first stage, access to an open prison and then on to release.

Unfortunately, many prisoners do not realise and claim they are not told by prison staff or probation that they can apply for legal aid for advice and representation when they are recalled to prison. In most cases, there are lots of things that can be done by a good solicitor to secure your re-release and to press for reviews of your detention that wouldn’t otherwise take place. Many prisoners, without the protection of a lawyer, appear to be not even having vital paperwork passed to them to inform them about reviews of their detention, so that they can have some input on crucial decisions and comment on the accuracy of the information being passed on the Parole Board and the Secretary of State about them. It is vital that if you or a loved one is recalled to prison, you consult a lawyer with expertise in prison law and parole as soon as possible. If this hasn’t happened already and some time has passed then do so anyway and get some legal help for the next step of challenging the need for their detention.

Please note that there are some forms of discretionary releases when a prison or the Secretary of Station will allow an inmate to be released early that do not necessarily involve reviews by the Parole Board – including release on tag (HDC) and ROTLS (Releases on temporary licence from prison) for certain purposes like funerals or town visits. If these early releases are withdrawn, legal aid will not generally be available to challenge them, depending on how they fit together with other schemes of early release. If in doubt, ring our prison law department and they will be able to explain to you how you should proceed. The important point is if you are in doubt as to whether your further imprisonment can be challenged, contact us straight away!

Nb. This guide is intended to give general information only and not intended to be used as the basis upon which Advice is given nor should it be relied upon as giving advice specific to a case or individual and Lawtons do not accept liability for anyone using this guide. Should you require specific advice in connection with a real case or situation, please contact us immediately so that we can provide specific Advice