Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Parole Process

Bear with me as I try to unravel for your delight and amazement the process that should lead to my release in a couple of months. If I just trail off into incoherence, just accept that I've wandered off to pull rabbits out of hats...

The process began a few months and in a different prison. The parole timetable begins 6 months before the hearing, meaning that the first staff reports for the parole board to mull over were written back in October, in a different nick. They are benign enough but lack any firm recommendation save for "see how he does at Sudbury".
My parole hearing is set for May, although regular readers will appreciate that a date with the parole board is a slightly nebulous target. Before this, though, I have to be squeezed through Intensive Case Management, a sifting process used by the Board to weed out the hopeless cases.
In his recent comment, Jailhouselawyer was quite right in his view that the Board usually requires a significant period to be spent in Open prior to ordering release. Two years in Open prison was a regular period, and the one I arrived at Leyhill with several years ago. Doubtless JHL was in a similar position when he passed through these halls.
The influx of indeterminate sentences, though, has seen the lifer population more than double and lead to the whole system verging on collapse for lifers. One response has been to re-jig the timetable to be followed in Open.
In previous years, for example, if I had landed at Open prison with only 6 months to go to a parole hearing then the prison would have shrugged its shoulders and obstinately scheduled my pre-release activities to last at least one year. Today, though, Open prisons are more attuned to the parole board's schedule and the necessity to slim down the lifer population and so have introduced "streaming".
There are four streams, each dependent on the length of time till the next parole hearing. The longest is two years, the shortest being 6 months or under. The latter is the stream to which I am allocated. In essence, each stream incorporates the same activities - work, home leaves, etc - but compressed into a shorter timeframe.
As a result, in the six months leading up to my parole hearing then I will have completed as much outside activity as a man on the 12 month stream or longer. This is an eminently sensible response to circumstance. The focus has shifted from the length of time spent in Open to the amount of activity completed.
This rush does have its drawbacks, most of them being bureaucratic. No matter how frequently staff supply the parole process with reports on my progress, they are always instantly out of date as I complete a further town visit, period of work, etc.
The present focus is to persuade the parole board that, even though I haven't done much out in the community at this point, by the time May arrives I will have been spending 6 out of every 7 days outside of the prison, had a dozen town visits and three or more home leaves. In addition, all relevant staff - including my probation officer - seem content to recommend release at that point.
In other words, this is the stage where I must persuade the Board that I am not a hopeless case and that I should go forward to the hearing in May. Need I bother to say that if they refuse me that opportunity to argue for release, then various forms of hell will be raised...?!


  1. It is the last bit you said, that I like! I am the Chief Stoker/Dungeon Keeper. My job is not to make Prisoners, like yourself, suffer. That would be a pointless exercise really.
    No, I'm here to make those suffer the torments of Hell, who work for the System, but are really fakes! They know who they are, they will not be having a nice time anymore, on the back of a corrupt, non-democratic system. They will get to like the pain they get, as I shall teach them!
    You won't be part of this system, as 30years is enough torture for you!

  2. Presumably after you've got through all that, you can get a job teaching horses how to climb trees. :-)

    If the plonkers *do* knock you back, then raise hell, *but* in a careful and calculated fashion. Use their own 'rules' back against them if you possibly can.

  3. It all sounds very complicated, I wish you well with it, and I wish you a smooth journey out.

    However, I am curious about the kinds of hell you might raise; it could be so entertaining! Lol! (jk)

  4. It all sounds very complicated, I wish you well with it, and I wish you a smooth journey out.

    However, I am curious about the kinds of hell you might raise; it could be so entertaining! Lol! (jk)

  5. Good news update! The parole board have granted me an oral hearing to argue for release in May. Ben.


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