Parole Board hearings may be opened to crime victims under planned review of the way it operates
- Justice Secretary Robert Buckland will announce a review of the parole system
- It could mean crime victims would be able to attend hearings for the first time
- Move follows criticism of the handling of black cab rapist John Worboys’ case
The Parole Board has been criticised for its secrecy, such as in the case of serial black cab rapist John Worboys
Massive reforms of the way the Parole Board operates will see hearings opened to victims for the first time.
Justice Secretary Robert Buckland will announce a root-and-branch review of the way the parole system operates.
Until now, the process has been criticised for its secrecy, such as in the case of serial black cab rapist John Worboys who was freed behind closed doors in 2018 before the High Court overturned the decision.
Under the plans, victims of crime would be able to attend the entire parole hearing, or watch over a video link, the Daily Telegraph reported.
The Press will also be able to attend, it will be proposed.
A review will also set out details of previously-announced plans to make hearings more like tribunals in an open ‘court’.
Victims can already provide ‘impact statements’ to parole hearings.
But under Mr Buckland’s proposals, to be published in a consultation paper next week, they could be extended to a right to attend the full hearing.
‘One of the considerations will be how and whether we could open it up and make it more transparent, building on the changes we have already made,’ a source told the Telegraph.
‘Potentially we could move them out of prisons. Parole boards have court-like features but they don’t have the same powers as a court like the power to compel witnesses to attend.
‘The review is about whether how it works needs to be more fundamentally addressed.’
A final decision on the reforms is due by the end of this year.