Justice Secretary David Gauke: Overhaul of parole system gives victims ‘reassurance, which has not existed up until now’

Justice Secretary David Gauke: Overhaul of parole system gives victims ‘reassurance, which has not existed up until now’

Justice Secretary David Gauke has announced an overhaul of the parole system in the hopes of preventing another John Worboys case.

Monday, February 4, 2019

The Justice Secretary has said that an overhaul of the parole system will give victims “reassurance”, and ensure another case like John Worboys will not happen.

Last year the Parole Board sparked a backlash after ruling that Worboys, one of the country's most notorious sex offenders, was safe to be freed after around a decade behind bars.

Victims will be now able to challenge decisions to release the most dangerous criminals without having to resort to costly court battles.

David Gauke told talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer: “We are doing a full review, which is described as a tailored review, of the parole board and we will consider that option.

“We have already made this case much more transparent. Previously victims did not get any explanations as to why a decision was made.

“They now get a summary of why the decision has been made and in terms of this process this will be looked at by a judge.

“I think the reconsideration mechanism is a very robust one and one that will provide a lot of reassurance to victims.

“If a decision is made that they don’t like, it is properly checked, the tyres are kicked and that they have got that reassurance, which has not existed up until now.”

 

'Give victims that second chance' 

Under the new "reconsideration mechanism", victims who believe a decision to be fundamentally flawed will submit their concerns via the Justice Secretary.

These applications will be assessed by a dedicated team within the Prisons and Probation Service.

Mr Gauke said the new mechanism should mean “we do not see a repeat of the Worboys-type case”.

“We are introducing a reconsideration mechanism because in the past when the parole board had made a decision that was it.

“There was nothing the victims could do other than taking a judicial review. What we are now saying is that having already made changes so that victims get more information as to why a decision has been made.

“They can then raise their concerns; they can raise that with the Ministry of Justice. If there is a case that needs to be reconsidered, it can then be put to a judge who can look at it again in case there are flaws in the procedure or something badly wrong with that decision.”

He added: “That was not available in the Worboys case – the decision had been made – there was nothing anyone could do other than go through a judicial review.

“Now we can give victims that second chance to say ‘hold on, there is something wrong here’ and that it needs to be looked at again.

“That means we should not see a repeat of the Worboys-type case that we saw last year.”

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