The parole changes recommended by the justice and electoral select committee look to be a step in the right direction towards making parole a privilege again, not a right.
The current system is an absolute nonsense, as we saw with Mark Burton. Every single prison officer and prisoner knew Burton was a psychopathic thug who would offend again, but the Parole Board could only consider “proven allegations” and let him out.
When being tried and sentenced for an original offence, you get all the benefits of our justice system. You get to cross examine all witnesses, test all evidence, and a presumption of innocence unless found guilty beyond reasonable doubt.
But once you have been found guilty, then you should serve the full sentence, unless the Parole Board is convinced you will not reoffend. And I want the Parole Board to be able to hear any and all evidence. This is not a new trial. This is a subjective judgement on a person’s character – not a finding of fact. Yes there are risks in allowing unproven evidence, but the the risks of keeping someone in to serve their full sentence is less of a risk than allowing someone out early to reoffend.