Strengthening victims’ voices in parole hearings
We are delighted that the Scottish Government has initiated a consultation on improving openness and transparency of parole. Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf has pledged that victims will be more involved in the parole process and will be able to receive information about the reasons behind parole decisions.
There is no role for the Parole Board in sentencing a prisoner as that is a matter for the courts. Neither can the Parole Board decide whether a sentence was fair in a particular case. However, the consultation proposes that victims and their families should be given information on the parole process at the earliest opportunity and that they should be able to make representations to the parole board.
It also seeks a broad range of views on increased transparency and support for decision-making; changes to the supervision and recall of individuals; and proposals to strengthen the independence and governance and accountability arrangements of the Parole Board for Scotland.
VSS CEO Kate Wallace said: “The time is right to make victim-centred changes to the parole process in Scotland. It is vitally important that victims and their families feel safe and secure. Parole processes are an essential element to achieving this and I hope that a wide range of people, including victims and their families, respond to this consultation so their views can help shape the future of our parole system.”
To submit feedback to the consultation visit: https://consult.gov.scot/justice/transforming-parole-in-scotland