Release through Parole Board

Release through Parole Board

Life sentenced prisoners, IPP sentenced prisoners and recalled prisoners need to get approval from the Parole Board before they can be released. Prisoners who have had, or still have, problems with substance abuse or addiction, find this process especially challenging. Our clients come to us directly or by referral from their lawyers. Over a dozen lawyers from Liverpool to the South Coast have made referrals to us since we were founded in 2018.

New Connections work with men and women, and currently have clients in over 25 prisons up and down the country, during the months building up to a Parole Board hearing to help prepare a plan for dealing with addiction issues.

One of our therapists visits the client in prison, normally twice, to understand the issues they have been facing and how addiction has been part of their offending behaviour.

Plans can be developed which involve suitable interventions and/or accommodations options which recovery from addiction is central. The plans are tailored to the clients’ needs and this can allow the client to address any outstanding issues and provide necessary support to avoid relapses.

We are also able to liaise with Probation and the Prison Service if our client wishes us to do so.

Many of our clients tell us, and then prove that if they stay abstinent and embrace recovery, they will not re-offend and stay out of prison.

Step 1

Support in Prison

One of our counsellors will normally arrange two sessions with the client while he or she is still in custody and discuss historic problems, current issues and the client’s plans post release.

We look at all the reports on completed programmes and discover the attitude of Probation Mangers both in prison and the community as well as Substance Abuse workers in custody.

We discuss what the client wants to do on release. Where he/she wants to live, how they want to spend their time and what support they have available in the community.

We then explore options for housing (residential rehab, supported housing etc) that the client wants to consider.

This all enables us to build a plan that the client is happy with and that we believe the Parole Board is likely to support. It is not necessary for Probation to agree with our plans, although it helps if they do, because Parole Boards have frequently approved our release plans despite opposition from Probation.

Step 2

Evidence to the Parole Board

After seeing the client and reading the dossier our therapist will prepare a detailed report for the Parole Board. This report is approved by the client and his/her lawyer. No report is submitted, or information passed, to the PB without the specific consent of the client.

This report analyses the client’s addiction issues, how it has caused offending in the past and how release is necessary to enable the client to fully embrace recovery from their addiction.

The release plan includes proposed housing, support, membership of AA/NA etc and the continued support that New Connections will offer post release.

After submitting the report New Connections normally then attends the Oral Hearing to give more support to the client and to help present their case.

Step 3

Support after Release

Having a strong release plan is not only important to the client but to the Parole Board in making a Release decision.

Men and women who have longstanding problems with substance abuse, whether drugs or alcohol, almost always need to become abstinent and to embrace recovery if they are to change the behaviours which have led them to prison.

New Connections recognises that ‘recovery’ means more than just being abstinent. We therefore facilitate ex-offenders in joining NA or AA and attending meetings and finding a sponsor as well as providing an introduction to a potential mentor who can be available to help and advise the client as they rebuild their life in the community.

Step 4

Staying Free

One of the biggest problems for IPP prisoners and Lifers is, of course, the lifelong danger of recall. The rate of recall among IPP prisoners is preventing the IPP population from falling in UK prisons, even though no new IPP sentences have been handed out for several years.

Put simply IPP prisoners are being released but then recalled at almost the same rate. A similar problem exists with Lifers.

New Connections aims to ensure the best possible housing and support is given to ex-offenders from the day of release. Our involvement with housing extends beyond the initial 12 weeks if the client is going to residential rehab, or if Probation insist on Approved Premises. Many IPP prisoners and Lifers have been in custody for many years prior to release and they need support for years not months in adapting to life in a very changed world. This will include helping to gain ‘life skills’ like using the internet to claim benefits, handle household bills, sometimes to attend educational courses.

We also help look at employment opportunities, training opportunities and often initial periods of volunteering while the client is adapting to life in the community.




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