End of Custody Supervised Licence: Extension

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons am 12:37 pm ar 8 Mai 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Shabana Mahmood Shabana Mahmood Shadow Secretary of State for Justice 12:37, 8 Mai 2024

Here we go again. Never in this country have a Government been forced to release prisoners more than two months early. This is the price that the public are paying for a justice system in crisis and a Government in freefall.

The early release scheme has now undergone three major extensions in just six months: it was quietly started in October, when the Government began releasing prisoners up to 18 days early; in March it was slipped out that it had been expanded from 18 to 60 days; and now it has emerged through a media leak that it has been extended once again, this time to 70 days. Worst of all, the Government are doing all of this in secret. They have not responded to any freedom of information requests, parliamentary questions or even the Justice Committee with any useful details about this scheme. The Government are releasing prisoners but not the facts. The strategy is clear for all to see: say nothing, try to get away with it and get to the other side of the general election. It is shameless and, frankly, a disgrace.

The public and this House rightly expect the Minister to be transparent and honest, so let us see whether he will answer these basic and simple questions. Why the increase of early release to 70 days? How many offenders have been released in the six months since the scheme became operational? How will they ensure that the probation service has the time and resources to adequately assess risk and protect the public? And will he give a guarantee to the House today that this secretive scheme will not be extended again?