Fixed-term or sentence determination
After serving less than half of their sentence, prisoners sentenced to less than four years are automatically released and given unconditional release. For short sentences, there are different conditions.
An electronic tag can be used to release prisoners who have been sentenced for less than four years. This is called home detention curfew. Home detention curfew prisoners will continue to serve their sentences during this time and may be sent back to prison. Home detention curfew allows a prisoner to be released to any address in England, Wales, or Scotland. Learn more about home detention curfew at Families Outside.
After serving half of their sentence, parole boards will consider outside parole applications for prisoners who have served a sentence of at least four years. The parole board will grant parole and the prisoner will be granted a licence. If parole is denied (at this time or at a later hearing), the date at which the prisoner is freed will determine the release date.
If a prisoner is sentenced prior to 1 February 2016, and they have not been released on parole, they will be released on licence immediately after having served two-thirds of their sentence. The prisoner is still on licence and can be returned to custody at any time until their sentence expires.
If a prisoner is sentenced after February 1, 2016, and no parole is granted, they will be automatically released on licence. They have 6 months left on their sentence. The prisoner is still on licence and can be brought back in custody at any time until their sentence expires.
Parole Board can release prisoners on parole if they are not considered to be a risk to the community. They can choose to not be considered for parole.
Prisoners who are paroled will receive a licence that has certain conditions attached. Prisoners who break any conditions can have their parole revoked and sent back to prison.
Parole eligibility is the date on which a prisoner can be released on parole. Prisoners who have served a sentence that exceeds four years will be informed of their parole eligibility date.
Prisoners who are denied parole can be reconsidered for parole. A date may be set for parole release.
Sex offenses are served in short-term prisoners
After serving half their sentence, prisoner families who are serving a sentence less than four years and more than six months will be granted a licence. They can be returned to custody at any time until they are done serving their sentence.
Home detention curfew does not apply to short term prisoners serving sentences for sex offenses.
The rules for life prisoners are slightly different depending upon whether they were sentenced before or after 8 Oct 2001.
Sentences received on or after the 8th October 2001
A sentencing judge can set a punishment portion in open supreme court for prisoners who are sentenced to life imprisonment, or detention without limitation of time. Appealable decisions on the punishment can be made. After the punishment portion of the sentence is completed, the Parole Board will act as a tribunal and decide whether the prisoner should receive a life license. Information about the release on life license is available below.
Sentences that were sent before the 8th of October 2001
A punishment portion of a sentence that was handed down before 8 October 2001 will be administered to adult mandatory life prisoner who were sentenced before then. This will happen at a hearing before the High tennis court judge. The punishment portion will be decided in open court. After the punishment portion of the sentence is served, the Parole Board will act as a tribunal and decide whether the prisoner should receive a life license. Information about the release on life license is available below.
Life licence release
After the sentence is completed, life imprisonment can be reviewed by the Parole Board to determine the reasons for their continued detention or imprisonment.
The Parole Board hearing is open to the prisoner.
If the Parole Board decides that the prisoner should not receive a life license, the prisoner can be seen again within two years of the decision. However, it is possible to see the prisoner earlier. The Parole Board’s decision is final and cannot be appealed.
The licence comes with conditions. Prisoners can be sent back to prison if they break the conditions.
A specialist adviser can provide more information about the release of prisoners.