Think Pieces

Comment on new Risk Management Authority report

6 July, 2023

In 2021-22 the RMA conducted a qualitative research project focussed on the experiences of release, community integration and recall of individuals subject to the Order for Lifelong Restriction culminated in a report entitled ‘Initial Insights Into Experiences of Release, Community Integration and Recall for Individuals on the Order for Lifelong Restriction’.

The Order for Lifelong Restriction (OLR) is a sentence given to people convicted in a High Court of a serious violent offence (other than murder), a serious sexual offence, an offence which endangers life, or an offence which indicates a tendency to serious violent, sexual and life-endangering offending. People with an OLR will be subject to risk management for the rest of their life, and this includes time in prison, the potential for Parole and therefore time in the community. The sentence is designed to protect the public from the risk of serious harm.

As an organisation that promotes the rights and wellbeing of victims of crime, VSS is disappointed that this research does not consider OLRs from a victim safety perspective.

Victim Support Scotland highlights these important points:

  • OLRs are essential for victim and public protection. People affected by crime must be put at the forefront of any decision to release a perpetrator on an order of lifelong restriction, and their safety must be paramount.
  • If a perpetrator who has been given an OLR is released into the community, we strongly encourage professionals to complete robust risk assessments to ensure a victim’s safety is not compromised.
  • Perpetrators released into the community who have an OLR must be monitored closely, with recall to prison always an option if they do not complete all of the conditions related to their release into the community.
  • We encourage professionals to closely monitor any individual on an OLR who is released into the community, that risk assessments are completed, and re-offending against any member of the public is extremely minimised.

We welcome recommendations that:

  • Perpetrators have greater understanding of any risk management plans (RMPs) and their overall sentence to ensure they adhere to their license conditions.
  • Justice Social Workers are appropriately trained in community release of prisoners on OLRs.
  • OLRs are reviewed in the future and include the views of victims and victims’ organisations.