News

New parole reform plans provide greater transparency for victims

13 January, 2021

New regulations to Scotland’s parole system have been introduced to Parliament. The rules are intended to provide victims and their families with more information and greater transparency.

Under the new regulations people registered with the Victim Notification Scheme will be able to observe parole hearings remotely. The Parole Board will also publish summaries of parole decisions, which will go a long way to helping victims and their families understand and prepare for a perpetrator’s release. The rules ensure that the safety of victims and their families are considered during decisions about parole.

“This is an important step in creating a more transparent and victim-centred justice system in Scotland. These new rules will allow victims and their families to feel more included in parole decisions and have more immediate information about how decisions are made.”

Kate Wallace, Chief Executive of Victim Support Scotland, said:
“This is an important step in creating a more transparent and victim-centred justice system in Scotland. These new rules will allow victims and their families to feel more included in parole decisions and have more immediate information about how decisions are made, something we know concerns many of the people we support.

“It is however disappointing to see the new regulations have not considered campaigners’ calls for ‘Suzanne’s Law’, which would amend the Parole Board rules to allow a prisoner’s failure to disclose the location of a victim’s body to be taken into account when deciding whether or not to grant parole. We know for many families bereaved by crime that this is what they wanted to see in the changes to Scotland’s parole system and omitting this will be deeply worrying for many people in this situation.

“Victim Support Scotland is committed to supporting victims and their families to attend hearings remotely. It is vital that victims’ voices are heard through all stages of the criminal justice process.”

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