12.4 Parole or Temporary Release of Prisoners Convicted of Offences Against Children
Last reviewed Feb 2023
Date of next review Feb 2025
When a prisoner convicted of offences against a child is being considered for parole or is to be released from custody on a temporary basis, a practitioner from HMPPS must, in writing inform the Director of Children’s Services of the area where the prisoner is expected to reside on release, with a copy sent to the Head of the relevant Probation Local Delivery Unit (PDU).
Which HMPPS practitioner undertakes these tasks depends at what point in the sentence the case is held. For prisoners 10 months or less from release or who are in the parole window the lead practitioner will be the Community Probation Practitioner. In other circumstances, the case will normally be held by the Prison Probation Practitioner.
The Community Probation Practitioner (CPP) and the Prison Probation Practitioner must work collaboratively to ensure all safeguarding checks are completed effectively.
To support the RoTL assessment process, the Community Probation Practitioner (also known as Community offender Manager) will provide information to the Prison Probation Practitioner (also known as Prison Offender Manager) about any safeguarding issues.
The PPP is responsible for making a referral to the relevant safeguarding agency, but the CPP must support the PPP with the referral process by providing information regarding referral pathways e.g. the contact details for the relevant agency/department for any safeguarding issues.
The CPP must also alert the PPP to any safeguarding issues from a home circumstances check, so that appropriate action can be taken. It is essential that the CPP liaises with the PPP to ensure that any actions required are clear and all information is shared with relevant agencies/stakeholders. However, a CPP should report concerns to the Local Authority immediately if a child or vulnerable adult is suffering significant harm or is likely to do so.
Where the PPP is the Responsible Offender Manager, a CPP is required to:
Complete address checks and complete relevant sections of ROTL applications and ROTL-POL forms. Any safeguarding concerns that arise from an address check must be shared with the POM along with details of local arrangements for safeguarding referrals.
Where the CPP is the Responsible Offender Manager, a PPP is required to:
Lead on safeguarding activity and ensure that all safeguarding checks and referrals have been completed. Liaison should take place with the supporting POM to ensure a fully informed risk assessment is complete
Where the prisoner is being considered for parole, the Community Probation Practitioner preparing the report, with the support as necessary of prison based probation staff must request comments from the Director of Children’s Services on the prisoner’s release with particular reference to the effects which release could have upon any children at the address at which the prisoner is expected to live.
Probation staff must fully assess the home circumstances of the proposed release address to determine the suitability of the address for the purposes of RoTL or longer term release. All safeguarding risk issues must be assessed and risk management issues identified and adequately addressed. The assessment process should include interviews with those living at the address, a review of home visit reports, intelligence and information held from police or other agency professionals as well as system data checks, including ViSOR. If concerns are identified and risk management mitigations can not be applied effectively, recommendations to the RoTL Board should be clear the accommodation is not appropriate. For parole cases and in the case of RoTL, alternative accommodation options should be considered, such as an Approved Premises.
Depending on the risk involved, probation staff may conduct a home visit jointly with the police.
The significance of the relevant offence(s) for any child living or likely to visit the address must be established and children’s social care informed.
For any child identified by the Probation Practitioner as either living or likely to visit the address, the social worker must undertake an assessment of potential risk in relation to the release of the prisoner.
The social worker must identify in writing any child protection issues arising from the proposed release of a prisoner to a specified address and indicate any action that children’s social care may need to undertake to protect the child(ren) in the household.
The Probation Practitioner for the local area must share their report with the appropriate children’s social care.
If the prisoner is to be released to an address with a child(ren), a child protection enquiry must be initiated (see Known Offenders and Others who may Pose a Risk to Children