|Previous Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|
Lord Fraser of Carmyllie: My Lords, perhaps I may respond briefly to the contributions that have been made. I am grateful to both noble Lords who have spoken for the broad welcome that they have extended to these orders. I am sure that my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Scotland will be gratified to know that the noble Lord thinks he is an appropriate person to take decisions. But more generally there is an appreciation that it is desirable in those cases of under 10 years that I have indicated that the greater independence of the Parole Board should be asserted. I can certainly give an undertaking to the noble Earl that the independence that is properly vested in the board is a principle that will be studiously maintained.
The noble Lord, Lord Carmichael, was quite properly concerned to ensure that if there were representations to be made by a particular member of another place or someone elsewhere with regard to the eligibility for parole of a particular prisoner, they should be heard. I can give him the clear reassurance that any representations made by Members of Parliament, or others, will be carefully examined and considered. Indeed, if the noble Earl were to look to the Parole Board (Scotland) Rules of 1993, he would see that there are now in place very much clearer and much more open requirements in relation to what will go before the
So far as the single homeless are concerned, certainly the question of supported accommodation for released prisoners is a matter that will always be of concern to the board. The board is unlikely to recommend any early release unless the prisoner has a proper home or a supported hostel place to return to. I recognise, as he does, the desirability of ensuring that there is sufficient provision for that. The matter of housing benefit is a rather different issue relating to a rather different point.
Lord Dean of Beswick: My Lords, perhaps I may ask the Minister one question relating to the subject of single people. I am sorry if he thinks that I am intruding. I happen to be the chairman of an organisation in Greater Manchester called SELCARE. I inherited it from the former distinguished Member of this House, Lord Rhodes. Our organisation has properties which we are able to offer to people as somewhere to go if they are viewed as suitable for release into the community. Is anything else like that in being? I am sorry to intervene, but I wanted to put that question to the Minister because our organisation works very well in our situation.
Finally, the noble Earl was concerned that parole decisions come too late. The new procedures are designed to ensure that the parole decision will come at least six weeks before the parole qualifying date. This should allow adequate time for pre-release arrangements to be made by social workers. If there are prisoners who do not have sufficient regard for them, I hope that the change in arrangements will redress the balance there.
|Next Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|