Minister Kim Wilson revealed new parole rules today at Cabinet Office alongside  Premier Paula Cox, Prisons Commissioner Eddie Lamb and new Parole Board chairman Ashfield DeVent, as  well as representatives from the court and probation services. *Photo by Raymond Hainey
Minister Kim Wilson revealed new parole rules today at Cabinet Office alongside Premier Paula Cox, Prisons Commissioner Eddie Lamb and new Parole Board chairman Ashfield DeVent, as well as representatives from the court and probation services. *Photo by Raymond Hainey

THURSDAY, FEB. 2: New parole watchdogs would protect the public and help the rehabilitation of former prisoners, Attorney General and Minister of Justice Kim Wilson said today.

Government is to introduce legislation to set up two new courts to deal with offenders out on licence or on parole – with judges and magistrates given powers to send released offenders back to jail to finish their sentences for serious breaches of conditions or for shorter periods for minor breaches.

A new review court would check that former prison inmates let out of jail before finishing their full sentences are complying with all the conditions attached to their release.

A further re-entry court would decide on parole applications for all those who have been sentenced to four years or more behind bars.

Those sentenced to less than that would continue to have their applications for early release considered by the existing Parole Board.

The news came as Pembroke South East MP Ashfield DeVent was appointed as chairman of the Parole Board.

The new rules would also mean that offenders serving time for offences not involving violence or other aggravating features will be eligible for parole after serving one-third of their sentence.

Those sentenced for more serious offences would only be eligible to apply for parole after serving two-thirds of their sentence.

Ms Wilson, who outlined the proposals at Cabinet Office alongside Premier Paula Cox, Prisons Commissioner Eddie Lamb and Mr DeVent, as well as representatives from the court and probation services, said the changes would “tighten reins, fill gaps and further protect the community.”

She added that – in addition to ensuring public safety – Government had a duty to help offenders successfully reintegrate themselves to society after being released.