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Standard and Special Conditions

When an offender is released from prison they are required to comply with their standard and/or special conditions of release. These conditions are imposed by the Board.  Management of the offender’s parole and release on conditions  is the responsibility of the Community Probation and Psychological Service, Department of Corrections.

How long do release conditions last?

  • The Board must (by law) impose conditions for at least 6 months on an offender who is released from prison.  (If an offender is released after serving all their sentence in prison then the Board can only impose release conditions for 6 months).
  • The Board can choose to impose release conditions until 6 months after the offender’s statutory release date (the date when they must be released from prison).  If an offender is released on parole before their statutory release date then the Board can choose to impose the release conditions for a period of more than 6 months (all the time left until the statutory release date plus 6 more months).
  • If the offender is serving a life sentence or a sentence of preventive detention then the Board must impose standard release conditions on the offender for life.

Conditions of release

All offenders released on parole are subject to standard release conditions, set out in the Parole Act 2002, which must be imposed for at least 6 months.  The Board can also choose to impose special conditions in addition to the standard release conditions. 

Special conditions imposed by the Board may not be imposed for a longer time period than the standard release conditions.  The Board may suspend some, or all, of the standard release conditions if they are not compatible with the special release conditions that the Board wants to impose.

Standard Release Conditions

  1. The standard release conditions are that:
    1. the offender must report in person to a probation officer in the probation area in which the offender resides as soon as practicable, and not later than 72 hours, after release:
    2. the offender must report to a probation officer as and when required to do so by a probation officer, and must notify the probation officer of his or her residential address and the nature and place of his or her employment when asked to do so:
    3. the offender must not move to a new residential address in another probation area without the prior written consent of the probation officer:
    4. if consent is given under paragraph (c), the offender must report in person to a probation officer in the new probation area in which the offender is to reside as soon as practicable, and not later than 72 hours, after the offender's arrival in the new area:
    5. if an offender intends to change his or her residential address within a probation area, the offender must give the probation officer reasonable notice before moving from his or her residential address (unless notification is impossible in the circumstances) and must advise the probation officer of the new address:
    6. the offender must not reside at any address at which a probation officer has directed the offender not to reside:
    7. the offender must not engage, or continue to engage, in any employment or occupation in which the probation officer has directed the offender not to engage or continue to engage:
    8. the offender must not associate with any specified person, or with persons of any specified class, with whom the probation officer has, in writing, directed the offender not to associate:
    9. the offender must take part in a rehabilitative and reintegrative needs assessment if and when directed to do so by a probation officer.

Special Release Conditions

The Board can also impose special release conditions on an offender’s release.  Under the Parole Act 2002, a special condition can only be imposed to:

  • provide for the reasonable concerns of victims of the offender, or
  • reduce the risk of re-offending by the offender, or
  • facilitate or promote the rehabilitation and reintegration of the offender.

It can be seen from the wording of these phrases that the Board must consider the imposition of special conditions in each case.  For example the Board may be required to consider whether a condition will actually reduce the risk of re-offending, or consider whether a victim’s concerns could be considered ‘reasonable’.

Special conditions may be many and varied and may include conditions relating to:

  • Attendance at a post-release Board hearing to monitor the offender’s compliance with their conditions (there is more information about this below)
  • Residential restrictions requiring the offender to remain at a specified residence at all times or at times specified by the Board (there is more information about these restrictions below)
  • Requiring the offender to submit to electronic monitoring of compliance with any release conditions or conditions of an extended supervision order relating to the offender’s whereabouts
  • That the offender not contacting the victim(s) of their offending
  • The offender’s finances or earnings
  • Requiring the offender to participate in a programme to reduce the risk of further offending by the offender
  • That the offender not associating with any person, persons, or class of persons
  • Requiring the offender to take prescription medication (see below for more detail)
  • Prohibiting the offender entering or remaining in specified places or areas, at specified times or at all times.

Monitoring compliance with conditions

One of the special conditions the Board may impose on an offender upon release is that the offender’s compliance with their conditions are monitored after their release.  This special condition is in addition to the normal processes that the Community Probation and Psychological Service have to ensure the offender complies with their conditions. 

The condition allows the Board, no more than once every 3 months, to:

  • ask the Department of Corrections for a report on how well the offender is adhering to their conditions of release,
  • require that the offender to attend a hearing with the Board.  At the hearing the Board may vary the offender’s release conditions, or add to them, without an application being made by their probation officer.

If the offender is on parole or compassionate release the Board may monitor their compliance with their release conditions for up to 12 months from the date of their release.  At a post-release hearing the Board may also impose an order on the offender that has the same effect as an interim recall order (but without the need for an application being made).

If the offender has been released at their statutory release date the Board may only monitor their compliance with conditions for up to 6 months, as the Board may only impose conditions on the offender for that length of time.  The Board is not able to recall the offender to prison after their statutory release date.

Residential Restrictions

Residential restrictions allow for a supervised and monitored release of an offender back into the community.  In some, but certainly not all, cases, the gradual return to freedom provided for by the residential restrictions regime is seen as the best way to balance the need to reintegrate an offender back into the community safely whilst managing the risk to the community posed by the offender.

Residential restrictions can be imposed on an offender either at all times or at specified times.  The use of specified times (rather than at all times) might be used where it is considered that the offender being in employment will reduce their risk of re-offending, or to monitor the offender at potentially high-risk times of the day (or night), or for any other reason depending on the offender’s case.

An offender subject to residential restrictions:

  • is under the supervision of a probation officer and must cooperate with, and comply with, any lawful direction given by them 
  • is subject to electronic monitoring
  • must not leave the approved residence, either at times specified by the Board or at all times, except in the circumstances set out below
  • must keep a copy of their release licence (issued by the prison) in their possession.

An offender may only leave their approved residence:

  • to seek urgent medical or dental treatment
  • to avoid or minimise a serious risk of death or injury to the offender or any other person
  • for humanitarian reasons approved by a probation officer.

If an offender is required to be at their approved residence at all times, the offender may only leave the residence with the approval of the probation officer to:

  1. comply with any special conditions
  2. seek or engage in work
  3. attend training or treatment programmes
  4. attend a restorative justice conference
  5. carry out any undertaking arising from a restorative justice process
  6. for any other purpose specifically approved by the probation officer.

Prescription Medication

No offender may be made subject to a special condition that requires the offender to take prescription medication unless the offender:

  1. Has been fully advised, by a person who is qualified to prescribe that medication, about the nature and likely or intended effect of the medication and any known risks, and
  2. Consents to taking the prescription medication.

An offender withdrawing consent to take prescription medication is not in breach of their conditions, however, it may give rise to a ground for recall.

Extended Supervision Order (ESO) – Setting of the Special Conditions

Some offenders are subject to a court imposed extended supervision order, which may last up to 10 years.  Once an order has been made then the Community Probation and Psychological Service may apply to the Board to impose special conditions on the offender.  These special conditions are in addition to the standard conditions of the ESO.  All the special conditions listed above can be imposed in much the same way as if the offender were being released on parole.

The standard extended supervision conditions which, in most cases, will already apply to the offender are:

  1. The offender must report in person to a probation officer in the probation area in which the offender resides as soon as practicable, and not later than 72 hours, after commencement of the extended supervision order;
  2. The offender must report to a probation officer as and when required to do so by a probation officer, and must notify the probation officer of his or her residential address and the nature and place of his or her employment when asked to do so;
  3. The offender must obtain the prior written consent of a probation officer before moving to a new residential address;
  4. If consent is given under paragraph (c) and the offender is moving to a new probation area, the offender must report in person to a probation officer in the new probation area in which the offender is to reside as soon as practicable, and not later than 72 hours, after the offender’s arrival in the new area;
  5. The offender must not reside at any address at which a probation officer has directed the offender not to reside;
  6. The offender must obtain the prior written consent of a probation officer before changing his or her employment;
  7. The offender must not engage, or continue to engage, in any employment or occupation in which the probation officer has directed the offender not to engage or continue to engage;
  8. The offender must take part in a rehabilitative and reintegrative needs assessment if and when directed to do so by a probation officer.
  9. The offender must not associate with, or contact, a person under the age of 16 years, except in the presence and under the supervision of an adult who-
    1. has been informed about the relevant offending:
    2. has been approved in writing by a probation officer as suitable to undertake the role of supervision:
  10. The offender must not associate with, or contact, a victim of the offender without the prior written approval of a probation officer;
  11. The offender must not associate with, or contact, any person or class of person specified in a written direction given to the offender for the purposes of this paragraph.

In these conditions, contact includes communicating, or attempting to communicate, with a person by any means, such as by telephone or via the internet.

The Board may suspend any of the standard extended supervision conditions if they are not compatible with the special conditions that the Board chooses to impose.  Both the offender and their probation officer are able to apply to the Board to have the special conditions of an extended supervision order changed or removed.