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Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008

Section 26: Release of certain long-term prisoners under the Criminal Justice Act 1991

241.This section amends the early release provisions contained in Part 2 of the 1991 Act for certain long term prisoners. These provisions apply to prisoners sentenced for an offence committed before 4 April 2005.

242.Subsection (2) inserts new subsections (1A) to (1D) into section 33 of the 1991 Act. New section 33(1A) requires the Secretary of State to release long term prisoners (those serving sentences of 4 years and over) on licence at the halfway point in their sentence. New section 33(1B) excludes from (1A) those prisoners serving sentences for a sexual or violent offence listed in Schedule 15 to the 2003 Act. New sections (1C) and (1D) extend this provision to include offenders serving sentences for the relevant armed services offences. Subsection (3) makes a consequential amendment to section 33(2).

243.Subsection (4) provides that section 35, which concerns Parole Board recommendations to release long term prisoners after they have reached the halfway point of their sentences, does not apply to prisoners who are caught by the new duty to release at the halfway point in section 33(1A).

244.Subsection (5) provides that section 37, which concerns the duration and conditions of licences for prisoners released on licence under Part 2, does not apply to prisoners who are caught by the new duty to release at the halfway point in section 33(1A).

245.Subsection (6) inserts a new section 37ZA into Part 2 after section 37 of the 1991 Act. New section 37ZA makes provision for the duration and conditions of licences granted to long term prisoners released automatically on licence at the halfway point under section 33(1A). The licence will last until the end of the sentence, the conditions of the licence will be the standard conditions prescribed by the Secretary of State under section 250 of the 2003 Act and may also include other conditions in accordance with section 37ZA. When prescribing licence conditions, the Secretary of State must have regard to the following purposes of the supervision of offenders while on licence: protecting the public, preventing re-offending and securing the prisoner’s successful re-integration into society. The offender must comply with the licence conditions imposed, and failure to do so may result in the offender being recalled to prison under section 254(1) of the 2003 Act, with section 37ZA(4) expressly providing that section 254(1) is the recall power applicable to offenders who have been released on licence in pursuance of the new duty in section 33(1A). This supplements the provision in paragraph 23(1) of Schedule 2 to the Criminal Justice Act 2003 (Commencement No.8 and Transitional and Saving Provisions) Order 2005 (SI 2006/950) applying the section 254(1) recall power to release on licence under Part 2 of the 1991 Act.

246.Paragraph 8 of Schedule 27 provides that this section does not apply to long term prisoners who have already reached the halfway point of their sentence before the date on which section 26 is commenced

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