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Dean Kingham was invited by the BBC to take part in the discussion

Dean Kingham, Head of Prison and Public Law at Swain & Co Solicitors was invited by the BBC to take part in the discussion.

He cannot as a result of a Parole Board hearing, but he had this to say:

"The Independence of the Parole Board needs to be maintained. Lord Mostyn recently in the case of Wakenshaw recognised the Ministry of Justice had interfered with the independence. The Minister effectively sacked the previous Chairman, Mr. Hardwick. Caroline Corby takes up her role as Chair at a critical time at the Board. We welcome her and hope she continues with the great work that was being undertaken by Mr. Harwick. Caroline will no doubt need to be robust with the Justice Minister, Mr. Gauke.

Mr. Gauke is currently consider the responses to the recent consultation about a review mechanism of Parole Board decisions. Within the consultation it was suggested the right of review would be automatic following any decision by the Board to release a prisoner. This is preposterous. It encroaches directly on the independence of the Board and completely undermines the Board's purpose. Judge's in Judicial Review proceedings have long referred to the Parole Board's expert risk assessments.

The Board takes tough decisions, but has a statutory legal test namely, whether it is no longer necessary for the protection of the public that the individual continues to be confined in closed prison?

They focus on public protection. If they have any doubt they favour public protection and keep the person in prison.

The serious rate of re-offending is very low, which confirms the Board is doing an excellent job. By the nature of the Board's work one has to expect we will never be in a position whereby there is never any re-offending.

We need to make sure prison properly rehabilitates and provides real opportunities on release for employment. In prison all too often prisoners cannot effectively maintain family ties. Family is a key risk reduction tool, often overlooked.

If a prisoner is released with good support, employment/education opportunities, the ability to maintain family ties and appropriate accommodation we give them the best chance of re-integrating into society successfully. Unfortunately, what we have due to significant cuts is often poor support, issues around accommodation and often many are released without employment."

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