Getting Parole

Getting parole means you can leave prison or be released from custody before the end of your sentence. You will be kept under supervision, known as being ‘on licence’ or probation

You may be released or transferred to an open prison (‘open conditions’). 

The government will apply for parole on your behalf - you do not have to do anything. 

When you are eligible for parole 

When you are eligible for parole depends on what type of sentence you have. 

Life or indeterminate sentence 

You will be contacted either: 

  • 3 years before your earliest release date (‘tariff’) runs out if you are serving a sentence of 4 years or more; 

  • at least 6 months before your tariff runs out if you are serving a shorter sentence.  

Extended or fixed-term sentences 

You will be contacted up to 6 months before your earliest release date if you have either: 

  • an extended sentence; 

  • a fixed-term sentence of 4 years or more, given before 3 December 2012 for a serious violent or sexual crime committed before 4 April 2005. 

You are not eligible for parole if your sentence is less than 4 years.  

What happens next 

  1. You will get an application form to fill in. Ask a friend for help if you need to. You can also use a legal advisor. 

  2. The prison will put together some documents. They will include what you have done in prison and what you plan to do on release. 

  3. Check that the documents are correct. You can add evidence (‘representations’) showing why you should be released. 

  4. The Parole Board will decide either that you cannot be released or that your case needs a hearing. You may have to represent yourself if you cannot get legal aid or do not have a solicitor. 

It usually takes 6 months to get a decision about your case. 

Your case will be reviewed again within 2 years if you do not get parole. 

Challenge the Parole Board’s decision 

You may be able to challenge the Parole Board’s decision