Courts or the Parole Board for Scotland may place restrictions on young people's movements, associations and behaviours for the purpose of managing risk to public safety post-release.
Sentences of less than four years
- Children or young people with sentences of under four years for non-sexual offences or who have not been given a Supervised Release Order (SRO) will be released halfway through their sentence, if not released earlier, without supervision.
- A SRO (under section 209 Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995) can be imposed by the court where an individual is given a sentence of one to four years and it is deemed supervision will be needed to protect the public from harm post-release until the end of the sentence.
- Children or young people convicted under sections 205(2) and 208 of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995 will be released on licence after serving half of their sentence and will be subject to licence conditions set by the Parole Board prior to their release.
- For the committal of sexual offences under Schedule 3 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, children or young people will be released on licence after serving half of their sentence and will be subject to licence conditions set by the Scottish Government and supervised until the end of their sentence. The Parole Board only becomes involved if the child or young person breach their licence and are recalled or are seeking re-release following recall.
- Extended sentence (under section 210 Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995) can be imposed by the court to require additional supervision on licence following completion of a period of detention if the court believes a person may pose a risk to the public post-release.
Sentences of four years or more
- Individuals sentenced to be detained for four years or more (including those subject to extended sentences) qualify to be considered by the Parole Board for Scotland for early release on parole after serving half of their sentence. Parole enables release of the person into the community on licence under the supervision of a community-based social worker.
- If the Parole Board does not grant parole at the half way point of their sentence, which is the earliest opportunity for release, the individual will continue to be able to be assessed for parole at regular intervals. If they are still in custody at the two-thirds point of their sentence, they will be released automatically on licence. This applies whether or not an extended sentence has been imposed.
- Where a child or young person under 18 has been convicted of murder under section 205(2) Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995, they will be sentenced to be detained "without limit of time". The individual qualifies for consideration by the Parole Board for Scotland for release on life licence when the detainment part of their sentence imposed by the court ends.
Parole Board for Scotland
Approximately 16 weeks prior to the child or young person being considered for release, a dossier - including reports from the social work service in the local authority the child or young person intends to reside - will be compiled and sent to the Parole Board for Scotland. This dossier supports consideration of and the setting of licence conditions, which will be in place until the child or young person's sentence end date. The child or young person will be provided with a copy of the dossier and given the opportunity to make written representations to the Parole Board on its contents.
The Children and Young Person's (CYP) Placement Manager acting on behalf of Scottish Ministers will set the licence conditions for release for those who have been sentenced to less than four years for sexual offences. The license will expire on the same date as the full sentence.
The Parole Board for Scotland sets the licence conditions for all children and young people sentenced under section 205(2) and 208 Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995. All children sentenced under section 208 are released on licence, which will expire on the same date as the full sentence. Children sentenced under sections 205(2) or 208 to detention without limit of time are released on life licence.
The licence has conditions which make clear what the person must do (for more information see National Objectives for Social Work Services in the Criminal Justice System: Standards - Throughcare).
A person released and returned to the community but still on licence or under supervision is supervised by a social worker from the local authority where they are residing.
Staff from the secure unit can contribute to setting the licence conditions based on assessments and interventions during their period in secure care.
Resources for this page
- Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995
- The Parole Board (Scotland) Rules 2001
- Sexual Offences Act 2003
- Families Outside Information Sheet Parole
- Parole Board for Scotland
- Scottish Government. (2004). National Objectives for Social Work Services in the Criminal Justice System: Standards – Throughcare. Edinburgh: Scottish Government.
- Scottish Government. (2018). Practice guidance: Convicted on Indictment Under Section 205(2) or Section 208 of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995. Edinburgh: Scottish Government.