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Press article on the procedure by the joint chairmen
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26 February 1999

STATISTICS FOR THE PERIOD UP TO 1700 HRS ON THURSDAY 25 FEBRUARY 1999

The total number of applications received to date is 553 and 496 responses have been received from the Prison Service.

The number of Preliminary Indications issued is 413. Three hundred and ninety five Substantive Determinations have been made

 


12 February 1999

STATISTICS FOR THE PERIOD UP TO 1700 HRS ON THURSDAY 11 FEBRUARY 1999

The total number of applications received to date is 553 and 494 responses have been received from the Prison Service.

The number of Preliminary Indications issued is 407. Three hundred and ninety five Substantive Determinations have been made


5 February 1999

STATISTICS FOR THE PERIOD UP TO 1700 HRS ON THURSDAY 4 FEBRUARY 1999

The total number of applications received to date is 551 and 493 responses have been received from the Prison Service.

The number of Preliminary Indications issued is 407. Three hundred and eighty eight Substantive Determinations have been made


29 January 1999

STATISTICS FOR THE PERIOD UP TO 1700 HRS ON THURSDAY 28 JANUARY 1999

The total number of applications received to date is 549 and 489 responses have been received from the Prison Service.

The number of Preliminary Indications issued is 407. Three hundred and eighty three Substantive Determinations have been made


22 January 1999

STATISTICS FOR THE PERIOD UP TO 1700 HRS ON THURSDAY 21 JANUARY 1999

The total number of applications received to date is 548 and 488 responses have been received from the Prison Service.

The number of Preliminary Indications issued is 404. Three hundred and seventy eight. Substantive Determinations have been made


15 January 1999

STATISTICS FOR THE PERIOD UP TO 1700 HRS ON THURSDAY 14 JANUARY 1999

The total number of applications received to date is 548 and 486 responses have been received from the Prison Service.

The number of Preliminary Indications issued is 393. Three hundred and seventy four. Substantive Determinations have been made


8 January 1999

STATISTICS FOR THE PERIOD UP TO 1700 HRS ON THURSDAY 7 JANUARY 1999

The total number of applications received to date is 545 and 480 responses have been received from the Prison Service.

The number of Preliminary Indications issued is 389. Three hundred and seventy three Substantive Determinations have been made


18 December 1998

STATISTICS FOR THE PERIOD UP TO 1700 HRS ON THURSDAY 17 DECEMBER 1998

The total number of applications received to date is 537 and 466 responses have been received from the Prison Service.

The number of Preliminary Indications issued is 387. Three hundred and fifty nine Substantive Determinations have been made


4 December 1998

STATISTICS FOR THE PERIOD UP TO 1700 HRS ON THURSDAY 3 DECEMBER 1998

The total number of applications received to date is 530 and 458 responses have been received from the Prison Service.

The number of Preliminary Indications issued is 371. Three hundred and twenty six Substantive Determinations have been made


27 November 1998

STATISTICS FOR THE PERIOD UP TO 1700 HRS ON THURSDAY 26 NOVEMBER 1998

The total number of applications received to date is 526 and 453 responses have been received from the Prison Service.

The number of Preliminary Indications issued is 356. Three hundred and twenty two Substantive Determinations have been made.


20 November 1998

STATISTICS FOR THE PERIOD UP TO 1700 HRS ON THURSDAY 19 NOVEMBER 1998

The total number of applications received to date is 525To date 451 responses have been received from the Prison Service.

The number of Preliminary Indications issued is 348. Three hundred and one Substantive Determinations have been made.


13 November 1998

STATISTICS FOR THE PERIOD UP TO 1700 HRS ON THURSDAY 12 NOVEMBER 1998

The total number of applications received to date is 522To date 444 responses have been received from the Prison Service.

The number of Preliminary Indications issued is 334. Two hundred and ninety two Substantive Determinations have been made.


7 November 1998

[The following was issued in the wake of reports that the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland had 'intervened' in the case of a particular prisoner] 

The office of the Sentence Review Commissioners wishes to clarify the position of the Secretary of State in the Sentence Review process.Both the Secretary of State and the prisoner concerned have the right to make their views known after a preliminary indication is issued. If either of them challenge the preliminary indication, the process moves to the next stage. This takes the form of an oral hearing, when the views of both parties are examined by the commissioners. So when the Secretary of State avails of this right, she is not ‘intervening’. She is merely following procedure as laid down by law.

The substantive determination, which is the final judgement, always remains with the commissioners.

Click here for the guidelines issued to prisoners


6 November 1998

STATISTICS FOR THE PERIOD UP TO 1700 HRS ON THURSDAY 5 NOVEMBER 1998

The total number of applications received to date is 514.

To date 442 responses have been received from the Prison Service.

The number of Preliminary Indications issued is 323. Two hundred and fifty four Substantive Determinations have been made.


30 October 1998

STATISTICS FOR THE PERIOD UP TO 1700 HRS ON THURSDAY 29 OCTOBER 1998

The total number of applications received to date is 512.

To date 439 responses have been received from the Prison Service.

The number of Preliminary Indications issued is 302. Two hundred and twenty one Substantive Determinations have been made.


23 October 1998

STATISTICS FOR THE PERIOD UP TO 1700 HRS ON THURSDAY 22 OCTOBER 1998

The total number of applications received to date is 508.

To date 434 responses have been received from the Prison Service.

The number of Preliminary Indications issued is 258. One hundred and ninety Substantive Determinations have been made.


16 October 1998

STATISTICS FOR THE PERIOD UP TO 1700 HRS ON THURSDAY 15 OCTOBER 1998

The total number of applications received to date is 464.

To date 434 responses have been received from the Prison Service and 428 responses have been passed to the applicants.

The number of Preliminary Indications issued is 226. One hundred and forty seven Substantive Determinations have been made.


9 October 1998

STATISTICS FOR THE PERIOD UP TO 1700 HRS ON THURSDAY 8 OCTOBER 1998

The total number of applications received to date is 461.

To date 411 responses have been received from the Prison Service and 410 responses have been passed to the applicants.

The number of Preliminary Indications issued is 179. Ninety Eight Substantive Determinations have been made.


2 October 1998

STATISTICS FOR THE PERIOD UP TO 1700 HRS ON THURSDAY 1 OCTOBER 1998

The total number of applications received to date is 458.

To date 398 responses have been received from the Prison Service and 394 responses have been passed to the applicants.

The number of Preliminary Indications issued is 125. Seventy one Substantive Determinations have been made.


25 September 1998

STATISTICS FOR THE PERIOD UP TO 1700 HRS ON THURSDAY 24 SEPTEMBER 1998

The total number of applications received to date is 454.

To date 398 responses have been received from the Prison Service and 373 responses have been passed to the applicants.

The number of Preliminary Indications issued is 106. Forty five Substantive Determinations have been made.


18 September 1998

STATISTICS FOR THE PERIOD UP TO 1700 HRS ON THURSDAY 17 SEPTEMBER 1998

The total number of applications received to date is 445*

A total of 415 applications have been passed to Prison Service Headquarters.

To date 379 responses have been received from Prison Service Headquarters and 364 responses have been passed to the applicants.

The number of preliminary indications issue is 78. Twenty five substantive determinations have been made and so far all have been granted. Having said that, the granting of an application does not necessarily mean immediate release.See How We Operate.

*This total 445 is lower than last week's figure because we think it is less confusing if we do not count a main application and any supplementary to it as two applications - and this will apply in future. Otherwise superficially it might appear that there were more applications than prisoners! 


11 September 1998

STATISTICS FOR THE PERIOD UP TO 1700 HRS ON THURSDAY 10 SEPTEMBER 1998

The total number of applications received to date is 594. A total of 49 of these applications have been returned to the applicants because they do not conform with the criteria set out in the Act or because they were wrongly completed in other material respects.

A total of 394 applications have been passed to the Prison Service.

To date 345 responses have been received from the Prison Service and in excess of 180 responses have been passed to the applicants.

The number of preliminary indications issue is 31. Seven substantive determinations have been made. These 7 substantive determinations were for release under the scheme and the releases, which are calculated for determinate sentences by the Prison Service, took place today, 11 September 1998


RELEASE

The information below covers the period up to 1700 hrs on Friday 4 September 1998.

Since our last press release we have received a further 20 applications giving a total of 466 applications received. A total of 392 applications have been passed to Prison Service Headquarters and 31 are currently being processed by our staff.

43 applications have been returned because they clearly do not conform with the criteria set out in the Act or because in other material respects the form had been completed incorrectly.

158 responses have been received from Prison Service Headquarters and are being processed. Of the 158 responses, 63 are classified as republican, 66 are loyalist and 29 fall into other categories.

The Commissioners have made preliminary indications in respect of 15 determinate sentence prisoners. These have been issued to the Prisoner and Prison Service Headquarters today and they have 14 days in which to tell us whether they accept it or challenge it. If the preliminary indication is accepted by both, it is confirmed immediately in a substantive determination. It will be a matter for Prison Service Headquarters to calculate release dates in respect of determinate sentence prisoners. Top of Page


JOINT CHAIRMEN OF THE SENTENCE REVIEW COMMISSION CLARIFY STRATEGY FOR PRISONER RELEASE

27 August 1998

The joint chairmen of the Sentence Review Commission, Sir John Blelloch and Brian Currin, today took the opportunity to highlight the work of the Commission and to clear up any misunderstandings about their procedures.

This fulfils an obligation they made at their inaugural meeting in August, promising to regularly brief the press. Speaking in the Waterfront Hall, Belfast, Sir John Blelloch and Brian Currin said:

‘It has become clear to us that there is some misunderstanding of the system we are operating. We would like to take this opportunity at least to start to put that right.

The system works like this. It is for the prisoner to apply to us for release under the Act. We have made application forms available to them, together with a guidance note about the form and about the process. To date we have received four hundred and forty six applications.

When we get them, we have 7 days in which to check the forms and send a copy to the NIO (acting on behalf of the Secretary of State). The NIO has 3 weeks in which to send us their response to the application. A copy of that response is sent to the applicant. We in the meantime check both sets of papers and when we think they are ready, assign them to a panel of 3 Commissioners who are required to make a ‘preliminary indication’ of whether they are minded to accept the application or not, and in the latter case, why not. Applicant and respondent are given a minimum of 7 days notice that a preliminary indication is to be given.

The indication itself is sent to the applicant and the respondent and they have 14 days in which to tell us whether they accept it or challenge it. If the preliminary indication is accepted by both, it is confirmed immediately in a ‘substantive determination.’

If the determination means, as in a number of early cases it will, that the release date has already been passed, then the prisoner will be released on the first available day. If the date is set in the future, then release will be on the day concerned.

If, however, either prisoner or the respondent (ie the NIO) ‘challenge’ the preliminary indication, then that indication is set aside and the panel conducts an oral hearing at which applicant and respondent may be present and represented.

After the hearing the panel will make a determination which will be final, unless either applicant or respondent can show subsequently either that the circumstances have changed or that relevant information is available which the panel had not previously considered. In that case the panel can review the case and issue a further determination. Otherwise, the only course open to either applicant or respondent is to apply to the courts for judicial review of the panel’s decision.

The joint chairmen concluded by saying that there are three points in all this. First, the process is not one the Commissioners invented. It emerges from the Good Friday Agreement, the Act and the Rules made under the Act. Second, in general the same information is shared between applicant, respondent and Commissioners. Third, most of the stages of the process are governed by timings laid down under the rules. The main element that is not constrained in this way is panel work. How long that takes will depend on the number of cases before us. Top of Page

Note to editors:

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Dr Marjorie Mowlam, announced on 30 July1998 the appointment of the Sentence Review Commissioners.

The appointments are made under Section 1(1) of the Northern Ireland (Sentences) Act 1998 which received Royal Assent and came into force on 28 July.

There are 10 Commissioners including Joint Chairmen Sir John Blelloch and Brian Currin.

Four hundred and forty six prisoners have applied for release under the scheme as at 26 August 1998. A total of 375 applications have been passed to Prison Service Headquarters (NIO) and 33 are currently being processed by our staff. Thirty eight have been returned because they either do not conform to the criteria or have been completed incorrectly.

Of the 375 applications sent to Prison Service Headquarters (NIO), 83 responses have been received and are being processed. Of the 83 responses, 32 are classified as republican, 29 are loyalist and 22 fall into other categories. Top of Page


20 August 1998

The Joint Chairmen of the Sentence Review Commissioners, Sir John Blelloch and Brian Currin outlined in their press statement 14 August 1998 that they would provide updated figures on the number of applications received and the progress being made on a weekly basis.

The information provided below covers the period up to 1700 hours on Thursday 20 August 1998

‘Since our last press release we have received a further 11 applications giving a total of 429 applications received. A total of 366 applications have been passed to Prison Service Headquarters and 34 are currently being processed by our staff.

Twenty nine applications have been returned because the clearly do not conform to the criteria set out in the Act or because in other material respects the form has been completed incorrectly.

Twenty seven responses have been received from Prison Service Headquarters and are being processed. Of the 27 responses 6 are classified as republican, 7 as loyalist and 14 fall into other categories. We expect Panels to begin work on these 27 applications by the end of next week.

Joint Chairmen Sir John Blelloch Brian Currin

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