The first duty of any Government is to keep its people safe. The London incidents at Fishmongers’ Hall last November and in Streatham earlier this month only go to highlight the risk to public safety from released terrorist prisoners, which is why the Government is right to bring forward the Terrorist Offenders (Restriction of Early Release) Bill.
This legislation will ensure that half-way release for terrorist offenders will end, meaning that these offenders cannot be released without serving a minimum of two-thirds of their sentence and facing a thorough risk assessment by the Parole Board.
These measures will mean around 50 terrorist prisoners already serving affected sentences will see their automatic release halted.
New rules will apply to offenders sentenced for crimes including training for terrorism, membership of a proscribed organisation, and the dissemination of terrorist publications.
I support the Government’s action on this matter and spoke during the House of Commons debate last week to ask the Justice Secretary about the Parole Board, with particular regard to how it is held accountable in ensuring people are kept safe from those who seek to do us harm.
I welcome his assurances over reforms in this area. The Minister reiterated the commitment made in the 2019 Conservative Party Manifesto to a root-and-branch review of the parole system, to ensure that victims are aware and as involved as possible from the outset.
Other work being done will include stepping-up deradicalisation measures in our prisons. Further action through a new Counter-Terrorism Bill will enhance our country’s response to terrorism by keeping terrorists behind bars for longer and strengthening licence supervision.
This will introduce a minimum sentence of 14 years for the worst terrorist offenders and will stop the release of anyone given an Extended Determinate Sentence, meaning they will serve their whole sentence in prison.
These measures are vital in ensuring the safety of citizens in Crawley and UK-wide.
Henry Smith MP