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"A very small proportion" of offenders released on life license commit another crime, said the author of a report on how risk assessments are failing the public and prisoners.
Chief Inspector of Probation Liz Calderbank told Daybreak the "vast majority" of prisoners released on life license "re-integrate safely" and "go on to lead productive and successful lives".
However, she warned against the restrictive nature of risk assessment criteria and felt there was more to be done to assist serious offenders leaving prison.
Life sentencing has been used to punish the most severe crimes since the suspension of the death penalty in 1965.
According to a new report from the inspection of life-sentence prisoners:
- Life sentences are given to those guilty of murder, manslaughter and rape.
- While whole-life tariffs are available, most prisoners will be released on parole at some point - the average time served on a mandatory life sentence in 2011 was 16 years.
- Temporary licence allows the inmate to leave the prison for a short period of time - whether visiting a wedding or an overnight visit.
- Prisoners who were released on temporary licence who were not being properly risk assessed, the inspection of life-sentence prisoners found.
Killers and rapists are roaming the streets because of the prison service's failure to complete a full and proper risk assessment before they leave prison, a scathing new report has found.
Basic elements of risk assessments were missing, not adequately filled in or there was "confusion" over who was in charge of the report, the inspection of life-sentence prisoners found.
One unidentified prison changed its paperwork for releasing life-sentence prisoners on temporary licence so the section dealing with risk of harm to others was removed to "simplify the process".
Chief Inspector of Probation Liz Calderbank said prison governors were "not being supplied with sufficient, accurate information" and in a small number of cases nor was the Parole Board, which determines whether prisoners can be safely released into the community.