28 February 2020
The Terrorist Offenders (Restriction of Early Release) Act 2020 came in force on the 26th February 2020, having been introduced to ensure that terrorist offenders are not automatically released, without prior approval from the parole board.
The Act has inserted section 247A into the Criminal Justice Act 2003, having the overall effect that:
A terrorist offender's first eligible release point will only arise once two thirds of their sentence has been served.
All terrorist offenders have to be referred to the Parole Board for consideration of whether they are safe to release, prior to release being considered. Members of the Parole Board are specially trained to assess the risk of terrorist offenders.
A terrorist offender serving an extended determinate sentence, an extended sentence for public protection or a SOPC will be released at the end of their custodial term, if discretionary release is not directed by the Parole Board before that point.
Offenders who have already received a release direction, are unaffected by the changes made by the Act.
Schedule 19ZA has also been inserted into the Criminal Justice Act 2003 by the Terrorist Offenders (Restriction of Early Release) Act 2020 – listing the offences where an offender will be deemed to be a 'terrorist offender' for the purposes of the legislation, bringing relevant offences into the remit of the Terrorist Offenders (Restriction of Early Release) Act 2020. Part 1 of the Schedule details offences under counter-terrorism legislation, specifically the:
Terrorism Act 2000
Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001
Terrorism Act 2006
Counter-Terrorism Act 2008
Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Act 2011
Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015
Other amendments to the Criminal Justice Act 2003 are made under the Terrorist Offenders (Restriction of Early Release) Act 2020, to ensure that other legislative provisions interact with the new provisions of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, as they should.