There are three prison temporary release schemes whereby any eligible prisoner can be temporarily released from prison before the end of their sentence. In order to ensure public safety and maintain public confidence in the system, prisoners are only released on temporary licence after they have been assessed and approved for temporary release by a panel made up of:
- the prison governor
- the prison probation officer
- the prison psychologist
- the relevant unit manager
- the head of residence
- an independent member of the public
Release on Temporary Licence (ROTL)
ROTL is a recent initiative in Jersey whereby, in certain circumstances, a prisoner may be allowed to leave prison on a temporary licence. It is restricted to day release, overnight stays, weekend leave and compassionate leave. Whilst the Probation Service is involved in undertaking a home visit to assess the home circumstances, there is no supervisory component to a ROTL.
Individuals on ROTL can be:
- working outside of the prison
- going home for day release or overnight stays
- looking for employment
- receiving instruction or training
- going home for special occasions, such as Christmas
- going home on compassionate grounds, eg in the case of a bereavement
Temporary release is a privilege, not a right. All prisoners who are given temporary release have to return to prison at the end of the agreed period of release. Any ROTL is subject to conditions with which the prisoner must comply, eg to not go into licensed premises. ROTL is monitored by the prison authorities and any breach of the conditions can result in this privilege being withdrawn.
Home Detention Curfew (HDC)
The HDC scheme has recently replaced the electronic tagging scheme (TRMS). Similar to TRMS, it enables prisoners to live outside prison, provided they do not break the rules of their curfew. The scheme helps them to prepare for life after release.
A probation officer will prepare a report assessing the prisoner’s suitability for HDC, considering the release address and highlighting any victim issues.
The honorary police play a key role in enforcing the curfew. They will visit the prisoner’s release address at least once a week, between the curfew hours of 9pm and 7am. Should the prisoner not be there, the honorary police will notify the States of Jersey Police. Any inappropriate conduct raised during these visits may result in an increase in the frequency of visits to ensure the prisoner is adhering to the conditions. The honorary police will keep a log of all visits, and record whether there are any breaches. Any record of unusual or suspicious behaviour will be kept and reported to the prison.
Should there be a breach of the HDC conditions, the prisoner may be sent back to prison.
Young Offender’s Institute (YOI) Licence
A YOI Licence allows for early release of any prisoner under the age of 22 who is eligible. They are released on YOI licences at the earliest possible release date (when two thirds of the sentence is served). They must report to the Probation Service until their sentence is served. This helps manage the young offender’s reintegration into the community.
There are certain conditions the young offender needs to adhere to in order to fulfil their term on licence. The main conditions are to:
- not take any action which would jeopardise the objectives of the supervision which are to protect the public, prevent re-offending and help successful resettlement into the community
- not travel outside Jersey without the prior written permission of the Chief Probation Officer
- undergo random drug-testing as required by the probation officer
Should the conditions of the order be breached, the offender may face a fine or be sentenced to return to prison for up to 30 days.