What does being ‘on licence’ mean?
Some prisoners are released from prison ‘on licence’. This means that although they are not serving their sentence in prison they are still required to adhere to certain conditions whilst serving the remaining part of their sentence in the community. Time spent ‘on licence’ in the community is supervised by the Probation Service.
What are the conditions?
There are six standard conditions for prisoners serving determinate sentences i.e. a custodial sentence with a fixed length. The prisoner should:
- Behave appropriately and not commit further offences or undertake any activity that may undermine their attempts to resettle in the community.
- Maintain contact with their supervising probation officer and do what is asked of them.
- Allow their supervising probation officer to visit them at home if they need to.
- Live at an address approved by their probation officer and keep them informed of any changes of address (even if only for one night).
- Only do work, paid or unpaid, that has been approved by their probation officer and keep them notified of any changes in employment.
- Not travel outside of the United Kingdom. (Travel outside of the United Kingdom will only be granted in certain circumstances and then only very rarely).
Prisoners serving an indeterminate sentence (Life/IPP) have an additional condition placed on their licence as standard where the licence was issued after 16 May 2005. This is as follows:
- He/she shall be well behaved and not do anything which could undermine the purposes of supervision on licence which are to protect the public, by ensuring that their safety would not be placed at risk, and to secure his/her successful reintegration into the community.
There are also several additional conditions that may be imposed upon the offender. These include:
- Contact requirement
- Prohibited contact requirement
- Prohibited activity requirement
- Residency requirement
- Prohibited residency requirement
- Curfew requirement
- Exclusion requirement
- Supervision requirement
- Programme requirement
- Non-association requirement
- Drug testing requirement.
How will the prisoner know what their licence conditions are?
The prisoner will get a copy of their licence before they leave the prison. The licence will tell them of all the conditions they must meet and will inform them of when they should report to the probation office managing their licence.
What happens if the offender breaks the terms of their licence?
If an offender breaks the terms and conditions of their licence then they may be recalled to prison immediately, or depending on the circumstances, the offender might get a warning the first or second time they break the conditions of their licence. If the offender breaches their licence for a third time they will be recalled to prison.
How long will they be on licence for?
- Determinate sentenced prisoners, serving sentences of between 12 months and 4 years, where the offence was committed prior to 4 April 2005, will be on licence until the three quarters point of their sentence.
- Determinate sentenced prisoners, serving sentences of 4 years or more, where the offence was committed prior to 4 April, 2005, will be on licence until the three quarters point of their sentence.
- Determinate sentenced prisoners, serving sentences of 12 months or more, where the offence was committed after 4 April, 2005 will be on licence from release until the end of their sentence.
- Life sentenced prisoners will be on licence for the rest of their life.
- IPP sentenced prisoners will be on licence for a minimum of 10 consecutive years after which they can apply to the Parole Board (annually) for the licence to be terminated.
- Young offenders, aged under 21, who are serving 12 months or less will be subject to licence for 3 months.
- Young offenders, aged under 21, who are serving sentences of 12 months or more will be subject to the same time periods as adults.