Patrick Christys: This country is prioritising the rights of prisoners over the rights of society

Parole boards are playing roulette with young girls’ lives

Published

I think we’ve got our priorities all wrong. In this country we seem to be prioritising the rights of the prisoner over the rights of wider society.

We’ve seen loads of examples of this over the years – notably with terrorists. We’ve had people pledge allegiance to a caliphate, be convicted of numerous terror offences and openly say they want to carry out a terror attack and yet they still end up back on the streets.

Sometimes they require full time surveillance, which we obviously pay for, and that surveillance is largely futile if, in the case of the Streatham terror attacker who just nipped into a shop, stole a knife and stabbed two people before being shot dead.

But the case of Colin Pitchfork has really hammered it home.

I understand that we operate under the rule of law and people get sentenced, and then there’s a parole board which may or may not decide to release them early.

But all too often that parole board makes questionable decisions. John Warboys is a classic example – the parole board decided that it was safe to release the black cab rapist – 12 women, may have been more than 100. That had to be reviewed.

The 246 members of the Parole Board make risk assessments and decisions on whether prisoners can be safely released or moved to an open jail. A judge or former judge is sometimes involved. They deal with about 25,000 cases a year, and in 2016-17 about 80% of decisions were made by reviewing case papers, rather than at an oral hearing. So people you’ve never met decide whether or not a violent murderous paedophile that they’ve never met can be released back into the wild.

I wonder where members of the parole board live? I bet it’s nowhere near Colin Pitchfork. I think there should be one question and one question only for the members of the parole board to ask – would I let this individual move in next to my daughter? If the answer if no then they shouldn’t be released. Why take the risk? I don’t care about Colin Pitchfork’s human rights, I don’t think he has any. The fact is that the two girls he raped and murdered no longer have human rights, so why should he? He’s never been tested. He’s never seen a 15 year old in a short skirt walk past him.

Why take the chance? The parole board is playing roulette with young girls’ lives.