Dr Luke Evans, Member of Parliament for Bosworth, raised the need for reforms to the parole board review system which put public protection as the primary concern while raising the case of Colin Pitchfork in Parliament.
The local MP and neighbouring MP for South Leicestershire, Alberto Costa, who have been working together on this issue, were thanked by Justice Secretary Dominic Raab for their “tireless campaign for parole reform” as he confirmed criteria overhaul puts public protection at the centre of decision making when parole boards assess possible release of prisoners.
Dr Evans raised the case of double child killer and rapist Colin Pitchfork, who was released by the parole board in 2021, prior to having his license revoked two months later after exhibiting ‘worrying behaviour’ around young women and was subsequently re-arrested.
The Leicestershire MPs had been calling for a “root and branch” review of the parole system, which Dr Evans said “failed the families of the victims and all those in our community” in 2021.
Dr Luke Evans, Member of Parliament for Bosworth, said “The decision to grant parole to Colin Pitchfork in 2021 put residents across our region at considerable unease and showed clear areas for reform within the system. Such failure, particularly when it relates to the safety and wellbeing of children, cannot be allowed to happen again.
“I am pleased to hear that public protection will be the overriding objective when considering whether a prisoner is eligible for parole with Ministers granted a say on the most serious of cases, such as Colin Pitchfork.”
Dominic Raab MP, Secretary of State for Justice, said “[The Government] will overhaul the criteria so that public protection is the exclusive focus of the decision making.
“We are already recruiting more parole board members with law enforcement experience because they have a different, more risk averse approach to public protection. We will [also] be introducing a Ministerial check over the most serious offenders which includes murderers, rapists, terrorists and child killers.”
Alberto Costa, Member of Parliament for South Leicestershire, added “I am grateful to my constituency neighbour Dr Luke Evans MP for once again raising the case of Colin Pitchfork and the important matter of parole reform with the Secretary of State for Justice.
“I’m pleased that the Government have committed to bringing greater oversight the parole system which, for too long, has often be an obfuscated and difficult system for victims and their families to navigate. I very much look forward to continue working alongside Dr Luke and Justice Ministers to ensure that public protection remains the primary concern.”