Revealed: More than 60 violent criminals including murderers and rapists were released straight onto Britain’s streets in one year – as row over Worboys’ parole fiasco intensifies
- Mr Hardwick argues Mr Gauke should ‘accept responsibility for his mistakes’
- He said Ministry of Justice officials omitted details about Worboys’ history
- The Parole Board was no more at fault for the release than the ministry, he said
- It emerged 63 Cat-A prisoners were released straight to British streets in a year
The row over the black cab rapist’s parole fiasco has intensified after it emerged 63 violent criminals were released back onto Britain’s streets last year.
MPs are demanding assurances the freed criminals – including murderers and rapists – had been properly vetted by the Parole Board before they were freed.
The Justice Secretary, David Gauke, has requested a list of all the Category A prisoners released directly into the community before being sent to an open prison.
It came as Mr Gauke was facing mounting pressure last night for refusing to share blame for failings in the black cab rapist case.
The sacked head of the Parole Board said Mr Gauke should ‘accept responsibility for mistakes’ which led to John Worboys being approved for release from prison.
Nick Hardwick said Ministry of Justice officials omitted crucial details about the sexual predator’s history from a dossier used in the decision, and the Parole Board was ‘no more at fault’ than the MoJ.
63 dangerous inmates released straight onto the streets in a year
A total of 63 prisoners in Category A high-security jails like Wakefield were released directly into the community in the 12 months to March 31 2017.
But figures show that over the financial year 2016/17, 57 of these prisoners were on Category A jails after being recalled, either from lower-category jails or after having been released completely.
Last night David Gauke, the Justice Secretary, demanded a list of all Category A prisoners released directly into the community – rather than spending time in an open jail first.
While acknowledging 57 prisoners have been recalled back to prison, he has asked for the specific details of six Category A prisoners, considered an ‘exceptional risk’ of escaping, who have already been released straight to an ‘approved premise’, colloquially called a ‘halfway house’.
The parole board had approved a similar plan for Worboys despite the fact he was a predatory sex attacker who police believe assaulted more than 100 women while working as a black cab driver in London.
It came as pressure grew on the Justice Secretary amid claims he had made the Parole Board chairman a ‘scapegoat’ for his own department’s mistakes.
The row follows Wednesday’s High Court ruling backing a legal challenge by victims that the Parole Board had wrongly assessed Worboys on the basis of 19 crimes he was convicted of, instead of the 100-plus allegations against him.
The secret hearing that cleared Worboys for release took place in November when David Lidington was Justice Secretary.
Mr Gauke, appointed in January, responded to the court ruling by sacking Mr Hardwick.
Mr Hardwick told the BBC: ‘The Secretary of State should, as I have done, accept responsibility for mistakes that were made. That’s the only way that things will be put right.
‘I absolutely accept that the Parole Board was at fault … I don’t accept we were any more at fault than the Ministry of Justice and I don’t believe the right lessons will be learned from this case if the only people accepting any responsibility for what went wrong here is us.
‘The dossier that the panel received … didn’t contain information, or sufficient information, about those other alleged offences and therefore the panel didn’t consider them.’
He said the Justice Secretary’s representative, who was at the hearing, ‘did not suggest the panel should have considered those other matters’.
He added: ‘I am not going to shift the blame on to people who work for me. I accept my share of responsibility – others should do so too.’
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