Following our End Friday Releases campaign, releases from prison on a Friday will end in the majority of cases from the middle of December. This change will help to make sure people have more time to access essential services such as housing and health before they close for the weekend.
The new policy framework was published on 22 November following the passing of the Offenders (Day of Release Act) in June.
The change means that there will be a presumption that sentenced adult prisoners who have served at least 28 days in custody from date of sentence, and who are due for release on a Friday or the day before a bank/public holiday, will be released one working day earlier. This change also applies to people who have been recalled to prison if they have served, cumulatively, at least 28 days in custody since the date of their sentence.
This policy does not apply to:
– People released on Home Detention Curfew.
– People serving indeterminate sentences.
– People subject to discretionary release authorised by the Parole Board.
– People not serving at least 28 days in custody from the date of sentence.
Probation practitioners will also be able to apply to prisons for someone to be released an additional working day earlier where they judge that this would better support resettlement needs.
The new policy is different for children who, if due for release on a Friday, would be released two days early unless exceptional circumstances apply.
Transitional arrangements will apply to all adult releases scheduled between Friday 15 December and Friday 29 December 2023. Whilst there will be a presumption that releases will happen on the Thursday before (ie 14, 21 and 28 December), if resettlement plans are already in place and mean Friday would be more suitable, Community Offender Managers do not have to change their existing release plans.
We are really pleased to see this change finally come in after campaigning over recent years to highlight the problems of Friday prison releases. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to making this campaign a success, including our service users and staff, other organisations in the sector, MPs and Peers who took it through the Commons and the Lords, and everyone who supported us online.