On 21 April 2023, the second reading of the Offenders (Day of Release from Detention) Bill is scheduled to take place in the House of Lords. It is a private member’s bill introduced in the Commons by Simon Fell (Conservative MP for Barrow and Furness). The bill is sponsored in the Lords by Lord Bird (Crossbench). It is supported by the government.

The bill would grant the secretary of state discretion to bring forward the release of a prisoner by up to two days in cases where their release date would otherwise fall on a Friday or the day preceding a bank or public holiday. The bill would also grant the same discretion in relation to the release of under-18s in secure children’s homes and secure academies and ensure consistency across the youth estate regarding releases.

When a prisoner is released they may have to access a range of services that are normally closed at the weekend or on a bank holiday. The government has said that it is sometimes challenging for people to access all the services they need in the time available. It has said this can lead to people failing to secure accommodation and can lead to increased risks of reoffending.

The bill was unamended in the House of Commons and passed third reading without division. The bill is also supported by the Labour Party.

Explanatory notes have been prepared with the consent of Simon Fell by the Ministry of Justice. References in this briefing to the bill’s explanatory notes are to those prepared for the bill when it was introduced in the House of Commons. At the time of writing, explanatory notes for the Lords bill were not available.

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