On 18 December 2023, the second reading of the Victims and Prisoners Bill is scheduled to take place in the House of Lords. The measures in the bill are wide-ranging. Its main provisions include:

  • placing key victims’ code rights into law and reviewing compliance with the code
  • changing the requirements for making victim information requests during criminal investigations
  • requiring a compensation body to be established within three months of the bill receiving royal assent to deliver compensation to victims of the infected blood scandal
  • introducing various parole system reforms, including to allow the secretary of state to refer prisoner release decisions of ‘top tier’ offenders to the upper tribunal or high court
  • amending the process for the termination of licences for those serving imprisonment for public protection sentences
  • prohibiting whole life order prisoners from marrying or forming a civil partnership

Some of the bill’s provisions have previously been the subject of various Conservative Party manifesto commitments, government consultations, reviews and announcements. The government’s aim with the bill is to increase support for victims of crime and victims of major incidents, and to strengthen the parole system. This aim has been supported by parliamentarians and external stakeholders. However, concerns about various measures in the bill have been raised both within Parliament and externally.

The bill has been amended since it was first introduced in the House of Commons on 29 March 2023. This included 119 government amendments and one non-government amendment made at report stage in the House of Commons. This briefing focuses on how the bill changed as it went through the House of Commons.

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