PAS receives numerous calls from prisoners struggling to get information on the progress of End of Custody Temporary Release (ECTR) applications. PAS contacted the ECTR team to clarify the process. The ECTR team told us that it sends regular lists of potentially eligible prisoners to prisons. The prisons then identify who is eligible and returns the paperwork to the ECTR team. The ECTR team says it then processes all the necessary checks and reaches a decision on release, which can take from 12 days to over 20 days depending on the case.
If a prisoner wants an update on their application they should ask their Offender Management Unit (OMU) to contact the Covid-19 OMU support hub for information. PAS can also contact the hub on a prisoner’s behalf. If a prisoner believes they should have been identified as eligible for ECTR, they can contact PAS for advice.
Some useful materials on ECTR can also be found on this link from the charity Appeal.
ECTR Case Study
A low risk, Category D (minimal security) adult male prisoner, serving four and a half years, made contact with PAS about the new government guidance on End of Custody Temporary Release (ECTR).
Prior to the Covid-19 restrictions, the prisoner had been working in the community on five daily ROTLs (release on temporary licence), visiting his partner and helping to care for their disabled child. After lockdown he was unable to provide this assistance and his partner was left to cope on her own.
Although he was within the last two months of his sentence, he contacted PAS after the prison informed him that he was ineligible for ECTR.
We advised him that he was eligible for consideration under ECTR guidance, and he was identified as such by the ECTR team. The prisoner signed the application paperwork for ECTR on 16th April 2020.
PAS corresponded regularly with the prison and the ECTR team, pressing for the prisoner’s application to be considered urgently, and for information regarding the application’s progress to be relayed to the prisoner and his partner. The prisoner’s ECTR was finally granted on 28th May.
This case highlights the distress caused to prisoners and their relatives by the lack of transparency surrounding ECTR applications. PAS has subsequently communicated to the head of the ECTR team the importance of keeping prisoner’s informed at this distressing time.