Sixty-three violent criminals in Category A prison ‘approved for direct release into the community last year’

Sixty three violent criminals were approved for release straight from top-security prisons into the community last year, it has been reported.

The shocking figures emerged in the wake of the John Worboys fiasco, who was initially deemed fit for parole before his victims launched a successful legal challege.

Justice Secretary David Gauke has demanded a list of at least six inmates who were released from Category A jails in 2016/17.

He was understood last night to be seeking urgent assurances that all the rules were followed.

Figures handed to the High Court by the Parole Board show 63 prisoners in total were released from Category A jails, which hold murderers and rapists, in the year to March 2017.

A more detailed breakdown, excluding prisoners who had been recalled, showed six were released “directly” into the community.

Mr Gauke told MPs: “I have sought the Department’s reassurance that there is nothing to be concerned about.”

The High Court judgement in the Worboys case warned there must be “strong reasons” to justify direct release from a Category A jail.

It urged a “more cautious” approach and said: “There are obvious advantages in subjecting a prisoner to regimes of lessening stringency in order properly to test the robustness of the risk assessment.”

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