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2. 1. Applicants in prison

Some applicants may be hoping to study during agreed release periods from prison. Others may also be applying from within prison, with an intention of taking up a course on release. 

Applicants on agreed release periods

Release on Temporary Licence (ROTL) means a person is able to leave prison for a short time. A person may be granted ROTL to undertake a vocational/educational programme.

Only certain people in prison can apply for ROTL. Some, who are assessed as high risk or have been convicted of certain types of offences (such as terrorist acts) will be restricted. Even if eligible, permission to leave on day release will depend upon whether the governor of the prison is confident that it is appropriate.

People who are granted temporary release comply with their conditions at a consistently high rate; well over 99% of all temporary releases are completed successfully.

  • For a person to be granted ROTL to attend an education program, they will be subject to a comprehensive risk assessment by the prison in which they live.

    The assessment will consider –

    • The suitability of the placement/programme
    • The location and travel arrangements
    • Results of any recent drug tests
    • Behaviour in prison, sometimes including enhanced monitoring
    • Reports, case notes and feedback from any statutory staff involved in monitoring or supporting the person inside the prison
    • Input from other agencies in the community – the police, other statutory or third sector organisations either supporting victims or the person in prison
    • Possible impact on any identified victims
    • Public perception

    Decisions on temporary release are taken by the prison governor or delegate (acting on behalf of the Secretary of State). By the time a person is released to attend an education programme, the Secretary of State must be satisfied that the person does not pose unacceptable risk of failing to comply with the terms of the release.

  • When attending their course, the person must adhere to prison rules. The person’s Resettlement Day Release (RDR) licence will specify the time, location and purpose of their release. The person will be expected to fully adhere to the terms of their RDR licence. Any breach of the terms of the licence will lead to   and may lead to the cancellation of the placement.

    A student on ROTL would also be expected to fully comply with the reasonable instructions of the University they are attending, including in timekeeping, performance and general conduct.

    The person would also be required to agree to the disclosure of previous unspent criminal convictions, in order that the provider is able to effectively manage their placement.

    Once ROTL has been granted and the student has begun attending university, the prison will continue to monitor the student. A regular board will convene to discuss the ROTL placement even where no concerns are raised.

  • A university might be asked to complete a number of tasks for the relevant prison.

    This will include –

    • Being clear about the types of tasks a person will be expected to undertake throughout the placement
    • Monitoring the timekeeping, performance and general conduct of the student throughout the placement, making reports to the prison at agreed intervals.
    • Staff at the University participating in meetings at agreed intervals to review the student’s progress on the program
    • Informing the prison of any breach or suspected breach of the terms of the RDR licence or of the University’s rules
    • Not asking the student to undertake any anything that could constitute a breach of their RDR licence
  • There are a number of ways in which a provider may choose to support a student in this position.

    This might include –

    • Be aware of the student’s licence conditions – it may not be possible for them to attend study sessions or events outside of the agreed hours that they are permitted to on their licence
    • Consider reasonable adjustments for submission deadlines if delays are out of the control of the student (e.g. if the prison cannot give them online access in time to submit a piece of work)
    • Providing regular feedback on progress progressing as well as finding out how are they feeling about the program
    • Establishing a single point of contact between the prison and University who can liaise if any matters arise

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