Release on Temporary License

Changes have been made concerning Release on Temporary Licence, aka, ROTL’s. Although I was very fortunate to get ROTL’s, the whole process to receive them wasn’t a very pleasurable experience even with it in place. It involves all kinds of risk assessments, internal reports, approval by the local police of the area you are to visit and you also need the support of your Probation. I don’t wish to get too bogged down in the bureaucracy and the politics of it, but I guess along with the changes, it comes down to governmental cuts, high profile absconds and further offending whist out on licence.

Without this process in place though, are people with convictions really supposed to be able to jump straight back into society and carry on where they left off? Absolutely ridiculous. ROTL’s are a pivotal part in the rehabilitation process and for someone who has served a lengthy sentence should be given the chance to rebuild. I know that this statement for some victims of crime will be a bitter pill to swallow, but this is the process within the confines of a sentence and at least lets someone redress the wrongs of their past.

I volunteered for a church for 6 months, a chance to take responsibility for myself other than to just get out of bed and not get nicked! I spent time reconnecting with my family, seeing the changes in society with regards to technology, look at jobs, etc. When you have been inside for a considerable amount of time all this above is needed to help reintegration. It also contributes to safe management and supervision when in the community on release. I also undertook paid employment which helped in my own release.

For those that have to go through the Parole Board process, you have to undertake ROTL’s before they even consider you for release on licence back into the community. So up comes your Parole Board and you haven’t been given the chance to experience life outside for 12 years. What do you think the outcome of the Parole Board will be? Lets put it this way, the odds are not favourable. These restrictions on ROTL’s are undermining opportunities for effective resettlement and rehabilitation and denying those of a lengthy sentence opportunities to progress in their sentence.

For myself, the simple things made all the difference and I certainly don’t take anything for granted. Being given the opportunity to resettle through ROTL’s helped me enormously. It gave me a chance to speak to people in their community, help people and upmost, redress the wrongs. When you have spent so long in cellular confinement, just being able to sit on a bench next to a river is a real joy. For some of those inside now, this simple action will not be a reality for them on ROTL. Sad.

The Alchemist

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