‘No magic test' to stop reoffending, says adviser

Jonathan Hall QC, the government’s adviser on terror legislation, has stressed that there is ‘no magic test’ to determine the risks posed by a terrorist on release from prison.

Adding to the wave of criticism voiced after the government announced proposals to examine terrorist offenders with lie detectors, Hall said that it remains ‘impossible to guard against all risks’ of violent reoffending and that any system which handed over release decisions to ‘risk experts’ using polygraphs or any other method would be unacceptable.

He went not to say that terror sentencing decisions made by trial judges should not be minimised in favour of alternatives.

In a speech to the Henry Jackson Society, Hall warned that the Home Office pledge that convicted terrorists serve their full term behind bars could only have a limited effect, given that those eligible for release had usually not committed violent acts - such as possession of a document, or providing funds to a proscribed group.

He said: “For this category of offenders the sentences will continue to be modest – so discussion of making terrorists serve their full sentences should not overlook the reality that many terrorists will be released sooner or later even if they do serve their full sentence.”


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