An Order for Lifelong Restriction (OLR) is a sentence introduced in Scotland in June 2006. The OLR provides for the lifelong supervision of high risk violent and sexual offenders and allows for a greater degree of intensive supervision to manage the risk that those individuals pose. The OLR is designed to ensure that offenders, after having served an adequate period in prison to meet the requirements of punishment, do not present an unmanageable risk to public safety once they are released into the community. The period spent in the community is an integral part of the sentence, which lasts for the remaining period of the offender’s life.
After conviction, if a Judge considers at his/her own instance, or on the motion of the prosecutor, that the risk criteria* may be met, he may issue a Risk Assessment Order. The High Court will then appoint an RMA Accredited Risk Assessor to prepare a Risk Assessment Report (RAR). The Risk Assessor will have up to 90 days to complete the risk assessment. The RAR will allow the judge to make an informed decision on whether it is appropriate to impose an OLR.
*In deciding to impose an Order for Lifelong Restriction sentence, a Judge will consider that the offender has met the risk criteria as defined in Section 210E of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2003, as follows:
“the risk criteria are that the nature of, or the circumstances of the commission of, the offence of which the convicted person has been found guilty either in themselves or as part of a pattern of behaviour are such to demonstrate that there is a likelihood that he, if at liberty, will seriously endanger the lives, or physical or psychological well-being, of members of the public at large.”
The OLR is available only to the High Court for an offender of any age who is convicted of a serious violent or sexual offence (or more than one offence prosecuted on a single indictment) or of an offence which indicates a tendency for serious violent, sexual or life-endangering offending. However, the sheriff court will remit to the High Court in cases where the sheriff is satisfied, having regard to the statutory criteria, that an offender convicted on indictment may present a substantial and continuing risk to public safety.
The introduction of the OLR and all associated legislative provisions was facilitated by the Scottish Government. The RMA has a statutory duty to put into place the standards and guidelines for a risk assessment under the auspices of a RAO or an Interim Compulsion Order. Click here to view the Standards and Guidelines section of the website. When a Judge is considering imposing an OLR he will order a Risk Assessment Order and appoint an RMA Accredited Risk Assessor to carry out a risk assessment and report back to the court in the form of a Risk Assessment Report (RAR). The RMA is responsible for accrediting Assessors who will prepare the RAR. The RMA will also approve all Risk Management Plans prepared during the nine months following the imposition of an OLR. Thereafter the RMA receive and review annual reports on the implementation of approved Risk Management Plans for the duration of the sentence. More information on the RMA can be found in the About the RMA section of the website.
The OLR is a lifetime sentence. It will comprise a series of stages from maximum security through to, where appropriate, supervised release into the community. The key objective is to continuity and co-ordination of supervision. Thus supervision in the community may be gradually stepped down if appropriate but equally an offender will swiftly move back up a stage or several stages, including return to custody, if the conditions for release are breached and as a result an assessment is made that the offender presents a serious risk to public safety. Current information on how the OLR operates can be found on pages 18 to 22 of our latest Annual Report.
The management of offenders through Risk Management Plans whilst serving an OLR allows for more intensive supervision, treatment and monitoring.
A Risk Assessment Report (RAR) is the document prepared by an RMA accredited Risk Assessor to inform the High Court’s judgement on whether an Order for Lifelong Restriction should be imposed. The RMA standards, guidance and guidelines for preparing the RAR is available here.
A Risk Management Plan (RMP) will be prepared by the lead authority for every offender who is subject to an OLR. The RMP sets out an assessment of risk, the measures to be taken for the minimisation of risk and how such measures are to be co-ordinated. The plan includes assessment and analysis of factors that may increase or prevent re-offending and gives recommendations for action. It requires inter-agency and multi-disciplinary working. The Risk Assessment Report prepared for the High Court prior to sentencing should be developed, in the first months of the OLR being imposed, into a detailed Risk Management Plan (RMP) by the lead authority.
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