Release on Temporary Licence (ROTL)

What is Release on Temporary Licence (ROTL)?

Release on Temporary Licence means being able to leave the prison for a short time. It is usually called ROTL for short.

You may get ROTL for the following things

  • To take part in paid or unpaid work
  • To see children for whom you were the sole carer before you entered prison
  • Because a family member is seriously ill
  • To help you settle back into the community before you are released

Not everyone gets or is eligible to be considered for ROTL, see below for more information about this.

If you are eligible that does not mean that you will be given ROTL – this will depend upon whether the prison thinks it is appropriate based on your sentence plan and any risks assessments.


ROTL Exclusions

Some people cannot get ROTL. If you are any of the following you will NOT be able to get any type of ROTL:

  • Category A or restricted status prisoner
  • On the escape list
  • Subject to extradition proceedings
  • On remand or unsentenced
  • Sentenced but remanded for further charges or further sentencing
  • Held on behalf of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals.


What is the difference between Standard and Restricted ROTL?

Restricted ROTL

You will be subject to Restricted ROTL if you are:

  • an indeterminate sentence prisoner (ISP);
  • serving an Extended Determinate Sentence, or other legacy extended sentence;
  • serving a sentence imposed under section 236A of the Criminal justice Act 2003 (offenders of particular concern)
  • Assessed as high or very high risk of serious harm

If you fall into one of these categories you will have extra restrictions placed on ROTL. These include:

  • You will need to be in an open prison to get ROTL (or assessed as suitable for open conditions for women).
  • Decisions about ROTL must be made by the Governor or deputy Governor
  • Your ROTL board must be chaired by a senior manager
  • Your offender manager and police must be consulted about ROTL
  • You will recieve a higher level of monitoring whilst on release
  • You will also be considered for Enhanced Behaviour Monitoring - for more information about this please see Enhanced Behaviour Monitoring Policy Framework

Please note, it is no longer a requirement for Restricted ROTL prisoners to be accompanied on the first three Resettlement Day Releases. However, the prison may still decide accompanied ROTL is necessary in individual circumstances as a way of managing risk. 

 

Standard ROTL

If you are eligible for ROTL but do not fit into the above categories, you are subject to Standard ROTL.


What are the different types of ROTL?

Resettlement Day Release (RDR)

This means being released during the day and returning to prison the same day. This could be to:

  • Take part in paid or unpaid work
  • Keep in touch with your family
  • Take part in training or education
  • Take part in other activities to help your resettlement

Eligibility:

If you are in open conditions in the men's estate, you will be eligible for RDR immediately after transfer, subject to completion of sentence planning and risk assessment.

In women's prisons, you will be eligible as soon as you are categorised as 'suitable for open conditions', subject to completion of sentence planning and risk assessments.

If you are in closed condtions (or categorised as 'not suitable for open conditions', for women) you may be able to get RDR towards the end of your sentence if you are elible for Standard ROTL, assessed as suitable and in a prison which can offer ROTL. If this is the case you will be eligible for RDR at whichever of the following gives the later date:

(a)  once you have served half your custodial period OR

(b)  24 months before your effective release date

For men's prisons, you must be a Category C or D prisoner in a prison which offers ROTL. If the prison you are in offers ROTL they will tell you about the opportunities available. If you are a Category A or Category B prisoner you will not be able to get RDR.

If you are subject to Restricted ROTL you must be assessed as suitable for open conditions and in a prison which provides Restricted ROTL. Annex A of the Release on Temporary Licence Policy Framework contains a list of which prisons can provide Restricted ROTL and includes all open and women's prisons.

Frequency:

The prison will decide how often and how long your RDR can be. This may be shorter and less often to start with and then increase.

RDR to maintain family ties will usually be limited to once every 14 days.


Resettlement Overnight Release (ROR)

Resettlement Overnight Release (ROR) can be given for similar reasons as Resettlement Day Release, but also allows you to stay overnight at the place you will be living once you are released from prison. This is usually for a maximum of four nights.

Eligibility

If you are in open conditions you are eligible to apply for RORs from the point of transfer to open conditions (or the point of recategorisation for open conditions, for women). However you will be expected to have completed a period of successful RDRs before RORs can take place.

If you are in closed conditions (or categorised as 'not suitable for open conditions' for women) you may be able to get ROR towards the end of your sentence if you are eligible for Standard ROTL, assessed as suitable and in a prison which can offer ROTL. If this is the case you will be eligible for ROR at whichever of the following gives the later date:

(a)  once you have served half your custodial period OR

(b)  6 months before your release date.

For men's prisons, you must be a Category C or D prisoner in a priosn which offers ROTL. If you are a Category A or Category B prisoner you will not be able to get ROR.

If you are subject to Restricted ROTL you must be assessed as suitable for open conditions and in a prison which provides Restricted ROTL. Annex A of the Release on Temporary Licence Policy Framework contains a list of which prison can provide Restricted ROTL and includes all open and women's prisons.

Frequency:

You may apply for one ROR every 28 once eligible


Childcare Resettlement Licence

If you can show that you were the primary carer or sole carer for a child under 18 when you entered prison, you may be able to get a Childcare Resettlement Licence (CRL) to see them. You can apply for this at any part of your sentence.

CRL can be taken a maximum of one day per week including one period of overnight release per 28 days. The overnight release can be up to four nights.

If you are a Restricted ROTL prisoner in closed conditions you will not be eligible for Childcare Resettlement Licence. General ROTL exclusions, above, also apply.

 

Special Purpose Licence (SPL)

Special Purpose Licence may be granted for:

  • Visits to dying relatives
  • Going to funerals of close family members
  • Medical treatment
  • Marriage or civil partnership
  • Going to court, tribunal or inquiry

You can apply to be considered for SPL at any point in your sentence, unless you are subject to Restricted ROTL or fall into the excluded groups listed above.

If you are a Restricted ROTL prisoner, you will normally need to be in open conditions to be considered for SPL.

An SPL will often only be for as long as needed for the agreed purpose. This could include overnight if this is necessary. The maximum SPL duration is usually four nights in any 28 days


Can I get ROTL if I am in a Category B prison?

If you are a Category B prisoner you will NOT be considered for Resettlement Day Release or Resettlement Overnight Release.

If you are a standard ROTL prisoner, you may be considered for Childcare Resettlement Licence and Special Purpose Licence, as above.


Offenders with a history of escape, abscond or serious ROTL failure during the current sentence

People with a history of escape, abscond or serious ROTL failure can now be considered for open condtions and ROTL, if:

  • the abscond occured more than two years ago AND
  • you have only absconded once on your current sentence
If you are ineligible for open conditons or ROTL due to recent or repeat escape, abscond or serious ROTL failure you will only be considered for ROTL in exceptional circumstances.

Table 1 in the Release on Temporary Licence Policy Framework has more detail about eligibility and frequency for all types of ROTL


Further information

Useful PSIs and PSOs (these should be available in the library):

Release on Temporary Licence Policy Framework

Enhance Behaviour Monitoring Policy Framework


For a print-ready version of this information, click here.