The Long-term Prison Sentences Review Board (the Board) was established pursuant to the Long-term Prison Sentences Review Ordinance, Cap. 524, which came into operation on 30 June 1997. This statutory and independent Board replaced the Board of Review, Long Term Prison Sentences, an advisory body responsible for reviewing the imprisonment sentences of certain categories of persons and making recommendations on possible remission and commutation.
The principal function of the Board is to conduct regular reviews on the cases of persons serving indeterminate sentences, those with long-term sentences (i.e. 10 years or longer), and those serving determinate sentences who were under the age of 21 at the date of conviction. Persons whose indeterminate or long-term sentences were imposed outside Hong Kong but who were transferred back to Hong Kong to serve such sentences are also eligible for review by the Board. All these persons are collectively termed as “subjects” thereafter.
When conducting a sentence review, the Board may recommend to the Chief Executive that an indeterminate sentence of a subject be substituted by a determinate one or that a determinate sentence of a subject be remitted. Besides, the Board may order a subject who is serving an indeterminate sentence to be released conditionally under supervision. For a subject whose indeterminate sentence has been converted to a determinate one by the Chief Executive, the Board may also make a post-release supervision order directing the early release of the subject under supervision.
The powers conferred to the Board to order conditional release and post-release supervision ensure that the subjects, after having been incarcerated for a long period of time, are provided with guidance and assistance to help them reintegrate into society, and that the public can be protected from reasonably foreseeable harm as a result of their release.