The head of the Parole Board was awarded the CBE for his efforts to promote transparency.
The Parole Board’s top executive has been awarded a CBE for services to victims.
Martin Jones, who has been in charge since 2015, was also honored in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for his efforts to improve diversity and transparency in the parole process.
The decision may be considered as contentious by some, as it comes only days after the Parole Board’s decision to free Colin Pitchfork, who raped and killed two schoolgirls in the 1980s, sparked widespread outrage.
Pitchfork was the first man to be convicted of murder using DNA evidence, and he was sentenced to life in prison in 1983 and 1986 for strangling 15-year-olds Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth in Leicestershire.
Concerns over his release have been made by relatives of the victims, lawmakers, and police engaged in the investigation. The government is debating whether or not to appeal the ruling.
The controversy is similar to one that arose in 2018 when the Parole Board ordered the release of black cab rapist John Worboys.
The judgment was reversed by the High Court after fury that his victims had been excluded from the decision-making process, prompting politicians to promise greater transparency in future decisions.
Later, a different Parole Board panel determined that he should be kept in prison.
Worboys has since admitted to numerous offenses and is suspected of being responsible for over 100 attacks.
Mr Jones’s honor would have been recommended by an independent committee, but the timing of the announcement was “to be regretted” because it came “on the same week as another appalling decision by the Parole Board in the matter of Pitchfork,” said Conservative South Leicestershire MP Alberto Costa, who raised concerns about Pitchfork’s release with the Parole Board.
“I believe it is quite valid to question whether it is right for Mr Jones to be given an honor in light of the controversy surrounding Pitchfork,” he continued.
“I’m working with the Justice Secretary to convince him to use his discretion to invoke the reconsideration option, which would allow him to request that the Parole Board rethink its decision. (This is a brief piece.)