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What does being released on Temporary Licence mean? Task

Release on Temporary Licence (ROTL) means being able to leave prison for a short period of time. The Temporary Licence is the permission that allows you to leave, and the type of Licence indicates the reason the permission was granted. 

It depends on the type of ROTL that you apply for (see our article describing the different types of Temporary Licence prisoners can be released under)To get any Licence, you need to apply and there is no automatic right that it will be granted. 


Some people are not allowed to apply for any type of Licence. You will not be allowed ROTL if: 

  • You are considered to be in Category A or are on the Escape List 
  • You are wanted in connection with a crime abroad 
  • You have been convicted and are waiting to be sentenced
  • You have been sentenced but are being held for other charges or other sentencing 
  • You are being held on behalf of the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia 
  • You are serving your original sentence and you have been given an extra sentence for not paying a confiscation order; you can apply for ROTL during the extra sentence but not during your original sentence 

If you are eligible for ROTL, you can apply to the prison governor. Once you submit your application form, the governor will decide based on: 

  • The crime you were convicted of 
  • The reason you are applying for ROTL 
  • The time you have spent in custody  
  • Any ROTLs you have already had 
  • Whether the governor considers releasing you a risk 

A group of people, known as a ROTL Board, will consider your application if: 

  • You have not previously been granted ROTL 
  • Your application is for resettlement day release, resettlement overnight release, childcare resettlement leave or special purpose licence 
  • Your circumstances have changed significantly since your last ROTL 
  • You have not previously been granted this type of ROTL 
  • Six months have passed since you last applied for ROTL 

The Board can ask you for more information, refuse your application or recommend ROTL. If the Board recommends ROTL, the Governor must authorise it before it is granted.  

The Governor will explain in writing why your application was refused and, if you choose, will give you all information used during the risk assessment process, unless the information is confidential or may cause harm (to you or someone else). 

Yes. You can appeal by filling out a complaint form (COMP1) addressed to the Governing Governor. 

If the governor does not agree with your complaint, you can appeal to the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman. 

During the period of temporary release, you will not be allowed to drink alcohol or gamble for the duration of the Licence. 

You risk being sentenced to an extra 12-24 months in prison or a fine or both.  

All prisons should have a leaflet for prisoners explaining the types of ROTL, who can apply, how you apply, how the governor decides, how you can appeal, and any costs involved.