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Friday, 7 September 2012

IPP Prisoners Familys Campaign: post to your IPP,s .All questioners that are poste...

IPP Prisoners Familys Campaign: post to your IPP,s .All questioners that are poste...: Ipp Questionnaire Survey for prisoners serving Indeterminate Sentences for Public Protection                                     ...

IPP PRISONERS


post to your IPP,s .All questioners that are posted back to the address on the questioner will be presented directly to the Secretary of State .



Ipp Questionnaire

Survey for prisoners serving Indeterminate Sentences for Public Protection
                                                          (IPP’s) 

Please take your time to fill in this survey and return it as soon as possible.
Please do not include your name or prison number as all information is
anonymous and will be used to form part of an impact statement to be presented
to relevant parties.


Section 1 Sentencing and Serving History

1. What was your Index offence?
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2. What was your minimum term?
________________________________________________________________
3. Are you pre- or post tariff? If you are post-tariff, how much time have you
served over and above your minimum term?
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
4. List the prisons in which you have been detained during this sentence. How
long did you spend in each? What did you do while you were there?
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
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Ipp Questionnaire http://ippprisonersrights.webs.com/
Written by Allyce Swift and Lorna Elliott LLB Barrister


Section 2 Sentence Plans
5. Has your sentence been reviewed annually and on time?
YES _____ (GO TO QUESTION 7)
NO______ (GO TO QUESTION 6)
6. How long have the delays in your annual sentence plan been? Has it ever
been completely missed?
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
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7. Have all of the appropriate parties been involved such as OMU, Psychologists
and relevant prison staff?
YES_____ (GO TO QUESTION 9)
NO______ (GO TO QUESTION 8)
8. Please briefly describe how your overall sentence plans have been carried
out?
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
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9.Have you received individual copies of all the relevant paperwork in connection
with your sentence plan, OASys or SARN if appropriate and has everything been
carried out satisfactorily?
________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________

 Ipp Questionnaire http://ippprisonersrights.webs.com/
Written by Allyce Swift and Lorna Elliott LLB Barrister


Section 3 Categorisation

10. Which category were you in at the beginning of your sentence?
________________________________________________________________
11. Have re-categorisation reviews taken place on time during your sentence?
YES______ (GO TO QUESTION 13)
NO_______ (GO TO QUESTION 12)

12. How long has the delay been in this being carried out? Has it ever been
completely missed?
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________

13. Did you feel the outcome of your recategorisation review was satisfactory?
YES______ (GO TO QUESTION 15)
NO _______(GO TO QUESTION 14)
14.Briefly describe the problems you experienced and whether and how they
were resolved. How do you think the recategorisation process could be improved
in the future?
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
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Section 4 Offender Behaviour Programmes
15. What Offender Behaviour Programmes have you been asked to undertake?
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________

16. Has it been necessary to transfer to different establishments in order to
undertake the required programmes?
YES______(GO TO QUESTION 17)
NO ______ (GO TO QUESTION 18)
17.How long have transfers taken to achieve? Did you encounter any problems
during this process?
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________

18.How long has it taken to be assessed for the relevant programmes?
________________________________________________________________

19.Were you then placed directly on a waiting list or were you able to start the
programme immediately?
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________

Ipp Questionnaire http://ippprisonersrights.webs.com/
Written by Allyce Swift and Lorna Elliott LLB Barrister

20.Have you incurred any other problems which have caused a delay in you
participating in the relevant programmes?
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________

21. Have you been able to get on going advice from staff at community, prison
and legal levels when required in order to help you progress throughout your
sentence ? If not how have you tried to overcome this? Please also briefly
describe any other problems you have encountered.
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
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Ipp Questionnaire http://ippprisonersrights.webs.com/
Written by Allyce Swift and Lorna Elliott LLB Barrister


Section 5 Parole Hearings

22. Have you had any parole reviews yet?
YES______(GO TO QUESTION 23-27 and omit 28)
NO ______(GO TO QUESTION 28)
23. How many paper reviews have you had? How many oral hearings have you
had?
________________________________________________________________

24. If you have had one or more oral hearings, were there any delays in your
parole listing date? If so what reasons were given for these and how long was
the eventual delay?
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________

25. Was your dossier completed on time? If not what reasons were given and
what problems did this cause?
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________

26. Was anything either included in your dossier which you felt was unfair or
biased? If so were you able to deal with these elements satisfactorily?
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________

27. What was the outcome of your parole hearing and what recommendations
were made? How long do you have to wait for your next parole review?
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________

28. When are you due your first parole hearing and what recommendations are
being made?
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________

29.Have you been able to seek and receive legal representation when necessary
through out the duration of your sentence?
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________

30. Have you been able to establish an ongoing relationship with your offender
manager based in the community? Have you had more than one offender
manager? Do you feel that this relationship has been beneficial or have you
incurred a number of problems with regards to this relationship? If so, what kind
of problems?
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________

Ipp Questionnaire http://ippprisonersrights.webs.com/
Written by Allyce Swift and Lorna Elliott LLB Barrister


Section 6 How you feel!

Please use this section to describe how being an Indeterminate Sentenced
Prisoner has affected both you and your family and how serving an open ended
sentence continues to affect you and your loved ones.
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
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________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
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Thank you for taking the time to complete this questionnaire. For records only
This section will not be shared as part of the impact statement or disclosed to
third parties without your prior consent.
Name & Prison no. _______________________________________________
Current Address
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________

Do you need legal advice on any IPP issues, if so would you like a legal
representative to contact you ? Briefly describe below
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________

If you would like any further information or updates on our on-going campaign, or
if you would like to participate in any future surveys or petitions in furtherance of
the campaign for all serving IPPs then please indicate your preference below.
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________

Please kindly return to

Allyce Swift or Lorna Elliott
Lound Mulrenan Jefferies Solicitors, 14D Piano House, 9 Brighton Terrace,
London, SW9 8DJ
Written by Allyce Swift and Lorna Elliott LLB Barrister

IPP'S. Senior high court judge describes them as ‘the disappeared’,

IPP.There are over 6,000 people in prison who arguably shouldn’t be there and have no release date. A senior high court judge describes them as ‘the disappeared’,

FEATURE: There are over 6,000 people in prison who arguably shouldn’t be there and have no release date. A senior high court judge describes them as ‘the disappeared’, writes Sophie Barnes. Of this number about half have already served their time and have no release date.
  • Pics by decade_null (main) and Jason Nahrung (below) .
  • Sophie Barnes is a journalist interested in human rights issues. She recently graduated from the investigative journalism masters course at City University.
  • You can read more about IPP sentences on 

Sophie Barnes
These ‘disappeared’, locked in prisons in England and Wales are held on IPPs (Indeterminate sentence for Public Protection), brought in by previous Labour Home secretary David Blunkett to appease a shocked electorate in the wake of the murder of eight-year-old schoolgirl Sarah Payne.
So invidious are these IPPs, leading former Justice Secretary Ken Clarke to describe them as ‘stain’ on the criminal justice system, that they were recently abolished but not only are people convicted in the past now stuck in the system, the IPPs are still being dished out despite the change in the law.

A stain on the criminal justice system
John Podmore, former governor of HMP Brixton, is horrified. ‘We’re locking them up not for what they’ve done, [but] for what they might do in the future,’ he says. A High Court judge (who was interviewed on the understanding his identity was not revealed) agrees. ‘It is up to the prisoner to prove their innocence for a crime for which they have already served the punishment,’ he says.

 ‘If you picked up 3,500 former prisoners in the street and said “looking at your previous crimes we think you’re dangerous to society and we’re going to lock you up” then the UK would be regarded as a totalitarian state.’
A High Court judge

Trapped in the system
For this high-ranking judge, the parallel between this hypothetical scenario and the current situation that the 3,500 over-tariff IPP prisoners find themselves in is no different. ‘There isn’t a single one of the 3,500 prisoners who have gone over tariff who are in prison as a punishment. They’ve done the time, but are still trapped in the system.’
There are currently 6,107 prisoners serving IPPs in the prison system in England and Wales. Prisoners serving these sentences have no idea when they will be released, and over half of these prisoners have gone over their tariff date.
In June the Government passed the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO) into law. This included the abolition of IPPs. However, three months down the line the Government has no strategy for dealing with the thousands of prisoners currently trapped in the system, and IPP sentences are still being handed out.
The IPP sentence was meant to demonstrate the Government’s tough approach to serious offenders. If a judge felt that offenders were a risk to society they could hand down an IPP sentence, which meant that after being imprisoned for a set amount of time offenders had to prove to the Parole Board that they were ready to rejoin society by completing certain rehabilitation programmes. The offender could only go in front of the Parole Board for their case to be reviewed once they had reached their tariff. In practice, this was meant to reduce the number of life sentences being handed out, while also demonstrating a tough approach towards dangerous and violent criminals.
However, IPPs became a safe fallback option for judges who were worried about a public backlash should their sentencing be too lenient and result in an offender committing a violent crime upon release. In the first two years of their existence the regulations on what crimes warranted an IPP sentence were so vague as to leave the decision entirely at the judge’s discretion. The previous Labour government noticed the massive numbers of prisoners serving IPPs and toughened up these regulations, but by this point there were already thousands serving IPPs for non-violent crimes.

A quick fix
To former prison officer, Callie Wingfield, the cyclical pattern is clear. ‘IPPs were dished out, but not properly thought out. When they were introduced they were a cop-out, a quick fix for judges to use when they didn’t want to take responsibility for a violent criminal leaving prison and committing another violent act. But there was no system put in place for dealing with people on these sentences. So that left loads of people in prison, which made it harder for them to complete courses because there was no space, which made the problem worse.’

Ben Gummer
Conservative MP Ben Gummer has joined this chorus of dissent. ‘They’re an outrageous abuse of civil liberties, I’m very glad the Government’s got rid of them.’ Gummer tried to schedule a debate on the future of current IPP prisoners for when Parliament reconvened in June, but he was unsuccessful.
However, when questioned about the future of thousands of prisoners still serving these sentences his response is less vehement. ‘People who have got existing sentences need to be given the chance to reduce those sentences,’ he says. When asked how the Government proposes to start implementing this, he talks about access to courses, and streamlining of the parole process but fails to mention specifics.
John Hewitson, ex-Governor of HMP Kirkham, and current Governor at HMP Styal, has experienced this explosion in numbers firsthand. ‘I took over as Governor of HMP Kirkham in 2007 – at that time we had 600 prisoners in total, and no IPPs. By the time I left in 2011 we had 650 prisoners, and there were approximately 160 IPPs.’
John Podmore also outlines the problem with making the completion of rehabilitation programmes mandatory for all IPP prisoners. ‘There are hardly any courses designed for the illiterate or the mentally ill. If you’re illiterate, you’re stuffed. You can get in front of the Parole Board when you reach your tariff and they’ll say “Go back and learn how to read and write”. These courses also aren’t being assessed for effectiveness.’

Not gone yet
The current coalition government declared their intention to scrap IPPs for good as part of the LASPO Bill. This has now passed into law, and IPPs have, in theory, been abolished. However, this part of the Act has not come into force yet and there is no obligation on the Government to work within a timeframe. When a Bill is written into law it does not mean that all parts of the Act will automatically be enforced. When I asked the Ministry of Justice when IPPs would no longer be handed down the answer was vague, with several staff members contradicting each other before they came to the muddled conclusion that different parts of an Act are brought into law at different times depending on the logistics of the new enforcement and there is no deadline. As a result, judges are still handing out IPP sentences seemingly because the retrospective abolition of these sentences would be a logistical headache. In fact, the number of prisoners serving IPP sentences has risen by two per cent since last year.
IPP sentences are served by a wide range of offenders. There are those who have brutally assaulted innocent members of the public, such as a recent case of a young man who beat up an old woman as she waited at a bus stop in Manchester. Clearly, criminals such as these are violent and a risk to society. However, there are also those who have committed a number of minor offences – they get drunk, get into a fight, and find themselves serving an IPP sentence if they have a couple of previous convictions to their name. Wayne is one such example – see below.

‘I felt lost and scared, depressed and suicidal. The thing about not having a release date is that you can’t make a solid plan for the future, all you can do is fantasise, All of the courses have waiting lists so it’s possible that it can take years to get one course completed, then once you finally complete the courses you sit parole hearings every year or two if necessary where it’s your job to convince the Parole Board that you do not pose a risk to the public. Why should the parole board take the risk of releasing someone, because if that person commits a crime then it’s on their heads so it’s easier just to refuse.’
Wayne
Following the abolition of IPPs, the Government is keen to show that they are being proactive in processing the thousands of prisoners still serving these sentences. According to the Parole Board’s latest business plan, there are expected to be 6,000 IPP prisoners facing case review over the next year. This is an increase of 1,500 cases since last year, caused by Government pressure on the Parole Board to deal with the 58 per cent of IPP prisoners who have gone over tariff. The Ministry of Justice claim that the 20 extra Parole Board members they are planning to recruit over the next few months will be enough to adequately deal with the increased workload. However, with a Parole Board that is already stretched following cuts to its budget in 2010 the small steps taken to ease its burden may not prove to be enough.

Ticking time bomb
John Podmore believes the reason why the Government hasn’t retrospectively abolished IPPs is because it would create a logistical nightmare. ‘The many thousands that have gone beyond tariff going in front of the Parole Board is logistically nigh on impossible. So they’re locked into this Kafkaesque scenario.’
The term ‘Kafkaesque’ comes up frequently in conversations with criminal justice experts when IPPs are mentioned. Following the abolition of IPP sentences Juliet Lyon, the Director of the Prison Reform Trust talked of the ‘Kafkaesque’ complexity of prison sentencing in this country.
The High Court judge echoes this concern: ‘It’s a ticking time bomb for thousands of prisoners who have gone over tariff and are, in theory, in prison for life.’ These fears are shared by former Governor, John Podmore. ‘What you don’t do is give a large number of prisoners a reason to hate the system,’ he says. ‘There’s nothing for them so they’ve got nothing to lose.’

A stain on our justice system
Why are so many IPP prisoners failing to secure release once they have reached their tariff? According to John Podmore, the backlog of IPP prisoners trapped in the system is due to the lack of rehabilitation programmes available. These courses are scarce in certain prisons, and often over-subscribed. There is also the issue of prison population management. To tackle the problem of overcrowding in certain prisons many prisoners find themselves moved around regularly from jail to jail. If you are in the process of taking a programme this can hinder or even curtail your progress – many prisons don’t offer certain programmes so if you are moved to a prison with no relevant course you are back to square one when it comes to the crucial Parole Board assessment.
Holding people in prison for an indefinite amount of time, with limited or no access to rehabilitation programmes, not only results in a massive cost to the taxpayer – currently £45,000 per prisoner per year, it also flies in the face of a democratic system where punishment is intended to be redemptive. With no release date to work towards, prisoners become disillusioned and potentially violent. There is also the issue of fair sentencing – if a person has a violent fight in a bar and is sentenced to an IPP with a two year tariff, but then finds himself stuck in the system six years later he has received a punishment three times more severe than the crime he committed in the eyes of the court. With cuts to the Parole Board, and no clear vision from the Government of how they are going to process the 6,107 IPP prisoners still serving time, the ‘stain’ on our justice system, described by Justice Minister Ken Clarke, is yet to be removed.
_______________________________________________
Wayne: ‘I felt lost and scared, depressed and suicidal.’
Having been convicted of a number of minor alcohol-related offences, including shoplifting and bar brawls, Wayne was arrested for GBH and sentenced to a 20 month IPP sentence.

He’d been drinking, got into a fight and stabbed a man in the leg with a broken bottle. As a result of his previous drink-related offences, the judge gave him an IPP sentence. The judge felt he couldn’t accurately assess when Wayne would be safe to re-join society.
Wayne speaks in a low, hesitant voice about his experience and appears uneasy about speaking candidly in the busy cafĂ© where we meet. He is a big man, but appears smaller because of his hunched posture. ‘I didn’t know much about the IPP but everyone I met who was doing the sentence was well over tariff and stuck in a prison that didn’t offer the courses they had to do to lower their risk.’

‘I felt lost and scared, depressed and suicidal,’ he tells me. ‘The thing about not having a release date is that you can’t make a solid plan for the future. All you can do is fantasise. All of the courses have waiting lists so it’s possible that it can take years to get one course completed, then once you finally complete the courses you sit parole hearings every year or two if necessary where it’s your job to convince the Parole Board that you do not pose a risk to the public. Why should the parole board take the risk of releasing someone, because if that person commits a crime then it’s on their heads so it’s easier just to refuse.’
Wayne was luckier than some. A few months after he was sentenced to a 20-month IPP, the Government toughened up the sentencing guidelines, which meant that judges were prevented from giving IPPs of less than two years.
‘The day finally came where I was called to reception to be transferred to another prison,’ he recalls. ‘I was a bit excited as I thought this was progress. The prison I was transferred to was in Cumbria and was five and a half hours away from home and to top it all off they didn’t offer any courses that I needed to complete, I wasted no time in applying to be transferred to other prisons only to be told by the governor that no jail in the country is willing to take IPPs as they’re too much hassle. After 12 months up in Cumbria I shipped out again to a prison in Warrington. I had been locked up for 24 months even though I only got sentenced to 20. My family were still asking me when I was getting out and were still confused by the sentence. They thought that I was misbehaving.’
Wayne continues: ‘I was in that prison [Warrington] for 17 months and I heard of a couple of IPPs getting granted their Cat D [move to open prison] and one that actually got released.’
Wayne heard that he had got parole on the grounds that he complete a six month stint in a rehab centre. ‘I was over the moon but felt guilty as my friend who was with me got a new 12 month tariff — he had done all his courses and never got in trouble and was on his sixth year into the sentence, five years over tariff.’
Wayne believes his time in prison was an unnecessary drain on public resources.

‘It costs about £40,000 to keep a prisoner locked up for 12 months. No wonder the country is broke when the government keeps people incarcerated years beyond their release date, especially when, for people with addictions like me, six months in rehab can be the answer.’
Wayne 

http://thejusticegap.com/News/the-disappeared-the-ipp-prisoners-trapped-in-the-system/#comment-642041265



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