Total Pageviews

Monday, 26 December 2016

We have HAD ANOUGH TRUSS’ utter failure to grasp the problem ,

Prisoners riot and protest for the same reason anyone else does: because they are not being heard. In the past two months riots have swept through five prisons, inmates have sawed their way out of their cells to escape and one prisoner has been stabbed to death.

Our prisons are in desperate, heart-breaking crisis and the disturbance at HMP Swaleside last night was yet another act of desperation from prisoners who feel they have no voice. We need to stop pointing fingers and start listening before any more violence takes hold.

As a criminal barrister I have worked with many prisoners and represented those serving Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) sentences at Parole Board hearings. They tell me how few prisons provide for their basic hygiene needs, how poor the food is, and how they do not have access to the rehabilitative courses they are required to go on. They are incarcerated, but they are still human and they still have the same basic needs as everyone else, and they have the right to be treated as such. Our prison service has become so stretched it is at breaking point and we are failing to meet the most basic of prisoners’ needs; let alone assist in their rehabilitation. How then can we expect them to do anything but protest?
Government cuts and privatisation have seen the number of prison officers in the UK fall as the prison population grows and outbreaks of violence and insecurity are the inevitable result. In the last year, the number of assaults in prisons has risen by one third, while those on staff have gone up by 40 per cent. The rise in self-inflicted deaths was up almost one third and self-harm has increased by 27 per cent. These injuries and deaths are often preventable and highlight the inadequacies in mental health and information gathering that takes place. Inmates and staff are dangerously vulnerable and never has the argument for bringing the prison service back into public hands been stronger. Privatisation is once again failing those who are the most at risk.

 Just one week ago the worst riot in a British prison in a decade gripped HMP Birmingham as 600 inmates took control of a wing for 12 hours, resulting in one prisoner being taken to hospital. In response Liz Truss, the Justice Secretary, said those responsible “will face the full force of the law”. This statement gives away Truss’ utter failure to grasp the problem and a lack of insight into the reasons behind the crisis. If we are serious about addressing the problems facing our gaols we must reduce the number of people in them. Increasing custodial sentences for those who commit infractions in prison is only making the problem worse: instead we should be asking why those inmates took the action they did in the first place.
Our aim should be to close prisons because there is so little demand for them, as is happening in the Netherlands. On top of ending threats to lengthen the sentences of inmates who riot, we must urgently work to release prisoners serving IPP sentences, many of whom have served many months or years longer than their minimum term. It is utterly unjust and unjustifiable that almost  APROX 4,000 people are still trapped in prison beyond their release date, many of whom committed crimes attracting very low sentences in the first place. The Government’s failure to act is responsible for people’s lives being wasted behind bars. There is no excuse for continuing to detain people who have served their time, four years after IPP sentences were abolished.
The most important task we face is to address why people end up in prison in the first place. The failed model of short prison sentences should be scrapped immediately and replaced with community rehabilitation, reducing the strain on prisons, administering community based punishments whilst also equipping often vulnerable people with the life skills they so desperately need to prevent reoffending. Of course in cases of serious offending prison is the appropriate punishment, however in cases of less serious offending, prison is rarely the place that positive change can take place. It is also of fundamental importance to recognise that we need to invest in education and tackle poverty and inequality. Prevention is, of course, better than cure.
Charley Pattison  Green Party justice spokesperson

UK Politics UK Green Party Charly Pattison Prison UK Crime

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

IPP. The Law Changed But The Sentence Stayed The Same.

On 13 November 2012, Shaun Docherty was convicted of wounding with intent. On 20 December 2012, he was sentenced to ‘imprisonment for public protection’ (IPP), even though the Government had, from 3 December 2012, abolished IPP sentences for some people…

Jargon buster – ‘convicted’, ‘sentenced’ and ‘IPP’

If someone is ‘convicted‘ of a crime, it means they have pleaded or been found guilty of that crime. A ‘sentence‘ is the punishment someone gets after they have been convicted.

Sentences of Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) were designed to ensure that  offenders (whose crimes did not warrant a life sentence) could be kept in prison for as long as they presented a risk to society. A sentencing judge would impose a ‘tariff’ – a minimum time the person had to serve before they could be considered by the Parole Board for release.

IPP sentences came under heavy criticism. Less serious offenders were given very short tariffs but kept in prison long after their tariffs expired. The prison system could not give IPP prisoners access to rehabilitative resources so that they could demonstrate they were no longer a risk to society. IPP sentences also contributed to prison overcrowding.

In 2012, the Coalition Government decided to abolish IPP sentences. This was accomplished through the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO). The dates are important here – for offenders convicted of a crime on or after 3 December 2012, courts were no longer able to impose IPP sentences. But importantly, prisoners already convicted could still be sentenced to IPP. There would be a ‘phased introduction’ of a new preventive detention scheme. But Mr. Docherty, having been convicted before 3 December 2012 (in November 2012), could still be sentenced to IPP, and was so sentenced on 20 December 2012.

Mr. Docherty went to the UK Supreme Court, arguing that his IPP sentence infringed his rights under Article 7 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

How does this affect human rights?


Article 7 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) covers a few things – for example, that no one should be found guilty of something that was not a crime at the time they did it, even if it later becomes a crime (no retrospective criminalisation), and, if someone does commit a crime, they should not be given a heavier penalty than the one which was applicable at the time they committed the crime (no retrospective harsher punishment).

The European Court of Human Rights has said (in a case called Scoppola v Italy (Number 2)) that Article 7 ECHR “guarantees not only the… non-retrospectiveness of more stringent criminal laws but also retrospectiveness of more lenient criminal law”. This means that, where a more lenient sentencing law is later enacted, a court should apply the more lenient law even if it did not exist at the time the person committed the offence.

A general principle of general international law, known as ‘lex mitior’, is also relevant here. It says that when there is a change of law before the final judgment in a criminal case, the law most favourable to the person being prosecuted, convicted or sentenced shall apply (Article 24(2) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court).

Mr. Docherty argued that his IPP sentence was incompatible with Article 7 ECHR (particularly the principle of retrospectiveness of more lenient criminal law, as interpreted by the European Court of Human Rights) and the international law principle of ‘lex mitior’, since there was a new, more lenient sentencing scheme available under LASPO.

The Supreme Court’s Decision

The Supreme Court did not accept Mr. Docherty’s argument. It said that the phased introduction of the new sentencing scheme was legitimate, and that Mr. Docherty’s claim was an attempt to ‘anticipate’ the change.

It was incorrect to say that the law – in Mr. Docherty’s case – had ‘changed’; the law had only changed (become more lenient) for those convicted after 3 December 2012, but not for those convicted before. The law prevailing at the time Mr. Docherty was sentenced said that IPP could be imposed against those convicted before 3 December 2012, meaning that ‘lex mitior’ had not been infringed.

The Supreme Court also looked at the European Court of Human Rights’ decision in Scoppola. The European Court had said that the principle of retrospectiveness of the more lenient criminal law was embodied within ‘lex mitior’ – the rule that, where there were differences between the criminal law at the time of the offence and subsequent criminal laws enacted before a final judgment was given, the court had to apply the law most favourable to the person accused or convicted.

The Supreme Court said that this ‘extended rule’ appeared not to be within the rationale for ‘lex mitior’ and would have ‘unwarranted consequences’. The Supreme Court concluded that the European Court’s extended concept of the principle ‘should, with great respect, not be applied’.

Most in the dock

Most in the dock

Which countries have the most cases getting a full judgment?
Countries with the most cases going to full judgment, 1959-2014
Top of the class

Top of the class

The countries winning the highest proportion of cases that get to a final judgment
Countries with the highest % of cases found in their favour, 1959-2014
Bottom of the class

Bottom of the class

The countries winning the lowest proportion of cases that get to a final judgment
Countries with the lowest % of cases found in their favour, 1959-2014
Lost Rights

Lost Rights

Which human rights get violated the most?
Rights that the European Court finds are violated the most, 1959-2014
Highest and Lowest

Highest and Lowest

Which countries have had the highest and fewest human rights violations relative to their population?
Countries with two or more judgments only shown, 1959-2014 (population data 2013)
The price of protection

The price of protection

How much does the European Court Cost?
Selected Council of Europe spending, 2014
Not a bad deal

Not a bad deal

How much do we really spend protecting our rights?
The cost of Council of Europe membership in context


Is UK Ok?

Is UK Ok?

How often does the european court rule against the uk?
Applications made against the UK, 1959-2014
All the people

All the people

The people winning human rights cases against the uk
UK judgments finding at least one violation, 1975-May 2015
All kinds of cases

All kinds of cases

The UKs european court of human rights violations by rightsinfo category
Rights found to have been breached in the UK, 1975-Many 2015






Sunday, 18 December 2016

IPP help me

A mother rang me tonight ,i just want to end it all, the pain its to much , how much more

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Michael A O'Brien his new book.The updates on Topical questions.The IPPs sentence given also to the vulnerable with disability’s.

Topical questions in the House of Commons 

Our probation officers do a vital job—it is one that I value highly—in turning offenders’ lives around, and the prisons and probation Minister is conducting a comprehensive review of the probation system that is focused on improving the quality of our probation services. As with our plans for prisons, we want a simpler, clearer system, with specific outcome measures such as getting offenders off drugs, improving educational standards, and getting offenders into apprenticeships and work. We also want closer working with the Prison Service. We will set out our more detailed plans after our review is completed in April.

 What action are the Government taking to address the specific needs of women in the justice system?

We are working to ensure that we take proper account of the specific needs of women at every stage of the criminal justice system so that they receive the support that they need to make positive changes in their lives. We want to see fewer women offending and reoffending, and we will set out our strategy for how we manage female offenders in 2017.

May I give the Secretary of State another opportunity to answer my question? She told the House that she has had meetings to discuss the record levels of suicide in our prisons. Has she actually visited a prison mental health service—and if not, why not?

I have visited a number of prisons where I have discussed mental health services. I have already answered the hon. Lady’s question.

There is obviously a careful risk assessment before people are moved into open prison. I am not aware of the specific facts of the case that the hon. Gentleman has outlined, but I will be happy to meet him to discuss it.

Prisoners serving IPP—imprisonment for public protection—sentences have remained in custody long beyond their tariff and long after the coalition Government abolished such sentences. I understand that a dedicated Ministry of Justice unit is looking into the position of IPP prisoners. Will the Secretary of State tell us exactly what it is doing?

Woodhill prison in my constituency has had more suicides than any other prison this year. Will my right hon. Friend assure me that she is working urgently with the governor to address the situation?

I can assure my hon. Friend that we are working urgently with the governor to address the situation, as well as addressing the overall issue of the number of suicides in our prisons, which is far too high.

Reoffending rates among young offenders remain stubbornly high. Earlier this year, the Association of Youth Offending Team Managers said that there had been a record cut in funding for youth offending teams. What is the Secretary of State doing to address that?

The hon. Lady will not have to wait long before we release the Charlie Taylor report and the Government’s response, which will explain how we will improve outcomes in youth justice.

On her first day in office, the Prime Minister said:
“If you are black you are treated more harshly by the criminal justice system than if you are white.”
I am pleased to be working with Mr Lammy on a review of the treatment of, and outcomes for, black, Asian and minority ethnic individuals in the criminal justice system. What steps will the Secretary of State take to act on the emerging findings, which show that, in respect of arrests and charging, such people are disproportionately affected?

I am delighted that my hon. Friend has joined that review, to which I am sure that she will make a major contribution. Clearly there are issues throughout the criminal justice system that we need to examine, but I am certainly keen to see more diversity throughout our legal services industry and our judiciary, and we are working very hard on that.

Education budgets are being devolved to prison governors. Will each of those budgets be ring-fenced for education spending purposes?
Given the Government’s welcome development of a corruption prevention strategy for our prisons, will the Minister look personally at the allegations of systemic corruption raised by BuzzFeed News today on the basis that this presents a serious risk of undermining our prison system?

I completely agree with my hon. Friend. While the vast majority of prison officers are hard-working and dedicated, there is a small minority that is an issue. We acknowledge that in the White Paper, and we are reporting early next year on our corruption strategy. We are also considering options for a prison-specific offence of corruption to crack down on that scourge.

Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
When the previous Labour Government changed the law so that prisoners had to be released halfway through their sentence irrespective of how badly they behaved or if they were still a risk to the public, the then Conservative Opposition were apoplectic and voted against the change. Do the Government think that the then Conservative party was wrong to oppose that change in the law?

I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave earlier today and last week to the Select Committee.

I think this show will run—probably for some years to come.

IPP sentence is a life sentence also given to the vulnerable those with disability’s.   

that once in court their lack of understanding grows as their lives are taken over by opaque court procedures and legalistic terminology, and in prison many are left to fend for themselves in a shadowy world of not quite knowing what is going on around them or what is expected of them. 

In the European court is against whole-life sentences.It was argued that his very hopelessness made a person dangerous. "Dr Stephanie Hill, consultant in psychology because having no hope you having little concern for others in light of his whole-life order this manifests itself in an assaults others.It me it is total madness to give young people 99 years sentence for minor crimes in comparison to those who commit much worse crimes. To warrant an IPP you would have to of had to commit 3 similar crimes all though you have punished for those individual crimes .

“One prisoner quoted in the inside time,) The IPP is a life sentence but you might as well be dead because I was given a death sentence. At least if I was dead it would put me out of my misery.”
The whole-life tariff is against all principles of international law as it denies any possibility of reform of rehabilitation. 

Whole-life jail sentences without any prospect of release amount to inhuman and degrading treatment of prisoners, the European court of human rights has ruled. In its decision, the Strasbourg court said there had been a violation of article 3 of the European convention on human rights, which prohibits inhuman and degrading treatment. The judgment said: "For a life sentence to remain compatible with article 3 there had to be both a possibility of release and a possibility of review."

Thousands  were sentenced to an  IPP most are over tariff  some by 3 times  there original date.
This would effect and take down the best of people  and affect their mental state.

Mental ill-health is one of the most predominant and challenging issues in prisons this is closely associated with the unacceptably high rates of suicide and self-harm in custody. Government have got to its highest ever this year, prisoner had been identified as having mental health needs before their death. A high proportion of the Prison population has mental health needs these needs range from mild high forms of depression this can be treated with medication and support. But only if staff can be more sympathetic to prisoners when prisoners are taking medication that their behaviour could change as a result. 

A report in 2015 by the prison reform trust contained 82 recommendations (Department of Health, 2009), and most of these are being taken forward – including my recommendation for a nationwide liaison and diversion service. 

So why do we have a crises? Should we be asking for a  investigation into the government mishandling ?Who takes that on?
Death have been rising at a alarming rate, who is responsibility for 32 deaths this year 2016)? 

It is essential is for all prison staff to be educated to recognise hidden disabilities those groups more at  risk and to understand the symptoms of mental ill-health subsequently they those care and support. Staff training is, therefore is  crucial but, too often I read , these investigations have found that staff lacked the necessary mental health awareness training, therefore, the mental health needs of prisoners were neglected because signs  were missed.
 Prison staff needs to work together to develop an effective plan of care and to deliver appropriate treatment, and support so that they may be able to overcome their mental health difficulties, at least learn to manage. Unfortunately, mental health conditions cause sufferers to present difficult and challenging behaviour, which staff may deal with as a behavioural rather than a mental health problem.

"Learning disorders are born due to poor functioning of the brain and can influence the individual mental processes such as word recognition, memory, reading comprehension, auditory language processing and mathematical analysis. Learning disorders can also be associated with different types of ADHD, behavioural disorders and sensory disabilities.

Prison and probation staff was failing to identify people with learning disabilities, meaning opportunities to help those offenders were missed, according to independent inspectors. Today they published the second report of a joint inspection into people with learning disabilities within the criminal justice system.

The report, A joint inspection of the treatment of offenders with learning disabilities within the criminal justice system: phase two in custody and the community, reflects the findings of HM Inspectorate of Probation and HM Inspectorate of Prisons. The first inspection, published in January 2014, looked at what happened when someone is arrested and in police custody through to when someone first appears in court and is sentenced. Inspectors noted the poor quality of services, inefficient processes and confusion among police, court service and probation staff about what constituted a learning disability. This second inspection presents an equally bleak picture about the experience of offenders with learning disabilities in prison and while subject to supervision in the community.

The first inspection found that no clear definition or agreement exists across criminal justice and health organisations about what constitutes learning difficulties or disabilities. Although believed to be a sizeable minority, possibly as high as 30%, there is no way of knowing the number of people with such conditions within the criminal justice system. Adequate provision is, consequently, not always made by the agencies involved to cater for their specific needs. The second inspection found that within probation and particularly in prisons, identification of offenders with learning disabilities remained a problem and as a result, the needs of people with learning disabilities were often missed.

Inspectors were concerned to find: Screening tools were not used routinely by probation officers or in prisons, and there was an over-reliance on disclosure of the existence of learning disabilities by the offender/prisoner or their family;

  •   information about prisoners’ learning disabilities was rarely appropriately shared with relevant staff;

  •    practitioners were frustrated by the lack of support from social and health care agencies;

  •    some prisoners had learning disability nurses but, generally, offender supervisors did not consult them regularly;

  •   although some initiatives and guidance were being developed by national and local leaders, frontline staff and some managers were either unaware or unable to implement it;

  •   and the Equality Act 2010 makes it clear that public authorities have a duty to make reasonable adjustments to meet the needs of service users with a disability (including a learning disability), but in most cases managers and staff in prisons or probation services were not doing this.

However, inspectors also found that:
·         there were pockets of good practice and examples of staff developing supportive relationships and ‘going the extra mile’ but these were the exception, rather than the norm; and
·         Offender managers and supervisors working in the community were keen to receive advice and guidance and those with direct access to community psychiatric nurses felt supported, however, most community psychiatric nurses were not trained or experienced in working with people with learning disabilities.

·         The chief inspectors made recommendations for improvement, which included: ensuring that prison and probation services comply with the requirements of the Equality Act 2010 by making necessary adjustments to services delivered to those with learning disabilities, introducing a screening tool across the prison estate for learning disabilities and adapting interventions for people with learning disabilities to help reduce the risk of re offending.

Chief Inspector of Prisons Nick Hardwick said on behalf of both inspectorates:
“In prisons we were alarmed that there were extremely poor systems for identifying prisoners with learning disabilities; in one prison we were even told that they could not identify a single prisoner who had a learning disability. 

This lack of identification is unacceptable. Even where a learning disability was identified, it was not always sufficiently taken into account in prison processes such as behaviour management or anti-bullying measures. Not surprisingly therefore, some prisoners with a learning disability told us about getting into trouble with staff or being bullied because of their learning disability.
We are also concerned that little thought was given to the need to adapt the regimes to meet the needs of prisoners with learning disabilities who may find understanding and following prison routines very difficult.


By Danny Mc Dowell & Graham Keeton 


I would like to thank everyone who helped me with my book Prisoners in Limbo and I do hope those in Authority will take note of what the book contains.
I want to say to each and everyone of you who have loved ones locked up that you will get your loved ones out and you must stay positive. If there is anything I can do to help the cause sign petitions, letter then please let me know.
Although I was not an IPP prisoner I was given a life sentence at the age of 19 and was released when I was 32 so I know the road ahead is not plain sailing however change is going to come and you will be reunited with your loved ones.
My thoughts are with all of you and your families this Christmas and lets see a new beginning in the new year 2017.

Just been informed my son is on a suicide watch, apparently he is struggling to cope at the moment. He has had a difficult year to cope with had a court case , which even though he was found not guilty the parole board has requested all the statements from the officers involved to be presented at the parole hearing . his probation officer went to see him for only the 2cd time in two years and accused him of showing signs of a personality disorder ,which he has since been examined and its been proved he hasn’t . I complained about her to her boss and now she has written a negative report about him for parole. He is coming up to 10 years inside in january 7and a half years over tariff and it looks like they want to stitch him up again . ive so had enough of these people , they don’t have a heart any of them . prison officers can beat our loved ones , then charge them with assault and when your family member proves in court the officers were the guilty ones and he was the victim it means nothing , They just turn to the parole board and probation to get their revenge . The bloody system is a joke , and as for them all being independent bodies I find it hard to believe . So worried about my son at the moment, he is a very strong man but they are really pushing him to his limits . sorry for the rant everyone just needed to sound off im feeling a bit stressed myself today

Adams Just to let yous know an ipp has just got release from cat C..looks like things are improving 

Zing Still going to be excessively risk averse no acceptance that is the problem . No surprises here, when u all get happy its lip service like i say they been saying things without any changes.

 does everyone know what administrative detension is? The secretary of state does have the power to release any ipp's and also even overturn a parole board decision
Ramshaw He's had an oral hearing. 5 minutes before evidence was presented. Basically a letter directing release however board was having none of release plans etc. Will hear in 14 days the outcome

Foster   I'm hoping my partner will get released on paper but I haven't heard of anyone yet 

RamshawAnyone heard of ipps getting letter from secretary of state directing release prior to oral hearing???? He got 4 year tarriff and has served nearly 12 years. They had a date in may for paper work to be submitted however hearing just happened

Chaddock Well some one needs over rule it because it was all over the news.

Umm  My oh was beaten by poilce officers and was in hospital for two years he was very sick then they put in jail and he had to go court and police officer had to be present at the hearing he also was found not guilty but he was recalled bk and the police get away with it but our loved ones don't so not fair I really hope he gets better soon and starts to heal hun I know how hard it is xxx much love

 Leigh My partner is an IPP 10 ninth tariff now down nearly 10 years 

 Foster When I rang parole board they said they review everyone's case when it gets to them and they decided on everyone's case weather they can be released on paper or not they said some may need an oral hearing before release. I hope we hear more of ipps being released on paper as it's for all ipps not just recalls

 Cooke I sincerely hope this is the case for your partner. If it is it means that the release of over tariff IPPs is being done. Fingers crossed for you..
 Chaddock Parole probation the same  trust me my brother did 11 years IPP 1 year44 day tariff got released June this year and recalled on July passed drug alcohol did not re offend now he's got wait till January for Orel hearing whilst they sit at home with their families MPs lick my Arse and only so much solicitors can do on legal aid some body in power needs to help get them out now they've destroyed many IPPs and their families.

Umm   got recalled and didn't do nothing wrong for him to be put back and he still sitting in jail after 2yrs and a half I really hope this parole board start letting them go on paper and we see results happening it's so hard this government need to really work there ass off to let dem go.

Killeen Difference is though most IPP'S got lifed of on first jail sentences 2 strikers been inside before (even tho a dnt agree with the way the treated) but its total different sentence.

To:  KatherineGleeson Sent: Tue, 6 Dec 2016 11:12 Subject: Re: IPP article on BuzzFeed Hi Katherine, Sorry for the delay - thanks for getting back to me, I'm covering a trial at the moment so I'm not responding as fast as I'd like. I'm going ahead with this article next week - and I'd be interested in speaking to one more person about this, someone who's the partner of someone serving an IPP sentence. I appreciate your point about there being a range of important stories not involving partners - but I'm always interested in hearing from people in future and