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Saturday, 1 October 2016

As previously mentioned some 27.00 families sent a letter through 38 Degrees requesting a response from Liz Truss, the families received no response. Her obvious disregard for prisoners and there family is distressing and infuriating, they need answers. The IPP sentence is a major injustice current in the media however Liz Truss agenda failed to mention IPP prisoners in her agenda though there is a coronary inquest into the staggering amount of IPP prisoner’s deaths.


In her first appearance before the Justice Select Committee last month since taking over the role from Michael Gove in July, Liz Truss Justice Secretary  cast a shadow of uncertainty over the government’s much heralded prison reform agenda. She appeared to be unaware of many of the key issues facing her department and her performance was later derided as “lacklustre” by parliamentary colleagues. Labour MP for Cardiff Central and Shadow Justice Minister Jo Stevens was present as the Justice Secretary was quizzed and described her performance as “absolutely shambolic.”

Time for an honest conversation on prison reform, says Shadow Justice Minister Jo Stevens. “There are too many people in prison”

Stevens described the Justice Secretary Liz Truss’s appearance in front of the Justice Select Committee when she was questioned about the bill by Conservative MP Bob Neil as, “absolutely shambolic.” Was it really that bad? “Yes,” she says without hesitation. “I don’t want to be personal. But if you’ve taken on the brief, you’re the new Justice Secretary, you’re up before the Justice Select Committee with a Conservative chair, you certainly should be prepared. You should know your brief. She had the whole summer to get to grips with it. It was just excruciating I thought.”

So is it more the case then that the problem was that Liz Truss just hadn’t quite got her head around the whole prison reform agenda, including the bill that was initiated by her predecessor Michael Gove?

“When Bob Neil asked her about the prison reform bill, he was clearly taken aback by her response. I didn’t know if she had just misheard the question, of if she just made a mistake. But we came out of that hearing and we were no clearer about what it is that’s going to happen.”

But Liz Truss did tell the Committee that she had “plans.”

But Liz Truss did tell the Committee that she had “plans.” Although she said she was “not committing” to specific legislation as proposed by Michael Gove, she said her own plans, which she would be announcing in the autumn, had to be, “deliverable.” “I am working on a delivery plan at the moment which we do not currently have,” she told Neil.

Stevens smiles. “Oh there are plans. There are lots of things she’s looking at. But in her evidence to the Committee when she was asked about specific points, thirty nine times she said, ‘I’m looking at that.’ There were no specific answers. And yet in the Queen’s speech the prison reform bill was the flagship piece of legislation for this year. So it’s really disappointing. I was very critical of Michael Gove in terms of delivery but I do believe he was a reformist. He talked a good talk. But actually nothing really happened. I hoped that Liz Truss would also be a reformist, because I just think that for too long governments of all colours have treated prison policy in isolation. For me, prison policy is an integral part of our education policy, our health policy and all sorts of socio-economic factors. Equalities – how black and ethnic minority people are disproportionately represented in prison, how women prisoners are treated and the difference between the approach in the justice system towards women and men. You have to look at prison policy across the board.”

In fairness I point out, the changes Michael Gove proposed were huge. The people who work and live in our prisons are completely aware that the system has been a bloated, unwieldy entity for several decades and to effect real change will take time. Gove was the first senior politician for a long time who was prepared to stand up and say radical change is needed. For many people the prison system in this country has been a source of shame for too long. Was Stevens broadly in agreement with Gove? “I was looking at it as a broader issue. We would need to see exactly what they were going to do. So they’re building new prisons, they were going to sell off some prison land, get rid of some aging prisons, but we still don’t have any information on that. I mean these new reform prisons that are supposed to be being built – well I mean these builders that are going to get them all built by 2020, I’d quite like them to come around my house because I can’t get builders to work that quickly.”

Were the government’s plans too ambitious does she think? “I just think they are setting expectations that they are not going to be able to deliver. But the whole reform agenda? Well regarding prison governor autonomy – if you’ve got a really good prison governor in charge with real leadership qualities, who is somebody that the whole team, the whole prison respects – well that is key to a successful prison. But governors get shunted around from prison to prison, there is little continuity. It’s no coincidence that in the better performing private prison sector Directors stay in post for a long time. They are able to establish that continuity and improve standards. Whereas in the public sector which they then get compared to, it’s not a level playing field.”

So what would she do if she were to become Justice Secretary? “For me, you can talk all the reform you want, about the structures and governors and what their powers are. But actually, until you get enough prison staff and reduce the prisoner population so that you can create stable regimes where people can access education and training and get a sense of proper rehabilitation we’ll never resolve the problems that we’ve got.” So if she was in power would she actually drive to reduce the prisoner population? “Yes absolutely,” she says. “We’re responsible for much of the high numbers in our prisons because of the numbers of criminal laws we’ve passed, which creates more offences. And there is sentence creep as well. But if you look at our prisoner population there are people in there who just shouldn’t be in. There are far too many in there with mental health issues, who need treatment. There are vulnerable women in for civil matters who have been led into crime when they’ve been victims of crime. So I think we need to have an honest conversation and be up front about the fact that there are too many people in our prisons.”

Responding to this interview a Ministry of Justice spokesperson said: “The government remains totally committed to legislating on prison reform and will come forward with plans in due course. We also remain committed to legislating on reform of our court system to provide a better and more efficient service. Again, we will come forward with plans in due course.”

 

One prisoner quotes to inside times

You are Punished for using the complaints system We, are told to use the complaints process, but we are not told of the backlash when we do. I am a recall 2-strike lifer and I am in my parole window, but now I’ve been shipped so far from my family by HMP Stoke Heath. I was misled by the Security Department and threatened with nickings if I didn’t go, so I took it on the chin and came here as I could not afford a nicking this close to my parole hearing.

I have to say that Stoke Heath is no place for black men, or even travellers, as it is a very racist jail. I was racially abused in front of staff and nobody came to see me about it when I complained, it was just brushed under the carpet. HMP Stoke Heath is, in my opinion and experience, badly-run and needs to change before they have any more self-harm or suicide attempts.

The IPP contradiction

I got 18 months IPP tariff, I’ve been in 11 years and one month and I’m classed as low risk of reconviction. I can’t lower my risk any more as it only goes to low risk and my probation officer won’t release me. As probation tell IPP prisoners, there could be new Intervention Programmes come out in 10 years’ time, so IPPs get knocked back on parole as guinea pigs.

IPP prisoners won’t get parole as the Probation/Parole board won’t release us. And Probation say it is easier to recall an IPP back to prison as they only have to do paper work once per year, otherwise she needs to do paperwork every week if IPP is released.

IPPs can’t get employment because employers say IPP prisoners are unreliable, [through] no fault of their own, because we can be recalled for no reason, which makes the workforce go down. Unless IPP sentenced prisoners are transferred to fixed term we are stuck.

The lower the IPP tariff, the less serious the crime. So, you should scrap IPP sentences for any tariff of two years and under, and give us fixed tariffs. And that leaves the serious offenders with higher tariffs in the system.


We are sentenced for what we ‘might do’ along with what we did. So in reality, everybody within the United Kingdom, civilians etc. must be sent to prison as they ‘might’ commit a crime, otherwise it’s contradictory to such a sentence.

IPPs can’t be released as risk is too high. A contradiction has occurred again. Cat A prisoners are the most dangerous prisoners in the UK, they present a serious risk to life and limb to all members of society. But Cat A prisoners get released every day, without doing interventions, as they have a release date.

Yet another contradiction, many normal sentenced prisoners get released every day who have far more serious offences, who pose a high risk or who have sex offences/convictions under their belts. But they get a release date.

Also terrorists. They plan to kill millions of people, but they get a release date only to do it again. I’m ex-military. You cannot reform terrorists, their plan is to kill themselves and everybody around them to become a martyr. But they get a release date.

When you look at it, IPP is a very low category of offending, but we get punished for everybody else. Probation say, because five people in our category (now IPP) re-offend, that will automatically make [all] IPPs offend. This is not true.

 

More pressure to release IPPs from former Justice Secretary Ken Clarke

More pressure has been put on the government to address the problem of IPP prisoners after former Justice Secretary Ken Clarke urged ministers to tackle the issue when it emerged that as many as 2,000 remain in London prisons.

Indeterminate Public Protection (IPP) sentences were stopped by Mr Clarke four years ago but he said his reforms had not gone far enough and called for those sentenced before 2012 to have their IPPs removed retrospectively.

“Most lawyers regard IPPs as a stain on the justice system, it is just a question of when some minister has the courage to put up with the morning’s bad press”

Speaking on the BBC’s ‘Inside Out’ programme he said; “Most lawyers regard IPPs as a stain on the justice system, it is just a question of when some minister has the courage to put up with the morning’s bad press. Getting rid of these IPPs was one of my top priorities. I favour tough sentences for people who have been extremely violent but filling prisons up with an enormous open-ended supply of people, sometimes with excessive sentences for what they have actually done, is something I disapproved of.”

The Inside Out programme reported that a severe lack of hearings, and of spaces on the offender behaviour courses IPP prisoners must complete, means 2,000 out of 4,000 prisoners have still not been assessed for release. It is estimated that the backlog will take up to seven years to clear.

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “The Chairman of the Parole Board has made a number of recommendations to improve the parole system and reduce the backlog of IPP prisoners. We are considering these proposals and will update on our plans in due course.”

 

Former Justice Secretary Ken Clarke today urged ministers to tackle the issue of prisoners serving indeterminate sentences, as it emerged that as many are 2,000 languish in London jails.

Indeterminate Public Protection (IPP) sentences were banned by Mr Clarke four years ago but he said his reforms had not gone far enough.

He called for those sentenced before 2012 to have their IPPs removed retrospectively. “Most lawyers regard IPPs as a stain on the justice system,” he told the BBC’s Inside Out programme. 

“It is just a question of when some minister has the courage to put up with the morning’s bad press.

“Getting rid of these IPPs was one of my top priorities. I favour tough sentences for people who have been ex-tremely violent but filling prisons up with an enormous open-ended supply of people, sometimes with excessive sentences for what they have actually done, is something I disapproved of.”

Before they can be released, those serving IPP sentences must go before a parole board to prove they are no longer a risk to the public.

However, Inside Out reports that a severe lack of hearings, and of spaces on the offender behaviour courses IPP prisoners must complete, means 2,000 out of 4,000 inmates have still not been assessed for release. It is estimated that the backlog will take up to seven years to clear.

Rapists, murderers and paedophiles were the intended targets of IPPs, introduced by the Labour government in 2003. But some convicted of less serious offences such as fighting and shoplifting have also been imprisoned for public protection and never released.

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “The Chairman of the Parole Board has made a number of recommendations to improve the parole system and reduce the backlog of IPP prisoners. We are considering these proposals and will update on our plans in due course.”
Inside Out, BBC1

 


The Parole Board

 has experienced an increase in the demand for oral hearings since the Osborn, Booth and Riley judgment handed down in 2013. This has resulted in delays for a considerable number of prisoners waiting for an oral hearing date. The listing prioritisation framework, which was developed to help us manage the increased volume of cases, currently prioritises recalled determinate sentenced prisoners above most other prisoners when allocating oral hearing dates each month. Unfortunately, this has resulted in the majority of other prisoners experiencing much longer delays before their oral hearing date is set. We recognise that we need to change our current approach in order to ensure fairness across the system.

To address this problem, we have developed 4 trials that we will be piloting from now until the end of March 2017:

1. We will work closer with PPCS to make more effective use of the option of ‘executive release’. Eligible cases will be considered for executive release at an earlier stage of the parole process, before a case is directed to an oral hearing. We hope this will reduce the number of cases waiting in the queue for an oral hearing date and allow prisoners to be released more quickly.

2. We are extending the cut off point for determinate cases with an upcoming Sentence Expiry Date (SED). We currently conclude cases directed to oral hearing if the SED is within 12 weeks’ time of the oral hearing directions. This is because there is insufficient time to schedule an oral hearing before a prisoner will be automatically released. This will now be extended to 24 weeks.

3. We will change the listing prioritisation framework so that prisoners who have 12 months or less before their SED will no longer be prioritised. This means most recall cases will no longer be listed ahead of other sentence types, resulting in a fairer system. A full review of the listings framework will take place by April 2017.

4. We are looking into the possibility of using Ministry of Justice video link rooms across the UK to host hearings for determinate sentence prisoners. Currently, we can only host video link hearings at our London based office which limits our capacity. We hope that by creating regional hubs across the UK, more cases can be heard more swiftly. This will also hopefully ensure prisoners with determinate sentences will not be disadvantaged by the above pilots.

We are taking a flexible approach to these pilots and if any prisoners believes that they have exceptional circumstances that warrant prioritisation of their case they can write to the Parole Board. Such circumstances can include, but are not limited to, medical/mental health issues and/or compassionate reasons for example.

If you believe you are affected by one of the above pilots then we strongly recommend you seek guidance from a legal representative or a member of prison staff.

 

Justice Committee launch inquiry into prison reform – have your say

The House of Commons Justice Committee has launched an inquiry into the Government programme of reforms to prisons on the assumption that, as indicated by the new Justice Secretary, Elizabeth Truss, there will be no substantial change to the programme of reforms including the £1.3bn estate modernisation programme, the creation of reform prisons to give prison governors greater autonomy, and the implementation of Dame Sally Coates’ education review. In doing so they are seeking the views of interested parties.

The Committee is asking for written evidence on the following topics:

1. What should be the purpose(s) of prisons?

How should

 the prison estate modernisation programme and;

 reform prisons proposals best fit these purposes and deal most appropriately with those held?

What should be the roles, responsibilities and accountabilities of

prison staff;

prison governors;

National Offender Management Service;

Ministry of Justice officials and Ministers and;

other agencies and departments;

in creating a modern and effective prison system?

2. What are the key opportunities and challenges of the central components of prison reform so far announced by the Government, and their development and implementation?

3. What can be learnt from existing or past commissioning and procurement arrangements for i) private sector prisons and ii) ancillary prison services which have been outsourced?

4. What principles should be followed in constructing measures of performance for prisons?

5. What can be learnt from

other fields, notably health and education and;

other jurisdictions about the creation of prison trusts or foundations and related performance measures?

6. Are existing mechanisms for regulation and independent scrutiny of prisons fit for purpose?

7. What are the implications for prison reform of

the Transforming Rehabilitation programme and;

devolution of criminal justice budgets now and in the future?

The Committee will be grateful for submissions in response to any or all of the topics above by 30 September 2016. The Committee’s current plans are to conduct a series of sub-inquiries into discrete aspects of prison reform as the Government’s programme develops, and further calls for evidence which will provide an opportunity for more detailed comment as appropriate.

If you would like to make your views on any of the topics above known to the Committee please write to them at Justice Committee, House of Commons, Westminster, London, SW1A 0AA. If you would like fuller information and a copy of the guidelines then the Committee will be happy to send these to you prior to you making your submission.

Please note that your submission should be concise and to the point and the Committee are unable to intervene in individual cases. Submissions are published but if you would like your name and prison number, or your submission, to be kept confidential then you should specify that clearly in your letter. Your correspondence with the Justice Committee is not covered by Rule 39 and may be read by prisons.

 

So my brother has got his parole today in which his inside parole officer and his solicitor are backing him for release he has been in there 10 years and still not heard anything it's so frustratingWhy have they deferred/adjourned it for six months?

Owen

I'm so sorry to hear this. A brave man told me once that living with an ipp is like being buried alive and waiting for your body to stop breathing. Sadly his died. He was over tarrif and to ill to do the courses. Persecution is what you and your brother are suffering from. Keep writing letters, everytime you do you make them pay for keeping him in there. Pick them up on every point they make in their replies. Make it clear that your right to a family life is being engaged because there is no end date. It's agony behind a locked door every night but its also painful for all those family members waiting for them to come out too. The justice secretary needs to be reminded everyday or she will simply look the other way https://static.xx.fbcdn.net/images/emoji.php/v5/ue/1/16/1f622.png

 


I got recalled after 8 weeks cuz I missed a train bk to the hostel but shouldn't have been recalled but took me 6 months for another oral hearing but got released bk to my mums but since then in last 5 yrs no hiccups


My brothers on his tenth year of a 2nd half IPP rec that he got. It's sickening an is only going to get worse.


Sorry to hear that. You're right - where has justice gone? What do IPPs need to do to get out? It seems they can't win whatever they do. xx

Ford I think it suffers from the effects of eleven years' frustration, & he's not a lawyer, so just speaking his truth as best he can


So my son's solicitor is no longer doing prison law and has passed all his cases to someone else. ...his parole is in 3 weeks time and no one has been in touch with my son ....he is really struggling now and after everyone had agreed he should be released. ..his probation officers has now said he should do yet another course ...he's gutted and I'm worried sick about him .... Thank you John Turner I just don't know what to do. ...I need someone to help my son ...11 years now 18 month tariff. ...he can't do another


Tracey - sorry to hear this. I'm a specialist prison lawyer with a particular interest in IPP parole. Let me know if I can be of help

Abbott Omg this is outrageous Tracey I hope and pray someone can help your son this is so wrong. Xx

Again! (sighing) wants to speak to you Michael... (Michael Is a manager) "oh who's she never spoke to her before" (woman says..) oh she's just moaning as usual, just tell her to write her complaint in, shel go on a bit but itl get rid of her! (then laugBBBBrackenbury
I'm shocked! Nothing surprises me anymore!..... Here's a little insight into how much probation give a shit about any of our loved ones!... Ring up this morning for one final beg for a manager to meet with me to discuss their wrong doings towards my partner.. I get hang on il put you on hold a sec... Puts me on hold.. Or so she thinks!!.. I can hear every bloody word!!
Again! (sighing) wants to speak to you Michael... (Michael Is a manager) "oh who's she never spoke to her before" (woman says..) oh she's just moaning as usual, just tell her to write her complaint in, shel go on a bit but itl get rid of her! (then laughs!)

HMP WAYLAND Once again loool well I don't blame the prisoners they just need to be heard they are treated badly and I don't think they care about the prisoners they have had enough so what do they expect of them... Zing Yeah lack of release plan i have come across years ago, also probation officer changes near parole i have seen, because they are not familiar with the prisoner. I beleive they change probation bear parole on purpose not sure
The shock horror in her voice when she comes back on the line and here's me saying... I heard every last f**kin word of that you spineless cow!.. Went mad is an understatement, told her il be taking her job... NOW they a
Morning everyone,There are numerous campaigners out there all doing a fabulous job. But i just want to say a big thank you to Katherine Gleeson who has always been both realistic and relentless in her approach. Your awesome katherineThank you x

 

Jackie Szulimowski - HMP & YOI Low Newton -


IPP Sentence


I stood in the dock,

the judge said to me

“Eighteen months, with an IPP”

“Wow” I thought, that’s not a lot

But ten years later, still in jail I rot

Nine years over tariff

Ten months over parole

Still here I rot in this hell-hole

Victim awareness – DBT

Women and anger – LNV

Four long years on the DSPD

Now nine months on PIPE

I feel I’m stagnating

All courses completed

So why am I still waiting?

IPP sentence now abolished

But what about me

And the four to five thousand

Who long to be free?

Enough is enough

How much more can we take?

We’re only human

So please, give us a break

The IPP sentence

Was one big, big mistake

 

http://www.insidetime.org/shambolic/




http://www.insidetime.org/ipp-sentence/
Again! (sighing) wants to speak to you Michael... (Michael Is a manager) "oh who's she never spoke to her before" (woman says..) oh she's just moaning as usual, just tell her to write her complaint in, shel go on a bit but itl get rid of her! (then laughs!)

The shock horror in her voice when she comes back on the line and here's me saying... I heard every last f**kin word of that you spineless cow!.. Went mad is an understatement, told her il be taking her job... NOW they all

.. Again! (sighing) wants to speak to you Michael... (Michael Is a manager) "oh who's she never spoke to her before" (woman says..) oh she's just moaning as usual, just tell her to write her complaint in, shel go on a bit but itl get rid of her! (then laughs!) The shock horror in her voice when she comes back on the line and here's me saying... I heard every last f**kin word of that you spineless cow!.. Went
.. Again! (sighing) wants to speak to you Michael... (Michael Is a manager) "oh who's she never spoke to her before" (woman says..) oh she's just moaning as usual, just tell her to write her complaint in, shel go on a bit but itl get rid of her! (then laughs
 

The shock horror in her voice when she comes back on the line and here's me saying... I heard every last f**kin word of that you spineless cow!.. Went mad is an understatement, told her il be taking her job... NOW they all wanna be helpf

 
 

 

 

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