Eight of these prisoners concerned were given tariffs of less than three months. Twenty-two of them were given tariffs of less than six months;
27, tariffs of less than nine months;
64, tariffs of less than 12 months;
88, tariffs of less than 15 months;
114, tariffs of less than 18 months;
and 327 of them, tariffs of less than 24 months.
That makes 650 in all. The current assessment in relation to 500 of those 650 prisoners is that they present a very low or, at most, a medium risk of reoffending. The question arises as to how that can possibly have been allowed to happen. Those 650 are still in prison six, seven or even eight years after they completed those very short tariffs. How is this justified?’’
SEPTEMBER AND STILL WAITING ?
” 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. We are considering these proposals and will update on our plans in due course.”http://www.insidetime.org/more-pressure-to-release-ipps-from-former-justice-secretary-ken-clarke/
The response from the Government to the Justice Select Committee’s (JSC) report on prison safety, published last May, was so unsatisfactory that the Committee held a debate in Westminster Hall in September.
The government then pledged to produce a Prison Reform and Safety Plan, which so far has not been forthcoming. When pressed about whether his committee supported the Prison Governors Association’s (PGA) call for a Public Inquiry into the state of our prisons Bob Neill MP, a barrister for 30 years and Chair of the JSC said: “What I’d like to see first of all is for the government to produce that Prison Reform and Safety Plan they said they were going to. I think we need that urgently. I’m not sure about a public inquiry being the right way, but I do think there needs to be a public debate. We do have to have a national debate about what our prisons are for and are we getting it right in terms of the number of people we send to prison?
And what we do with them while they are there. I was very keen on the approach that Michael Gove was taking when he was Secretary of State – and I think in fairness, now she has got her feet under the table, Liz Truss is making it clear that she wants to go down the same route. That involves committing some resources from the government. My job as chairman of the Justice Select Committee is to keep up the pressure so they carry on with those reforms.”
I asked him to clarify exactly what a ‘select committee’ is. He explained that each government department has a select committee which shadows that department and acts as a scrutinising and monitoring mechanism on government. The committee is called ‘select’ because its members are selected from across all parties in the House of Commons. The justice committee looks at Justice and the agencies which answer to the Ministry of Justice, i.e. NOMS, the Prison Service, the Probation Service etc. The JSC also oversees the work of the Attorney General, the Solicitors Office and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). And they visit prisons.
Does the committee have any real power to change anything though? “We work by gathering evidence, holding inquiries,” he says. “All our hearings are in public and broadcast on the Parliament TV channel. At the end of our hearings we publish a report and the rules are that the government is obliged to respond within 60 days. If we’re not happy with that response we can get a debate tabled in the House of Commons.”
But does the committee have any real teeth? “It’s got actual teeth,” he says, “because we have the right to demand that people appear before us, we’ve got the right to ask for the disclosure of papers – we can grill people – and then we’ve got the power to name and shame if you like, which is quite an important power in politics.” Like the PGA, Neill says the JSC is concerned about the way prison officer numbers have dwindled over the past few years. During prison visits Neill says the committee “gets the sense of staff frustration,” and cites the figures. “Last year NOMS recruited about 2200 officers, but because so many had left they were only about 400 better off.” The fact is, I tell him, too many officers have only been in post for less than a year.
“Yes that’s right,” he says. “We’re losing experienced officers. That’s why in our safety report we were calling for an action plan to tackle safety in prisons and that’s got to include issues around staffing. Why aren’t we retaining experienced officers? That’s absolutely critical. If we don’t get satisfactory answers from this Prison Reform and Safety Plan from the Secretary of State then clearly we’re going to push very hard, because that’s fundamental.”
As a Conservative MP, I asked him if his role as Chair of the JSC might be compromised when he might have to be critical of the Conservative
government. Is he afraid of holding back? “All select committees seem to work best when they work cross party and that’s what we seem to do,” he says. “Our report on prison safety for example was agreed by consensus by all members on all sides. We’re there not there purely as party politicians we’re there as a committee to do a job for the House of Commons, holding the executive to account and that applies whichever party is the executive.” So you don’t have any qualms about coming down hard on your Conservative colleagues in power?
“No, not at all. Part of my job is to come down hard. It’s a bit like a judge has to come down without fear or favour if you like. We try and work constructively with government. There’s no point in taking party political pots for the sake of it. A good example is when we were very critical of the Criminal Courts charge that (former Justice Secretary) Chris Grayling introduced. We published a report that was quite damning about that. Michael Gove read it and listened and scrapped it.”
And why was he so unimpressed with the new Justice Secretary, Liz Truss when she appeared in front of the select committee recently? “I personally was disappointed when Michael left as I thought he was committed and clearly passionate about the job. I think perhaps Liz was taking her time to get prepared and ready for the brief. Perhaps she didn’t do herself justice at that appearance. Since then we have had constructive discussion with her and her ministers. We were frustrated because there wasn’t very much information coming out.
Maybe that’s because the new government was playing its cards close to its chest. But our job is to get that information out of them. Now we’re getting more and we need to move on. Now she has said she is committed to the reforms, now they have said that there will be a Prison and Courts Reform Bill, that was one of the uncertainties –
maybe they wanted time to think as to how they scoped it – it just might have been better if they’d said that rather than causing uncertainty. But I hope they’ve learnt a lesson from that, and now if they’re going forward with it, genuinely, then we’ll want to scrutinise that and make sure it delivers on the changes that we need.”
Earlier this year the JSC called for Restorative Justice (RJ), the practice of bringing together victims of crime and those who have offended against them. I asked Neill what led the committee to that conclusion. “As part of the package RJ has got two things to offer. One, it gives victims a say in the process and for some people that can make a real difference in getting over the trauma. It’s also very often constructive for the offender, in bringing them up sharp and bringing them to terms with the human cost of what they have done. It doesn’t work in every type of case, but we think it should be available in the mix. And it’s part of a broader and more sophisticated range of ways in which we punish people. You can link restorative justice with community sentences, and I believe we ought to be trying to reduce the prison population. I think alternatives that are robust are important and restorative justice helps on that and there is evidence that it can reduce reoffending, and that has got to be the key which is in everybody’s interests.”
Benno I received a sentance of 2 years 82 days and I have never been to cat,d I have been in prison for 10 years now and I just received another 12/24 month knock back. Its ridiculous how I'm being treated I'm a cat,c prisoner in a cat,b jail. . I have 2 co-defendants who both received 2 years straight sentence and one of them got a suspended sentence. But yet here I am 20 years later still serving an IPP sentence. It doesn't exist anymore its psychological torture. I only just turned 18 when I committed my offences I'm now 28 years old I'm gona be at least 30 when I see me progress on my sentence. Feel like I'm fighting a losing battle. i have done my semtance 3 times over and i should not be here Never mind adding on more which should not count asi have been hel here know fault of my own . You have informed the public all those over tariff will be released by 2017 those first being the logest over sentance and all other that are still serving there sentance or those with mental health issues by 2020. Katherine Gleeson who met you at the meeting is awaiting my outcome. 327 of us, tariffs of less than 24 months.
The current assessment in relation we present a very low or, at most, a medium risk of reoffending.
The question arises as to how that can possibly have been allowed to happen. still in prison six, seven and even eight years after they completed those very short tariffs. I have got trapped here .
The more I sit and think it over the more I don't understand how the MOJ and parole board, are not facing charges or being sued for doing and let's face it, getting away with something that is in every other humane aspect ILLEGAL!! It is unlawful to hold someone in prison for what they MIGHT do it's unlawful to torture a prisoner in Britain, and to their loved ones, let alone just damn right immoral and inhumane! If our loved ones can be imprisoned for their crimes, how on earth is it not applicable for the way the legal bodies behave! Think it's time that us loved ones considered pursuing a way to have them bought before the courts for still implementing and incarrcarating people for a sentence that no longer exists and for almost five years now too!! My other half did put in for compensation after they messed him around for a year with his hearing etc... He got 400 pound!! Legal expenses took that!! joke!! Never mind the mental torture me and our kids have gone through! I wonder of they were pursued for criminal charges for this sentence by enough ppl would it change anything??
Page It all so wrong what there doing two ipp prisons the mh there must be going through there done there time and more let them out full stop god b ap
McSherry I was 3 and a half years over tariff on parole delays alone....apparently you can claim compensation for such delays.....but no one wants to take the cases and fight it.....
Queen 2 years doing 11 years
Stanley 2 years done 8 years
Nokes 15 months would done 9 years death by suicide December 23
Letter to Liz Truss
25th November 2016 .
The Rn Honourable Elizabeth Truss
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice Ministry of Justice,
102 Petty France, London,
Dear Ms Truss
My name Katherine Gleeson i am founder of IPP petition and family campaign blog
I am writing to request a meeting with you, to discuss the IPP prisoners’ continued incarceration and furthermore the effects on the families. The government has deliberated for years and now it is time to act on the options given and address the injustice of the IPP as a matter of urgency, to end their continued incarceration and the misery suffered as a consequence. The prisoners have suffered enough and are finding the situation intolerable. I am aware of a father who is so desperate he is planning a hunger strike, and others are planning a mass lobby. Sky news has been in contact and German media; however all we want is for the prisoners to come home. I am continuously willing to work with those who are pursuing various options and feel that this issue can be dealt with via the possibilities that are open to you.
I received an invitation by Nick Hardwick and Martin Jones postdate the 9th August 2016, to discuss the issues arising around IPP prisoners. In advance of this meeting I set up a “write- in” campaign jointly with Inside Times for families and prisoners/staff to discuss the problems and observations and this proved to be successful. Nick Hardwick has informed me he presented those findings to you.
Since then I have also attended the Independent Monitoring Board conference to give an impact statement on how the IPP sentence has affected the families and brought some to the point of break down.
I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to meet with you. If you are not available, I would be happy to work with your staff to find a more convenient time. I hope your busy schedule will allow you to meet me Katherine Gleeson and Ann Horton (who is the grandmother of an IPP prisoner). Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to hearing from you soon or from your office.
Implications of Brexit for the justice system