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Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Richard Branson's wants the release of IPP prisoners.

Richard Branson putting the case for Virgin Trains

AS I pointed out a few weeks ago, there are two ways to reduce overcrowding and violence in prisons. You can either employ more prison staff or release more prisoners. For a few days it looked as though Whitehall was going to rely on the recruitment option. Now, the chief inspector of prisons, Peter Clarke says it's time to “get a grip” on the issue of prisoners serving IPP  . Under present arrangements, these 3,800  offenders are held until it can be shown they are no risk to the public. Yeah, let's start letting 'em out. 

Sky News, Shaun Attwood IPP sentence is a psychological Terror.


No One Knows

IPP Prisoners and those with leaning differences and those given no end date.

There does not seem to be any  procedure to ensure the particular support needs of individual in prison are  recognised.

I express concern that adults with learning disabilities and other impairments may not be receiving the right,s to a fair trial, enshrined in Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, as a result of their difficulties in understanding prison the legal and judicial process.

There needs to be routine screening and assessment to identify adults support needs.

Nothing is fair about a system where things are not explained or understood and where people are not properly represented or protected, and the adolescent mental health services, are limited. Staff seem to have no training to help identify when adults might have particular impairments and difficulties.

Adults with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)

The impairments and difficulties are · Learning disabilities · Specific learning difficulties, dyspraxia ,dyslexia · Communication difficulties · Mental health problems · Low literacy levels/difficulties with literacy · Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) · Autistic spectrum disorder Can affect an adult or young person’s ability to learn. They can affect their: a snap shot being behaviour or ability to socialise, eg they struggle to make friends

  • reading and writing, eg because they have dyslexia
  • ability to understand things
  • concentration levels, eg because they have ADHD
  • physical ability

A request can also be made by anyone else who thinks an assessment may be necessary, including doctors, health visitors, prison parents and family friends. Commenting on the Criminal Justice Joint Inspectorate report,

Juliet Lyon, Director of the Prison Reform Trust, said: “This report reveals that at every turn people with learning disabilities caught up in the justice system are being let down by a failure to recognise and meet their needs. Often vulnerable and isolated, people with learning disabilities are getting little or no help to understand and navigate a scary and incomprehensible world of police stations ,courts and prison . “In light of this report, the government must honour its Care not Custody promise. 

While the two million-strong coalition, led by the WI and the Prison Reform Trust, welcomes the recent commitment to fund an extension of liaison and diversion trial sites in police stations and courts, it notes that resources have been reduced and the timescale for delivery for a full national service delayed from 2014 to 2017. “For too long people with a learning disability, many of whom should be diverted from police stations and courts into social care, have ended up in prison as a default option, while others are left without the support they need as they continue through the justice process.” Number serving are serving IPP sentences for relatively minor crimes such as burglary ABH with no release date. Numbers not been given courses to prove to the petrol board they are no longer a risk they have to prove they want reoffend , because there not allowed on the courses they have sentences with no release date. 

The prison reform trust 09/09 2015 The study heard from family members, including parents, grand-parents, siblings and partners of young people and adults with particular needs such as mental health problems, learning disabilities or autism in contact with criminal justice services. 20-30% of people in prison are estimated to have a learning disability or difficulty that interferes with their ability to cope with the criminal justice system. 26% of women and 16% of men said they had received treatment for a mental health problem in the year before custody.

Mental health and learning disability care25/11/2015 Sir, Far too often people with mental health needs or a learning disability become caught up in the criminal justice system. Dyslexia is a hidden disability thought to affect around 10% of the population, 4% severely. It is the most common of the Specific Learning Difficulties, a family of related conditions with considerable overlap or co-occurrence. Together these are believed to affect around 15% of people to a lesser or greater extent. Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLDs) affect the way information is learned and processed. They are neurological (rather than psychological), usually hereditary and occur independently of intelligence. 

They include:


Dyslexia. Contrary to popular misconception, Dyslexia is not only about literacy, although weaknesses in literacy are often the most visible sign. Dyslexia affects the way information is processed, stored and retrieved, with problems of memory, speed of processing, time perception, organisation and sequencing.

Dyspraxia Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), also known as Dyspraxia in the UK, is a common disorder affecting fine and/or gross motor coordination in children and adults. This condition is formally recognised by international organisations including the World Health Organisation. DCD is distinct from other motor disorders such as cerebral palsy and stroke. The range of intellectual ability is in line with the general population. Individuals may vary in how their difficulties present; these may change over time depending on environmental demands and life experience, and will persist into adulthood. An individual’s coordination difficulties may affect participation and functioning of everyday life skills in education, work and employment. Children may present with difficulties with self-care, writing, typing, riding a bike, play as well as other educational and recreational activities. In adulthood many of these difficulties will continue, as well as learning new skills at home, in education and work, such as driving a car and DIY. There may be a range of co-occurring difficulties which can also have serious negative impacts on daily life. These include social emotional difficulties as well as problems with time management, planning and organisation and these may impact an adult’s education or employment experiences. 

Dyscalculia Dyscalculia is characterised by an inability to understand simple number concepts and to master basic numeracy skills. There are likely to be difficulties dealing with numbers at very elementary levels; this includes learning number facts and procedures, telling the time, time keeping, understanding quantity, prices and money. Difficulties with numeracy and maths are also common with dyslexia.

ADHD/ADD. Signs of Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder include inattention, restlessness, impulsive, erratic, unpredictable and inappropriate behaviour, blurting out inappropriate comments or interrupting excessively. Some people come across unintentionally as aggressive. Most fail to make effective use of feedback. If no hyperactivity is present, the term Attention Deficit Disorder should be used: these individuals have particular problems remaining focused so may appear 'dreamy' and not to be paying attention. People with this condition are very easily distracted, lose track of what they are doing and have poor listening skills. By failing to pay attention to details, they may miss key points. Autistic characteristics can co-exist with the conditions described above. Those affected often demonstrate unusual behaviours due to inflexible thinking, over-reliance on routines, a lack of social and communication skills. People with Asperger Syndrome may have learned to largely conceal their problems but still find any social interaction very challenging and panic easily when they cannot cope. Since Specific Learning Difficulties are still not adequately understood in all schools many children and young people slip through education unidentified and unsupported.


Be aware that similar terminology can lead to confusion. For example, the term 'Learning Difficulties' is generally applied to people with generalised (as opposed to specific) difficulties who are of low intelligence and often lack mental capacity. Many people with Specific Learning Difficulties tend to refer to themselves as having a Specific Learning Difference (both generally abbreviated to SpLDs), while others regard a label containing the word 'Learning' as inappropriate when they are no longer in education.

Areas of typical difficulty for all Specific Learning Difficulties. Information Processing.

  • Difficulties with taking in information efficiently (this could be written or auditory).
  • Slow speed of information processing, such as a 'penny dropping' delay between hearing something and understanding and responding to it.


  • Poor short term memory for facts, events, times, dates.
  • Poor working memory; i.e. difficulty holding on to several pieces of information while undertaking a task e.g. taking notes as you listen, coping with compound questions.
  • Mistakes with routine information e.g. giving your age or the ages of your children.
  • Inability to hold on to information without referring to notes.

Communication skills.

  • Lack of verbal fluency and lack of precision in speech.
  • Word-finding problems.
  • Inability to work out what to say quickly enough.
  • Misunderstandings or misinterpretations during oral exchanges.
  • Over-loud speech (which may come across as aggressive) or murmuring that cannot be clearly heard.
  • Sometimes mispronunciations or a speech impediment may be evident.


  • Lateness or difficulty in acquiring reading and writing skills. Some dyslexic adults have severe literacy problems and may be functionally illiterate.
  • Where literacy has been mastered, residual problems generally remain such as erratic spelling, difficulty extracting the sense from written material, difficulty with unfamiliar words, an inability to scan or skim text.
  • Particular difficulty with unfamiliar types of language such as technical terminology, acronyms.

Sequencing, Organisation and Time Management.

  • Difficulty presenting a sequence of events in a logical, structured way.
  • Incorrect sequencing of number and letter strings.
  • Tendency to misplace items; chronic disorganisation.
  • Poor time management: particular difficulties in estimating the passage of time.

Direction and Navigation.

  • Difficulty with finding the way to places or navigating the way round an unfamiliar building.


  • Weak listening skills, a limited attention span, problems maintaining focus.
  • A tendency to be easily distracted, inability to remain focused.

Sensory Sensitivity.

  • A heightened sensitivity to
  • noise and visual stimuli.
  • Impaired ability to screen
  • out background noise or movement.
  • Sensations of mental
  • overload / switching off.

Lack of awareness.

  • Failure to realise the consequences of their speech or actions.
  • Failure to take account of body language.
  • Missing the implications of what they are told or interpreting it over-literally.

Visual Stress. Some people with dyslexic difficulties may experience visual stress when reading. Text can appear distorted and words or letters appear to move or become blurred. White paper or backgrounds can appear too dazzling and make print hard to decipher. Example of Visual Stress: Coping Strategies. It must be emphasised that individuals vary greatly in their Specific Learning Difficulties profile. Key variables are the severity of the difficulties and the ability of the individual to identify and understand their difficulties and successfully develop and implement coping strategies. By adulthood, many people with Specific Learning Difficulties are able to compensate through technology, reliance on others and an array of self-help mechanisms - the operation of which require sustained effort and energy. Unfortunately, these strategies are prone to break down under stressful conditions which impinge on areas of weakness. 

Effects of stress. Research and self-reporting both concur that people with Specific Learning Difficulties are particularly susceptible to stress, compared with the ordinary population, with the result that their impairments become even more pronounced. As a result of their difficulties, many people with Specific Learning Difficulties have little confidence and low self-esteem. Areas of Strength. On the positive side, Specific Learning Difficulties are also linked to a range of skills. These include 'big picture' thinking, problem-solving and lateral thinking abilities, an instinctive understanding of how things work, originality, creativity and exceptional visual-spatial skills. Famous individuals with Specific Learning Difficulties include Einstein, Churchill, JFK, Agatha Christie, Richard Branson, James Dyson, Sir Jackie Stewart, leading artists, architects, engineers, entrepreneurs, sportsmen and many stars of stage and screen. Not all people with dyslexia and related difficulties will have outstanding talents, but all will have comparative strengths and often demonstrate great perseverance and determination.

IPP Sentence

Despite its abolition in 2012, the effects of the disastrous IPP sentence continue to be felt by the 4,614 people still in prison, three-quarters of whom have already served their TIME, the minimum time they must spend in prison. A Parole Board facing significant resource pressures, and an increasing backlog of cases, means that many continue to be held years beyond what was anticipated, with little or no prospect of AN END OR release.

Firstly, many prisoners on IPPs have not committed the kind of crimes for which IPPs were designed, but less serious ones. Secondly, there was inconsistency in sentencing even for serious crimes – some prisoners who have committed identical crimes are IPP prisoners, some are not.

This is clearly unjust. Thirdly, IPP prisoners have “indeterminate” sentences, which means that they never know exactly when they will be released, unlike normal prisoners. The effect of living under this level of stress and uncertainty means that IPP prisoners are significantly more likely to suffer mental health issues than other prisoners.

Research indicates that they may be twice as likely to suffer such issues. Fourthly, many of the courses which IPP prisoners are required to complete before they have any chance of being released, are not easily available or not allowed on them . Not all prisons provide them, and / or there is a long waiting list for many courses. 

Through no fault of their own, therefore, many IPP prisoners are unable to “prove” that they are no longer a danger. Fifthly, IPP prisoners, even if released, are on licence for at least 10 years, and can be recalled to prison at any time for even minor offences. They are never allowed to put their crime behind them, because their licence can be extended indefinitely. Their official sentence length is 99 years.

So is anything being done about this?

The government abolished the IPP sentence on December 3rd 2012, so no more could be imposed after that. However, it did nothing at all about the 5-6000 prisoners still serving IPP sentences, and has consistently refused to tackle the problem, saying that more and more IPP prisoners are now being released. Unfortunately, the Parole Board has such a backlog of cases to be heard that according to the MOJ’s own figures, it will take about 9 years at the present rate, for all IPP prisoners to be released (currently around 4,700 in all) – by then all will be over their tariff. In 2012 the European Court of Human Rights ruled that indeterminate sentences breached prisoners’ human rights, because of the fact that rehabilitative courses were not being made available even after the tariff had been served, yet still the situation has not improved.

What are the alternatives?

  • The Government has the power to change the release test for IPP prisoners, in accordance with section 128 of LASPO 2012*
  • The law already provides for long licence periods for ordinary prisoners who need close monitoring on release, by “extended” sentences**. These could be applied to IPP prisoners.

This would give a definite release date, to end the injustice

*Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 **The judge decides how long the offender should stay in prison and also fixes the extended licence period up to a maximum of eight years. The offender will either be entitled to automatic release at the two thirds point of the custodial sentence or be entitled to apply for parole at that point. If parole is refused the offender will be released at the expiry of the prison term. Following release, the offender will be subject to the licence where he will remain under the supervision of the National Offender Management Service until the expiry of the extended period.

I further underlined what I would like to see change

  • To request the Secretary of State for Justice to exercise their power to change the release test for the IPP prisoners under Section 128 of the LASPO Act, for an effective system in place that works
  • and the IPP sentences to be converted into extended sentences, as changing the release test will not necessarily get rid of the "99-year-licence" problem.
  • (the Lord Chief Justice agrees that these are the options available for change)

At the very least, the Government must increase the number of Parole Board members, so that hearings can be held more frequently and reduce the current backlog and delays.

  • Learning disabilities. Investigate the failure to provide accommodation and aids for those with learning disabilities as a result have may serve longer custodial sentences than others convicted of comparable crimes. Limited supply with long queues for these and for Parole Board reviews. People who are mentally ill, on medication or have learning disabilities are effectively barred from these courses and barred from the only route out of this awful maze, does not the Disability discrimination Act apply in prison.

I would like your thoughts on "Lex posterior derogat priori"..... · "Lex posterior derogat priori"..... more recent law prevails over an inconsistent earlier law. Can this be applied to this situation, where the IPP has been abolished, but the earlier law is still in force for those who received an IPP before it was abolished?

Reasonable adjustments and adequate alternatives

High Court of Justice ruled that the Secretary of State had failed in its duty at providing reasonable adjustments and adequate alternatives for an prisoners effectively barred from the Thinking Skills Programme because his IQ fell below the required programme admission criteria.

Pipeline to Prison:

Special education too often leads to jail for ... bipolar disorder to learning disabilities like ... lead to more arrests and jail time, OFTEN SPENDING DOUBLE THE TIME comparable to others without DIFFERENCES?


Jez Owen Abit is concerned about them intergrating people with personality disorders into their so called Risk Assessments. Their risk assessments are perceived risk calculations and are fictitious anyway. So then to start intergrating yet more calculations based on most likely poorly diagnosed assessments of personality disorders will only create more victims of a system that discriminates, persecutes and causes undue trauma on both their subject and family. Best to give everyone an equal chance to get on with their life and stop trying to tell someone's future. There are millions of people with personality disorders and alot are successful business men and women. Don't judge a book by its cover. Thank you Jez you have a valid point .This is the same for those with dyslexia ,dyspraxia and other..... they see these as risk, and if your a risk your likely not to be released or spend double the time compered to others.

“One young man in an recent ruling was told by a judge unlikely see a release until his behavior is consistent.How can you one be consistent with impairments ? 

It is all good and well to demonstrating however it is lobbying that changes laws a majority vote we need and to get that means we  need an army Everyone we can get to post to there MP.

 What does lobbying?

Who is my Mp! Enter your postcode, on the right side of the link

“You can make a difference !

what can i do ?

Template letter for MP


Dear .........................................MP

As one of your constituents I would like to Lobby the IPP prisoners and those with learning disabilities. I would like you to table questions to the house regarding the injustice. I would be happy to talk to you further about my concerns in person.

I really care about this issue because ADD PERSONAL STORY HERE or add the line this issue has deeply affected my family.

Look forward to hearing from you soon

Yours sincerely,



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