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Monday, 5 December 2016

Treatment of prisoners serving the unjust IPP sentences is in need of urgent action.

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Completely unjust” that offenders serving Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) terms were languishing in jail.

The implications for many of these prisoners are profound and make for disturbing reading. Recent figures show that for every 1,000 people serving an IPP sentence there were 550 instances of self-harm. This is significantly higher than the 324 cases per 1,000 recorded among the general prison population.

Vice News reported that information from the Ministry of Justice showed 16 IPP prisoners committed suicide since the abolition of the sentence in 2012 and that IPP prisoners overall have a higher risk of suicide than the general prison population.
The high levels of self-harm are perhaps unsurprising. IPP prisoners are often simply unable to jump through the relevant hoops set by the Ministry of Justice to achieve a release date, leaving many feeling that they will be stuck behind bars for years to come, no matter what efforts they make to reform.By Claire Brihgam Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitors London180 N Gower St, Kings Cross, London NW1 2NB

IPP Prisoners no linger need oral hearing.  New strategy to eradicate backlog. Changes and ‘good plan’ to reduce delays in parole process.

As promised, I am writing a regular update on news and developments from the Parole Board. There is so much change going on within the prison and probation service and the impact on you is not lost on everyone working at the Parole Board.
I know from my visits to prisons that one of the single, biggest issues concerning many prisoners is the long delays experienced by those of you who need your parole review considered at an oral hearing. All of us at the Parole Board are determined to sort this. The Parole Board is now holding five times the number of hearings it held a decade ago but for a period of time we could not keep up with demand. We have a new strategy to improve the system however the top priority is to eradicate the backlog.
 
The Board is already over halfway to reducing the backlog, and we are focused on reducing delays even further. I am confident that we are approaching this in the right way. At the end of September 2016, there were 2,093 outstanding oral hearings, and whilst still too high (at its highest point the figure stood at 3,163) it was the lowest level since summer 2014. We continue to list close to 700 cases a month at oral hearing and where hearings have to be cancelled we are attempting to fill those hearing slots with alternative cases.
 
As covered in the last edition of Inside Time, we are running pilots to change how we prioritise cases. We are looking at different ways to manage determinate sentence prisoners, including where more executive re-releases could safely be made by NOMS and how we could increase the release on the papers. These changes are intended to rebalance the system and bring down delays for those serving the longest sentences. This is about striking a reasonable balance, but I acknowledge that these involve hard decisions and there may be an impact on some of you affected by the pilots. We will be reviewing the impact of the pilots early next year.
 
On 22 November 2016, the Parole Board Rules were changed to allow the Board to release IPP prisoners ‘on the papers’ without an oral hearing. This change brings the release provisions for IPPs into line with those for parole-eligible determinate sentences and it applies to both parole reviews and to reviews following recall. We anticipate that the new powers will be used more frequently
for recalled prisoners who have only been back in custody a short time but it can be used for parole prisoners, especially those in open conditions and the progression regime. The Rule change does not apply to life sentence prisoners who can still only be released following an oral hearing.
You may have read about the report produced in November by Peter Clarke, my successor as Chief Inspector of Prisons, about IPP prisoners. I completely agree with what he said and I have given the Justice Secretary options about how we can make further and faster progress in reducing the number of IPP prisoners who remain in prison long after their tariff.
 
Following the appointment of over 100 new Parole Board members by the Lord Chancellor, the first of our training events took place last month. New Parole Board members heard from a variety of speakers including Inside Time editor, Erwin James. Erwin spoke about his journey as a life sentence prisoner, including contact with the criminal justice system in his early life, his experiences in prison, his challenges on release and becoming a writer. He spoke about the importance of professionals and practitioners promoting self-belief and taking control of your life, and providing opportunities for change. The Parole Board also produced an excellent short video of interviews with three prisoners currently serving life sentences at a Cat C prison. The members told us how this gave them an invaluable insight into life in prison, the parole process and oral hearings from a prisoner’s perspective. I want to thank the prisoners who took part in that for their help.
 
Of course it is also important that Parole Board members hear from victims about their experiences and concerns too. We train our new members in handling victims with humanity and respect. We know that most victims are looking for an explanation of what motivated the crime, as this is never really explored at court. I have met with several victims and victims’ groups to help make sure that victims are handled sensitively and properly when they attend hearings and in my experience most prisoners who come before us want to make sure that happens too.
As we come to the end of 2016, I am hopeful that we have a good plan for what we need to do to make the Parole Board work better for prisoners and victims and what we are doing now is getting on with it.
By Nick Harwick


 

The Parole Board Rules are being revised and the changes could have a significant impact on those sentenced to Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP)

The proposed changes include the ability for the Parole Board to release IPPs without the need for an Oral Hearing. With Christmas and New Year fast approaching, could this rule change make a difference to you?
 
What is an IPP sentence?
Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) sentences were introduced in April 2005 by the Criminal Justice Act 2003. The aim of the sentence was to protect the public from
those offenders who committed crimes which did not merit a life sentence. Prisoners serving this sentence would be set a minimum term (tariff) which they must serve before they could be considered for release. Upon release prisoners will be supervised on licence for at least 10 years.
Under the Criminal Justice Act 2003 the Court will impose an IPP sentence when the Offender:
 
1. Is aged 18 or over;
2. Is convicted of a serious specified violent or sexual offence committed on or
after 4 April 2005, for which the maximum penalty is 10 years or more; and who
3. In the courts opinion, poses a significant risk of harm to the public.
When first in force a significant amount of offenders were subject to this new sentence. As a result the prison system was saturated with indeterminate sentence prisoners with relatively short tariffs. Many prisoners past their minimum term without having completed any offence focused work due to the prison system being unable to cater for them.
 
What has changed?
Due to the significant amount of offenders given a sentence of Imprisonment for Public Protection the Government made changes to the criteria required to impose such a sentence. On 14 July 2008 changes were made virtue of Schedule 8 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008. As a result, IPP sentences could only be imposed if one of the following were met:
1. The offender would be required to serve at least 2 years in custody; or
2. The offender has a previous conviction for one of a specified list of very
serious offences.
 
In addition to the above the presumption of risk was removed where there was a previous conviction for a violent or sexual crime. Previously, judges presumed an offender dangerous as a result of their previous convictions. The change made in
2008 allowed for a greater level of discretion as to what sentence should be imposed
when all of the conditions for the imposition of an IPP sentence were met. The aim of this was to reduce the number of IPP sentences being imposed by Courts.
Finally, in 2012 the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act abolished IPP sentences. The IPP sentence has been replaced by Extended Determinate Sentences (EDS). The changes made in 2012 were not retrospective. As a result, whilst no new IPP sentences could be imposed, those who were already subject to the sentence would have to seek progression by the Parole Board. This
has left a significant amount of IPP prisoners within the prison service still seeking
progression.
 
Current procedure for release of IPP
The process as it stands for the progression of IPP prisoners is that the Parole Board will give consideration to their case. For prisoners’ post tariff, the Parole Board will first consider the case on the papers and either find them unsuitable for release or direct the case to an Oral Hearing. Should release not be granted, the Secretary of State will set a period of review before the Parole Board will again consider suitability for progression. This review period will depend on what is outstanding to achieve a progressive move.
Under the current regime the Parole Board have no power to direct a prisoner’s release on the papers. To achieve release, oral evidence must be taken before the decision is made. Currently the Parole Board have a significant backlog of Oral Hearings and as such there are delays in IPP prisoners appearing before the Board.
 
Rule Change
The Parole Board Rules 2016 look to revoke the Parole Board Rules 2011 and the Parole Board (Amendment) Rules 2014. The proposal is for the rules to come into force from 21 November, assuming that neither the House of Lords nor House of Commons object to the proposed changes.
Rule 14 seeks to allow the Parole Board to decide that a prisoner serving a sentence of Imprisonment for Public Protection is suitable for release on the papers, without the need for oral evidence. This change will not apply to any other indeterminate sentence prisoner – it will only apply to IPPs.
A number of other rules are proposed, including the requirement of a prisoner to
inform the Parole Board that they do not wish for oral consideration of their case or that they do not wish to attend a hearing.
 
What will this mean?
There is now potential for IPP prisoners to have their reviews completed earlier. Currently, release will only be directed upon the taking of oral evidence, even in circumstances where a prisoner has support from professionals involved in their case or in circumstances where a minor and technical breach of their licence has led to their recall into custody. The ability to direct release on the papers will potentially reduce delay caused by the listing of an oral hearing.
Of course there is no guarantee that the Parole Board will release IPP prisoners on the papers. More complex cases will still proceed to an Oral Hearing for the Parole Board to fully enquire into all matters relevant to a prisoner’s release. It is envisaged that the rule change will assist those IPP prisoners who have been subject to a technical breach of their licence following their release into the community and where release is more straightforward.
The 2016 Rules will apply to all cases referred to the Board; including cases referred before the date on which they come into force. As a result, cases referred to the board before the date on which the new Rules come into force will continue under
the 2016 Rules.
 
What can you do to help?
The current test for the Parole Board for the release of an IPP prisoner is as follows: The Parole Board will release an offender only if it is satisfied that it is no longer necessary for the protection of the public for the offender to be confined.
In order to secure release an IPP prisoner will need to demonstrate that their risk is
such that it is manageable in the community. This can be achieved by the completion of offence based courses aimed at addressing risk factors. It is also important to engage with Offender Manager and Offender Supervisor and to demonstrate compliance within the custodial setting. A resettlement plan will also assist to demonstrate how the prisoner seeks to cope upon their release back into the community.
 
What can we do to help?
We would encourage all IPP prisoners to contact us when their Parole Review commences. When the 2016 rules come into force, legal representations will be required to argue for release on the papers in appropriate circumstances. This could save the delays experienced by many prisoners in obtaining release by way of an oral hearing. Subject to your financial circumstances, assistance can be provided by virtue of Legal Aid.
 
 
 
 
 

 

COMMENTS

 
 
 
 



Andrew Sperling @AndrewSperling Politicians won't take responsibility for tackling IPP while in office. When they leave they speak up - Gove, Clarke, Blunkett .
Ben Gun @prisonerben1  Until we decide the purpose of prison, we can't say what we need from prison staff.   The indefinite prison sentence is the most vicious punishment at Governments disposal.
BrackenburyThe 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 , 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 incarcerating people for a sentence that no longer exists and for almost five years now too!! My other partner  put in for compensation after they messed him around for a year with his hearing etc... He got 400 pound!! Legal expenses  joke!! Never mind the mental torture me and our kids have gone through! I wonder if they were pursued for criminal charges for this sentence by enough ppl would it change anything??
Jayne They've got no idea what were all going through never mind our loved ones currently just left to suffer in prison fighting to try get a parole date to try be released the system is disgustingly out of order
Umm The pain every day they don't understand the pain I have each day and it's really does break down my soul and mind but they don't seem to really care we are all going though it and this government really needs to start doing what they said their going to do.

 

Probation

unusual activity at Leicester probation, been trying to contact them so i don't miss my appointments, not been issued a date for next appointment, today i had a different officer check, nothing on the system still, said they will get back to me when my next appointment is, that is what they said last time. not sure what they are up to, i'm hoping they don't just put one on the system and not tell me then recall me for missing it to be honest i wouldn't put that past them.


They lied about my family who are not criminals and an MP signed a complaint with about 10 different points made in it, they responded to 1 point and acted as if that was the only allegation.

plus because the license is cause for fear of further draconian indeterminate imprisonment it counts as a factor to asylum claims which is what i've been threatening to do. now i don't know what's going on so i just want to notify people what's going on to create a fall out, so it's not worth it to put me away. Why keeping people in the dark . for me it only makes me dislike them and everyone has an issue with them thanks for reading.


Ginge Call them every week, worried about the time lapse between appointments make sure they log the calls, been threw this a lot of times.I Had the same issue I was worried about missing a appointment and being recalled and when my officer went sick there was 4-5 months of not noing anything till she was bk I just Keept on there case.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 



 
 
 
 
 
 

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