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Friday, 15 September 2017

Government urged to tackle 'problem' of indeterminate jail sentences.James Ward, who was jailed for 10 months and 11 years is to be released.

Ministers must "get a grip" and deal with the problem of prisoners being held indefinitely after completing their minimum term, the Parole Board chairman has said.

Nick Hardwick said around 3,300 prisoners are still serving indeterminate sentences for public protection (IPP), with hundreds of them "years over tariff".

He added levels of suicide, assault and self-harm in prisons are also "unacceptably high", with a need to reduce the number of people in jail.

Mr Hardwick's warnings came amid concerns for James Ward, who was given a 10-month IPP sentence for arson 11 years behind bars.

April Ward told the BBC her brother is constantly watched due to his self-harm, adding: "He's literally sat behind a cage like an animal where (other prisoners) walk past and point and laugh at him.

"How is that humane?"

The controversial IPP sentences were introduced in 2005 but scrapped in 2012 by then justice secretary Ken Clarke, who has described them as a "stain" on the justice system.

Mr Hardwick praised the bravery of the Ward family for raising their concerns, telling BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "There are about 3,300 IPP prisoners still in prison and 550 of them had an initial tariff of less than two years. Hundreds are years over tariff.

"We know IPP prisoners are three times more likely to self-harm as other prisoners.

"I think the Ward family was very brave in coming forward like they did, the description they gave of that young man in a cell which will have iron bars outside it, with an officer sitting outside the cell so s/he can constantly watch the prisoner inside, that's happening to hundreds and hundreds of prisoners and we know from the reports that are practically weekly on your programme that the prisons system is simply unable to care for prisoners with that level of need."

Mr Hardwick said problems were caused by administrative delays, including from the Parole Board, and the legal test which requires IPP offenders to show they do not pose a danger to the public before they are let out.

He said: "We need to get a grip on this problem."

Mr Hardwick reiterated his proposal that the onus should be on the state to prove IPP offenders with a prison sentence of fewer than two years are likely to commit a further offence.

He also said Michael Gove agreed to a series of changes but was sacked as Justice Secretary last year before he could implement them.

Mr Hardwick went on: "Every prison officer you've got on constant watch of looking at a prisoner in this situation is not somebody who is walking the wings, doing the rehabilitative work with other prisoners so those other prisoners are less likely to offend when they come out.

"The one thing we would all agree on, surely, is that we want prisoners to leave prison less likely to offend than when they went in.

"If we allow resources to be drained away in this way, to this extent, then it threatens the security of us all.

"We can do something about the IPP problem without compromising the safety of the public - which is our first priority."

Mr Hardwick said the state of prisons in the UK is "extremely worrying" due to staff shortages and an "unexpected spike" in the prison population which means the system is operating at "more than 99% of its maximum capacity".

The former chief inspector of prisons suggested there is a crisis in the prisons system, adding: "I'm not saying that I think there's going to be massive riots or that - I don't think that's possible to predict.

"What I am saying is simply the levels of suicide, assault and self-harm is unacceptably high.
"That's not the fault of the people who work in the system, it's the fault of political and policy decisions that should have been put right two years ago."

Mr Hardwick said ministers "now need to take action", with a need to reduce the prison population.


James Ward, who was jailed for 10 months and 11 years is to be released.

The family of a man who spent 11 years in prison even though he was jailed for 10 months have vowed to carry on fighting the rules that kept him inside.
James Ward was given an indeterminate Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) which meant he would only be released when officials deemed it safe.
The 32-year-old received the sentence because he had set fire to his bed while serving a one-year jail term for another offence.
April Ward told Sky News she couldn't stop crying after she heard her brother James was to be released
His family had made repeated pleas to the Parole Board to release him on the grounds of his repeated self-harm and mental health, but all of their requests were refused.
Ward was finally told he would be freed on Thursday morning, bringing an end to years of battling by his sister April.
IPPs were introduced in 2005 but scrapped in 2012 after then justice secretary Ken Clarke called them a "stain" on the judicial system.
© Sky News Screen Grab James Ward, who was jailed for 10 months and is still in jail after 11 years
Ms Ward told Sky News she was thrilled when she got the call confirming her brother was coming home.
"I just couldn't stop crying. I was just so overwhelmed with emotion," she said. "It's taken 12 years of hard fighting, for us as a family and for James. It was all emotions today."
Ms Ward said her brother is not planning anything beyond just being able to experience life outside prison - but they are determined to prevent others having to go through what they say they have suffered.

She added: "It ruins the good times, because even when you are trying to celebrate something, it was in the back of my mind that James was sat in a cell, or even in segregation or alone. That... has been absolutely heartbreaking.
"James dreams of walking down the street - the novelty of going to a park. His dreams are very small, as they would be if you had been in prison for 12 years. Together we'll make sure those dreams get bigger."
Ms Ward said she is going to "fight IPP to the very end" with her brother to help other families affected by these sentences.
In a letter sent to his family last year, James said he was losing hope of ever being released.
He had written: "I'm banged up in my cell, all that's in here is a bed, a cupboard, a toilet and a sink.
"I'm going crazy, mum, and I've had enough of this place."
The controversial orders were supposed to be for prisoners whose crimes were not deemed serious enough for conventional life sentences, but who were thought to pose a significant risk to the public nonetheless.
In August, the chairman of the Parole Board called for the Government to "get a grip" on the issue of indeterminate sentences - and criticised the "unacceptably high" rate of suicides, assaults and self-harm within prisons.
At the time it was thought that around 3,300 prisoners were still being held under IPPs, with hundreds of them "years over tariff".



Thursday, 14 September 2017

Prisoner 'trapped' in jail for 11 years to be released and updates on events I attended:The Centre for Social Justice and Parrie lecture.


what happened to the rehabilition revolution  Centre for Social Justice 14 September 2017

Jonathan Aitken and John Samuels answer the question many prisoners, practitioners and politicians have been asking: what happened to the Rehabilitation. With remarks from Rt Hon Iain Duncan Smith MP.  lord Ramsbotham and questions from Katherine Gleeson, Church of England, Leroy postdate  IPP Prisoner who served  11 years, no fault of his own.
discussions on the  challenges facing our criminal justice system today and hear their proposals to ease the prison crisis and solve the problems of IPP (Imprisonment for Public Protection) and inappropriately recalled prisoners swelling our prison population.

  • Addressed the possibility of a secondary legalisation to shift the burden of proof.
  • Recalls to have traditional support from a judge or other rather than being automatically taken back to prison.
  • Mention was the lack in staff to bring about rehabilitation 
  • They want IPP prisoners monitored by the same officer, at all times and not with different ones.

  • They are asking for the sentence to be adjusted, If the government new the courses was not available for a judge to adjust the sentence to reflect this.
  •  Offender managers who make it impossible for IPP prisoners by opposing conditions and excluding and making it impossible for them to work thereafter this is then settled by the parole board.
  • They are considering those who have convictions over 4 years to have those convictions sealed as spent, so they can get a job.
  • The judge mentioned those looking at having their case looked that it would not be the IBM OR PAROLE  to go to a named judge. There was a mention of a Roy Genkings or the spelling Genkans however it was said that any judge, that if the judge who sentence you knew, he would look at this again.

Parrie lectures prison services college 11september 2017

looked at Segregation and what are the triggers for prisoners ending up on the seg? how they are treated? can the experience ever be considered rehabilitative?  Research has suggested that segregation can negatively impact on mental health and increase the risk of self-harm.  The Perrie Lecture 2017looked at  how prisons can best meet these significant challenges, what outcomes can be expected from segregating prisoners and whether better outcomes may be achieved using different approaches which may not include segregation. 
  • There will be Autism awareness courses for officers, one  does not fits all.
  • They have a contract with disability trust (CSC) staff training FOR 2018
  • Employed progression support officers.
  • More training for officers in segregation zones
  • Focus on personality disorders
  • More trained psychologist working with family’s and the individual
  • Segregation has a 35% drop
  • I brought up  IPP prisoner issues. I requested  figures on how many IPP prisoners death,s, came about in segregation, how long they stayed in Seg at the time but figures was not available so said they said they would look into this.
The  Lecture was is an opportunity for anyone and those working within the criminal justice system to share good practice, experience and understanding of the challenges of working in and with prisoners in the segregation unit.  It is also a chance for those who support staff and prisoners both on and off the segregation units to engage with these debates. The event is aimed at those working in the criminal justice sector but also those from different sectors including mental health, psychology and the voluntary sector.  The lecture also enable researchers and students to understand the current issues faced by practitioners and professionals.   bringing together current practitioners, academic researchers family and people who have experienced the needs and challenges of prison segregation units. The  Chair for the day: Dr Peter Bennett.Presentations will be heard from:
David Lammy MP (TBC) Russ Trent - Governor Berwyn Richard Vince - Executive Director, HM Prison & Probation Service Kimmett Edgar - Prison Reform Trust Sharon Shalev - University of Oxford

 Centre for Social Justice (the Think Tank created by Iain Duncan Smith in 2004) launched a new, and possibly very significant, report:
  • How sentencers can revive it
  • How it can be helped by a hung Parliament
The report may be significant because the CSJ is, obviously, very close to the conservative party and may reflect discussions going on in the Ministry of Justice. Prisons Minister Sam Gyimah had tweeted his approval of the report before it was even published:
Sensible and sound @csjthinktank report on rebooting rehabilitation revolution. Lots of good ideas for us to consider seriously.
— Sam Gyimah MP (@SamGyimah) September 14, 2017

Disappointing progress

The report, authored by former Cabinet Minister and person with convictions Jonathan Aitken and retired judge John Samuels, starts by analysing the failure so far of the rehabilitation revolution which it attributes to the “myopic and almost exclusionary” focus on prison safety and the widespread erosion of morale across all areas of the criminal justice system as prison and probation staff struggle to do a proper job in under-funded services and judges and magistrates feel unappreciated by government and the general public.

A 10-point plan

The report announces a 10-point plan which the CSJ boldly promises will not only resuscitate the Rehabilitation Revolution but will potentially save £246 million per year. Here are the ten points:
  1. Defining in law the statutory purposes of imprisonment.
  2. Introducing a requirement for judicial monitoring by the sentencing court to review whether the custodial sentence might require
    modification in the interests of the public.
  3. Addressing the problem of the 3,200 or so tariff-expired IPP prisoners.
  4.  The introduction of Problem Solving Courts.
  5. Judicial supervision of recalls to prison.
  6. Application for early release or executive release.
  7. Enabling the judiciary to deem previous convictions as spent, facilitating sustainable employment for those successful in their rehabilitation.
  8. Improving the numbers, training, status, pay and conditions of prison officers focusing their work on rehabilitation “on both sides of the wall”.
  9. Only joint working between Probation and sentencers will achieve the intended transformation and deliver effective supervision.
  10. Enabling sentencers to play a full role in enabling desistance.


As you can see, many of these points are focused on reducing the prison population — accelerating the release of IPPs, reducing the number of recalls to prison, application for early release.
Other points were either favoured and ditched by recent Justice Secretaries (defining in law the purpose of prison, problem solving courts), are current policy (improving prison officer training and developing their rehabilitative role) or are starting to gain common support (declaring previous convictions spent, similar to the Lammy Review recommendation of sealing criminal records).
A newer theme which runs through the report and which, in my opinion, is both much more ambitious and much harder to implement is the involvement of sentencers much more in the long-term consequences of their decisions in a way that is much more common in the USA with its drug courts.
The report also makes two recommendations around increased sentencer involvement:
  1. That 21st century judges should sooner or later be required to play a modest supervisory role in the sentence plans of those they have sent to prison. This seems to be about involving the sentencer in the creation of the sentence plan and for them to maintain a “light touch” supervisory role — presumably to ensure that plans are carried out promptly — and to have the power to reduce prison terms and replace them with non-custodial penalties or supervision where progress is good.
  2. Enabling those sentencers who are interested in promoting desistance of those they sentence. This is a rather vague proposal with CSJ spending more time pointing out the difficulties than spelling out this initiative in detail which appears to be expanding the role of sentencers reviewing offenders’ progress in mainstream courts in the same way as they do in problem solving courts.


The report authors argue that a hung parliament can be a good context to achieve progress on criminal justice, especially since most of the key issues receive cross-party report.
However, there is no mention of how parliamentary time can be found for justice with the focus on Brexit and the Prisons and Courts Bill already abandoned.
Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see how many of these 10 points make it into David Lidington’s speech to the upcoming Conservative Party conference or are included in official announcements from the Ministry of Justice

  • Leroy talked about his exsperience being given an IPP Sentance.

    14 September

    James ward s to be released.

    A man who has served 11 years in prison for what was a 10-month sentence is to be released, the Parole Board has said.
    James Ward was sentenced under Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP), after he set fire to his bed while in jail for actual bodily harm.
    The 33-year-old has mental health problems and has regularly self-harmed while serving his indefinite sentence.
    The Probation Service is working to find Mr Ward a hostel and mental health support in the coming weeks.
    Mr Ward's sister April said: "We are over the moon, my dad can't stop grinning.
    "My dad hasn't grinned for years. I can't stop crying or smiling.
    "James is not a risk to the public, he's only ever been a risk to himself, and with the right support we can get him there."
    Ms Ward told Radio 4's Today programme she had yet to speak to her brother about his release and was unsure of whether he even knew that he was to be freed.
    "He's got no hope. He will be very surprised of the release today because it's taken over 10 years for this result to happen."
    Mr Ward, from Sutton-in-Ashfield, in Nottinghamshire, was serving a sentence in 2006 after getting into a fight with his father Bill.
    But unable to cope with prison life, he set fire to the mattress in his cell, leading a judge to give him an IPP, which has no release date.

    James' family - Christine, April and Bill Ward
    Image caption James' parents Christine and Bill Ward and his sister April have campaigned for his release 

    Mr Ward, who has a low IQ, has regularly self-harmed while behind bars.
    He has also set light to his cell, barricaded himself in and has staged dirty protests.
    He wrote to BBC Radio 4's Today programme in 2016, and said: "Prison is not fit to accommodate people like me with mental health problems. It's made me worse. 
    How can I change in a place like this? I wake up every morning scared of what the day may hold."
    The Parole Board has confirmed his release, but the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has not commented on the case.
    Ms Ward said she was "very confident" her brother will be able to get the help he needs once he is freed - including support from mental health services as well as the stability and love of his family.

    She added: "I hope that IPP prisoners who are way over tariff can now also be released. I don't like to think about what would have happened if they'd decided against letting [James] out. He had given up."

    The sentence was abolished in 2012, but more than 3,000 people in England and Wales are still serving IPPs.
    Previously an MoJ spokesperson said: "We are determined to address the challenge of making sure all IPP prisoners have the support they need to show they are no longer a threat to public safety.

    "This work is continuing to achieve results, with 576 IPP releases in 2016; the highest number of annual releases since the sentence became available in 2005."


     A letter from James Ward to his parents from prison



    Chris ward Hi Katherine, I hope that you have see the news today my son is coming home soon xxx
    Reply  I found out when I got back from my London  I am  delited to see James is finaly going home and i which him and you lots of happiness.

    Jez  Fantastic news, how he has managed all these years to cope with the never ending trauma is surely a credit to this young mans character. I wish him and his family all the best as they now go through the next stage of this sentence. He will need their continuing support but hopefully family life can finally move forward again.😊 This sentence degrades our society. Keeping people locked up because a piece of software says they might be a danger is a total nonsense. Inexcusable persistent persecution. How can someone move forward with their life, how can a family move forward. This sentence needs eradicating retrospectively. It only creates more victims.

    Its a nightmare that never seems to end. But for the prisoner it never ends until they have been out long enough and had the supervision removed. That's why they are helpless and at the mercy of the government. That's why we should always remember that we are fighting a just cause and we must not stop until this unjust sentence is removed retrospectively. It's as close to torture in law as you can get and I believe in this current prison crisis it has now crossed the legal threshold for being a sentence that causes extreme distress and a feeling of hopelessness which leads to trauma. We need some brave human right barristers to push this mess onto the desk of the government to act and remove it. I feel we are closer now than we ever have been.

     Kingham Hello did he have a hearing or did the Board release him on the papers?

     Ward He had a hearing last week dean

     Picton So pleased for you all best wishes for the future and thankyou to all your family for all the surport you have given to the IPP prisoners xxx

     Seymour My son's still in & it'll be 12 years next month. However congratulations hope

     Happe Nice too see a fellow ipp released into the community the hard work starts now for him he will need as much love and support as possible cause in there doing a ipp is easy but out here it's really hard no1 helps us we have too make all the moves ourselves and are constantly walking on egg shells I've been out almost six years now and I've had no help at all but I won't complain I'll just keep doing what I do and wishing you and your family all the best and too James well done mucker congratulations on your release now enjoy your family and your freedom -Freedom.

    Toner Absolutely fantastic news. Wishing you all the luck in the world. Gives all of us with IPP family members still in some hope. My son is into his 13th year as an IPP. Enjoy being a complete family again. It will be a rollercoaster ride at times for you all but so worth the fight. Congratulations to you all.
  • Hailstone listen to Jeremy vine talking about IPP  Skip to about 30mins .

Boden The programme includes an excellent contribution form Lord Faulkner who is in favour of IPPs over tariff having release. Well worth writing to: 
Lord Faulkner of Worcester
House of Lords
London SW1A 0PW

Pe Nathan two an half years 29 November 10 years to the day his brother died two years ago October 13 2015 need him home am heartbroken. these sentences barbaric disgusting disgraceful just horrible I want my son back I gave birth not home office Angela Nathan Wilson's mum.
Morris Mine was 18. Got max 3.5 now on 8th year done all courses etc possible and still no sign of parole release etc n kept head down. It's cruel and heart breaking

Kelly So sad Michael Presley had to go to this exsteam to be listened to no more punishment he's already served it as all other IPPs
good luck James Ward
""Please justice minister use common sense put enough money in the pot to support them far cheaper then sending back to prison real lifelines needed to help them cope .
Good luck to all