Where: Court of Appeal, London
When: 2pm on Tuesday 31 January
Cuts to legal aid for prisoners are unfair and unlawful, and have coincided with a deterioration in safety in prisons across England and Wales, the Court of Appeal will hear in the course of a two-day hearing next week (Tuesday 31 January)., three Court of Appeal judges will finally hear the charities’ full arguments challenging the cuts.
The two charities – the Howard League for Penal Reform and the Prisoners’ Advice Service (PAS) – won the right to challenge the government’s decision to cut legal aid for prisoners, including children back in July 2015,
Since the cuts came into force back in Dec2013, violence and self-injury in prisons have risen to record levels. Almost 300 people have lost their lives through suicide.
More prisoners than ever before have called the Howard League and PAS to seek help. Calls to the two charities’ advice lines have increased by almost 50 per cent since the cuts were imposed.
The impact of the policy has been far-reaching:
- It means that a prisoner who is being considered for transfer to an open prison, but not release, cannot get legal representation unless they pay
- It means that prisoners who are stuck in the system cannot get legal help to access the courses they need to become safe for release
Model,s were not fully acted on leading to a direct impact on the ability of prisoners to access activities, learning and training . offender supervisors contact with prisoners was severely limited. Delays in processing release plans Most prisoners not having an up-to-date offender assessment system (OASys) assessment. Many prisoners were denied the opportunity to progress. There was a clear need for the leadership of the prison and get a grip of the problems facing them and move away from merely reacting to events.Of course staff shortages have had an impact on many areas of service delivery however poor response and lack of deadline and inspection recommendation not acted on HAS seriously resulted in the unsafe prison stands standards
who was accountable of the impact of benchmarking staff shortages?certainly the case that staff shortages contributed to the restricted restricted regime that we have now. prison need to develop plans to address the greatest challenge and accept charges for there failings.
prisoner has recently sent me in writing his permission for me to share his life story to whoever may be able to help him). I believe, that if the IPP prisoners were all paroled out immediately if they have exceeded the initial tariff then it would be tantamount to the Government admitting the initial sentence, passed into law by Blunkett when Blair was PM, was inhumane and wrong then the Government would be found liable for massive compensation. This is why the prisoners have been abandoned. It is taking up so much of the Parole Boards time to review them each year and also to stage oral hearings - but they are 'voluntary' and cheaper for the Government than paying out for a legal action.
But why are you in support of the IPP situation? Has someone you care about been affected?I really would like to understand why you have given heart and dedication to the IPP situation; and I don't make judgement, I just would like to see your reasons as then I'd understand better. I'm kind of odd really; I like to know the energy that I am prepared to freely give is being given because its time to let that which is be as it should be. Again I can't just explain, far too much to explain anyway..
How did you get to be in these meetings? What is it that you do that enables you to get to such high places? And again I only ask as its important for me to understand the bigger picture.
Im a foster carer for a young man who was given an IPP sentence at 17 and is still in prison at 27. He was in care from 2yrs and had a failed adoption at 8yrs. I would be happy to talk to the media.