Please fix the system
Whilst I don’t condone violence, I must doff my cap to all the prisoners involved at HMPs Birmingham, Swaleside and Hull. For years, we have had limp-wristed politicians procrastinating about prison reform and fools like Chris Grayling butchering budgets. When he reduced staffing by over a third what did he think was going to happen?
Nick Hardwick, the former Chief Inspector of Prisons, quit his job because for years he has been explaining to those in power that the prison system is stretched to breaking point; and no one listened to him. Well, Liz Truss, it’s broken, now please fix it.
We have IPP prisoners years over tariff, massive delays with the Parole Board, underpaid and overworked prison staff, overcrowding and serious safety concerns. To top it off we are forced to stop smoking and to suck on batteries instead (e-cigs).
Maybe 2017 will be the year the prison service changes for the better and provides a safe, fair and adequately funded environment for rehabilitation. Fingers crossed everyone!
The difficulties encountered in securing progression or release for various reasons such as
- Parole Board delays
- limited resources
- poor procedures for managing risk
- lack of available places on offending behaviour programmes
has meant that many IPP prisoners are held for years beyond their original tariff.
Statistics show that there are just under 4,000 people in custody still serving an IPP sentence despite the sentence being abolished and that four out of every five IPP prisoners are still in custody despite having served their minimum term.
Release can only be secured as a result of a Parole Board direction, however for those who have secured release there is still a fear that they can be returned to prison at a moment’s notice if they reoffend or breach the conditions of their license and result in a further substantial period being served in custody.
Therefore this has seen numerous calls for the procedure in dealing with IPP sentence prisoners to be reformed and in November 2016 the Parole Board rules were finally amended.
Previous procedure for release of IPP
Currently a single member of the Parole Board (Member Case Assessment or MCA) will consider each case initially on the papers and make a decision as to what should happen next. Prior to 22nd November 2016 the Parole Board did not have power to direct an IPP prisoner’s release on the papers. They simply had two options available to them; 1) conclude that the prisoner was unsuitable for release or; 2) direct the matter to an Oral Hearing. The Parole Board experience a significant delay when listing hearings and this process would have contributed to this.
On 22nd November 2016 the Parole Board Rules were reformed and in particular the process for IPP prisoners has been amended. This now means that the Parole Board have the power at the initial stages to direct an IPP prisoner’s release on the papers without the necessity of an Oral Hearing.
This could therefore mean that there will be potential for IPP prisoners to have their reviews concluded far quicker than under the old rules. Firstly because release can be directed on the papers but also because the new decision should mean that the delays in Oral Hearings being listed should reduce in the future.
There is of course no guarantee that the Parole Board will release an IPP prisoner on the papers. More complex cases will likely still proceed to an Oral Hearing. However, it is envisaged that the reforms 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 application is more straightforward.
The 2016 Rules are not retrospective and this therefore means that they will only apply to cases referred to the Parole Board after the 22nd November 2016.
The Parole Board’s test 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.
How can we assist?
In order to assist you to secure release we need to work together, you will need to demonstrate that your risk is such that it is manageable in the community. This can be achieved by the completion of offending behaviour courses aimed at addressing risk factors, be proactive and speak with your Offender Supervisor about courses. It is also important to engage with your Offender Manager and Offender Supervisor and to demonstrate compliance within the custodial setting.
With these reforms it is now more important than ever to submit representations at the initial stages when your matter is considered by the single member of the Parole Board, these representations would outline to the Parole Board the work that you have undertaken to reduce risk and advocate your release on the papers.
We have a specialist Prison Law Team who could assist with this process and we would urge you to contact us as soon as your review commences in order to save delays that may be experienced by many prisoners in obtaining release by way of an oral hearing.
The System is Criminal
The Cover -up's must end!
Carole Lingard is one Prison officer who worked on D wing at Wakefeld
blew the whistle on bosses on the a Cover -up that . Officers reducing the same prisoners to tears by telling him he could be attacked by another and end up getting slashed. She also told officers officer forged entries in another prisoners. jail record detailing he misbe-haviour of battering another guard which never happened he made it up. When telling supervisers they covered it up. Eventually wrote to the governor at waskfield John Slater asking for a proper investigation bur received a letter from his deputy saing nothing would be gained from it.She then contacted Prison services headquarters and eventually a probe was launched, but dissatisfied with the finding and the way in which it was conducted. she resigned. She brought her case to court and won.
Officers making false statements regarding prisoners this has been False statements on prisoners with the same name but different colour
False drug charges on prisoners, who don't even smoke
False charges on the families that visit , a way to punish the prisoner
Charges on prisoner,s records that there not aware off and once challenged by the prisoner or solicitors o/ Mps you received a letter stating, We made a mistake on the identity".
Prisoner's who were threatened by officers over time or become a treat find themselves shipped out over night,with no warning, away from there loved one,s or those they got to know in prison .
Poor written reports
Assessments delayed due to staff shortages
Offender manger problem, release planes rejected due to offender manger failing to fill out reports Prison recommendations for change, not acted on.
Education poor often out of date rending it useless on the outside.
Delays relisted after been given a date.
Poor accommodations s for those with impairments such or disability's
No recognition for positive behaviour
Poor health care management for those with diabetics or other disorder or conditions
Poor mental health knowledge / understanding resulting in a poor response to needs .
lack of education to those they look after.
Incidents poorly recorded
Challenges faced outside a snap shot.
Off the chart Probation problems
Those who want to challenge recall or licence cant because there is no legal aid.
lucky enough to be given council accommodation this is undermined by police who challenges the move and refuse the accommodation.
Depending on the Councils you may not be allowed back to own town
Lack of support,Poverty and Homelessness.
Deborah Coles, who works with the bereaved families, said: “This unacceptable death toll reflects the grim reality “of overcrowded and dehumanising prisons and the failure to protect those in their care .
The sharp rise in suicides shows too many vulnerable people are slipping through the net with tragic consequences.
“The prison service is in crisis following a 40% cut in the number of prison officers, and mental health teams are struggling to help prisoners in desperate need.
An inquest into a prisoner’s suicide in Cheltenham reported that prison staff mistakenly believed ‘a prison psychiatrist’s’ permission was needed before he could be transferred to hospital. Health service staff can only do so much – the whole system must become more functional.”
27 January), the Ministry of Justice has recently released figures showing that 119 prisoners took their own lives in 2017. Incidents of self-harm have also steeply risen in the last year. A record 119 increase of 29 (32%) on the previous year, according to Ministry of Justice figures.
For many inmates, prisons are lonely, isolating and brutalising experiences. Combined with the painful awareness of the passing of wasted time being and being over tariff , the bland mundaneness of prison life can lead to thoughts of death (suicidal ideation).
As many of the pains of imprisonment can be neither effectively ameliorated nor removed, if we wish to avoid record prisoner self-inflicted deaths we must take steps now to radically reduce the prison population !