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Tuesday, 25 July 2017

End the 10 year licence for IPP PRISONERS and the constant entrapment of recall"" we must consider long sentences when trying to understand why more prisoners are committing suicide

IPP: Forgotten that are languishing in jail

The Prison Reform Trust says there are 3,528 prisoners serving an Indeterminate Sentence for Public Protection, or IPP.

People on IPPs have one of the highest rates of self-harm in the prison system and many remain stuck in prison not for what they have done, but for what they might do.
Alex Hewson, Prison Reform Trust
Prisoners that are serving an IPP must serve a minimum sentence, or tariff, before going before a parole board that will determine if they are suitably reformed for release.
But it does not end there. An individual serving an IPP is released on licence, for at least 10 years and could be recalled to jail, if the parole board determines there is a risk to public safety.
The intention behind the IPP was to reduce the number of life sentences while remaining tough on violent criminals.

Cavendish says many of the prisoners serving an IPP have gone way past their tariff and are left languishing, with little hope of being released.
"We've then seen the situation where people that were initially sentenced for a minimum tariff of 18 months or two years, have served 10 years, or longer," he explains. "People in this position have described it as a form of mental torture. When it gets to the point that prisoners have served three or four times their minimum tariff, they give up hope. And their view is that there is no point in continuing to live, because there's nothing to look forward to." 
The Prison Reform Trust says 83 percent of inmates serving an IPP have gone beyond their minimum tariff.
The IPP was abolished in 2012, after it was discovered that judges were using it for more minor offences. But the elimination of the sentence was not applied retrospectively, leaving thousands behind bars.
Alex Hewson from the Prison Reform Trust substantiates the traumatic effect IPPs have on prisoners.
"Our own research shows the growing toll of despair the IPP sentence is having on prisoners and their families, years after its abolition," Hewson told Al Jazeera. "People on IPPs have one of the highest rates of self-harm in the prison system and many remain stuck in prison not for what they have done, but for what they might do.


'Deadly chaos'  suicides. Inspectors found the situation to have got much worse, rather than better, since then. It is now "fundamentally unsafe" for both inmates and the prison officers.


Inquest into death of Sarah Reed, found dead in her cell in HMP Holloway after an acute mental health crisis, opens Tuesday

Before HM Assistant Coroner Peter Thornton QC, Sitting at City of London Coroner's Court
Walbrook Wharf, Upper Thames Street, London EC4R 3TD.
10.00 am- expected to run for 2-3 weeks. Opened 4 July 2017

Note: Those who would like to attend have been asked to bring a photo ID with them
Sarah Reed, 32 died on 11 January 2016 while in the custody of HMP Holloway.
Sarah had been remanded to HMP Holloway on 14 October 2015 following an alleged assault.
Sarah had been suffering from serious mental ill health since the death of her six-month old baby in 2003.  She suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, emotional unstable personality disorder and an eating disorder. 
 The times when she was not in institutions, she totally relied on her family for support, who desperately tried to get the right help for her but felt that she was constantly being failed by the system.
In 2012, Sarah was assaulted by a police officer James Kiddie. That experience aggravated her mental health issues.
The inquest into her death will seek to explore the following issues:

• Her medication and issues around why they were altered and stopped
• The use of segregation and punishment for her behaviour
• Suicide and self-harm risk assessments
• Delay in obtaining fitness to plead assessments and lack of transfer to a mental health unit
• Issues around family contact
• Mechanisms and circumstances of her death
The family of Sarah Reed said:
''We are looking forward to this inquest taking place.  Sarah was adored and loved by the whole family and her death has been devastating for us.  Before she was remanded, she had started to turn her life around.  She was in a good relationship, she finally had housing and she was more settled.  The one thing I am sure about is she died unexpectedly.  We are hoping to get to the bottom of what caused her death and we are also asking for the general public to support us."
Deborah Coles, Director of INQUEST said:
“Sarah Reed was an extremely vulnerable.  She was one of 22 women who died in women’s prisons in 2016, three of whom were women of colour.
Twelve of these deaths were classified as self-inflicted, representing an eleven year high. The fundamental question in this case, like so many more before it is: why was Sarah ever sent to prison in the first place?
The state’s responsibility for deaths goes beyond the prison walls and extends to failures in mental health and substance abuse provision, sentencing policies and the failure to implement the Corston report and invest in alternatives to custody.”

Mental health care and rising suicides in UK prisons

"He called me and said very calmly, 'Dad, I have to kill myself'": Why suicides in UK prisons are at an all-time high.
Milton Keynes, UK  
Ralph Morris does not falter as he recounts the disturbing final phone conversation with his son. "He called me and said very calmly, 'Dad, I have to kill myself.' I said, 'Thomas, please don't think like that, son. I'm coming to see you on Tuesday, next week. You'll be released in November and I'll be there for you.'"
Thomas Morris ignored his father's appeals. In June 2016, he hanged himself within the walls of his prison cell at Woodhill prison in the city of Milton Keynes, in southern England. He was 31 years old.
Ralph Morris is convinced the staff at Woodhill could have intervened to prevent his son's suicide 
"They don't get a lot of phone credit and the call was terminated," his father remembers. "That was the Saturday and then on Sunday morning they visited us and gave us the news".
Thomas was one of 119 inmates to have committed suicide inside prisons across England and Wales in the year 2016.
The figure is the highest since records began in 1978 and is equivalent to one suicide every three days, according to Britain's Ministry of Justice.
Woodhill prison has documented the most self-inflicted deaths of any prison in the United Kingdom, with seven inmates committing suicide there in 2016.
Morris is convinced the staff at Woodhill could have intervened to prevent his son's suicide.
"I saw him in prison in April and although he seemed fine physically, mentally, I had real concerns," Morris says. "I wrote a letter to HMP Woodhill, expressing my concerns. They acknowledged receipt of the letter and they said they had spoken to Thomas who assured them that he was OK."
Following his son's death, Morris learned from another prisoner who had been released from Woodhill that Thomas had attempted to take his own life on a previous occasion just a month before his death. Despite this, Morris says his son Thomas was not put under observation by prison staff. An inquest into Thomas' death found that Woodhill prison could and should have prevented him from committing suicide.
Morris believes his son should not have been sent to prison, but instead committed to a facility to deal with his apparently worsening mental health.
"He wrote to me and said that he felt that he was depressed. He heard something on the TV and felt it was talking to him. He felt he'd be blamed for crimes that were on the news. In plain terms, my son had lost his reasoning and rationality," Morris says.

Mental health problems 

Alex Cavendish is a former prisoner, academic and campaigner for prison reforms. He argues that many of the people serving sentences should not be in prison at all.
"What we're seeing increasingly, is the use of inappropriate imprisonment of people with  mental health conditions, simply because there is nowhere else available at the time for the magistrate, or the judge to send them," Cavendish says.
A lot of the violence that we're seeing reported in prisons, between prisoners, self-harm and attacks on staff, are related to mental health problems.

 activist and former prisoner
The London-based Centre for Mental Health estimates that 90 percent of the nearly 86,000 prisoners in England and Wales suffer from
Cavendish thinks that many of the problems facing prisons, including the high suicide rate, are attributed to a lack of sufficient care for inmates with mental health conditions.
"A lot of the violence that we're seeing reported in prisons, between prisoners, self-harm and attacks on staff, are related to mental health problems," he says. "And because many prisons are short staffed and they just don't have medically qualified professionals, there's a massive disconnect."
According to figures from the Prison Reform Trust, 70 percent of people that committed suicide in prisons in England and Wales last year were identified with mental health needs.
Adam Mac is currently serving a sentence at a prison in the northern English city of Wakefield. He told Al Jazeera that medical staff at Wakefield are not giving prisoners the proper attention they require.
"After doing a psychological course (assessment), there is very little support available and this is where the mental health team should be filling in," Mac says. "In my experience, mental health teams are happy to pick up the pieces when someone has self-harmed or committed suicide, but they are invisible when someone is crying out for help before that point." 
Mac is also critical of the officers. "The prison officers themselves don't really know how to handle people with mental and or emotional issues," he claims. "Some look down on them, some overly pander to them. Very few find the right balance." 
Al Jazeera presented Mac's allegations to the Ministry of Justice. A spokesperson said: "We take the mental health of prisoners extremely seriously, which is why we have increased the support available to vulnerable offenders - especially during the first 24 hours in custody - and invested more in specialist mental health training for prison officers."
Andy Bell, from the Centre for Mental Health, an independent organisation, says that although prison officers are not medically trained professionals, they should have more awareness of how inmates are suffering from mental health conditions.
"The prison officers that have the most important caring role for someone that's vulnerable," Bell says. "Of course, if there are fewer to go round that means there's fewer opportunities to talk to prisoners and identify their vulnerabilities. It also means prisoners are likely to spend time longer in their cell, which, of course, can increase vulnerability."

Staffing crisis

Prisons in England and Wales are experiencing a crisis in staffing. This can be traced back to 2010, after the Conservative Party came to power and slashed funding to the Ministry of Justice, as part of wider austerity measures. As a consequence, there are 7,000 fewer prison officers today, compared with seven years ago.
The effect on inmates has been devastating and in some cases, fatal.

Cindy Woodings's son, Luke, was found hanging in his cell 11 days after his incarceration [Hyder Abbasi/Al Jazeera]
Cindy Woodings explains how her son, Luke, was found crying in his cell by a prison guard 11 days after his incarceration. She says in the notes recorded by the officer that Luke had told him: "You've let me down. I'm not supposed to be in a cell on my own." Twenty minutes later, he was found hanging in his cell. 
The date was June 14, 2015 - Luke's birthday. He died in a hospital three days later, aged 29. 
"The prison guard on duty was not from that wing," recalls Woodings. "He was working overtime that day because they were so understaffed. He'd got four landings to look after on his own and didn't know Luke's case, didn't know anything about him."
Woodings explains how the prison officer was on the bottom floor supporting another inmate inside a cell, while Luke was on the highest level of the prison.
"He cannot see another prisoner, on all four landings, because he cannot leave that inmate unattended. During this time, he heard the chair go at the top landing and his instinct told him it was Luke," she says.
Luke had struggled with depression and a heroin addiction, but thought being imprisoned would help him to reform and treat his dependency.
"He committed shop theft and went to Leicester prison," Woodings says. "And whilst in prison, he saw a psychiatrist. He diagnosed Luke with having a mentally unstable personality disorder, which made him a high-risk of suicide."
According to Woodings, Luke was improving as a result of the medication he was receiving. But after his sentence came to an end, so did the treatment.
Woodings says Luke panicked and was determined to return to prison. After his release, he threatened a police officer, was charged and later convicted and sentenced to six weeks in jail.
"But they sent him to Lincoln, instead of back to Leicester," Woodings explains. "So when he arrived at Lincoln, he told them that he has a personality disorder and he needed to see someone from the mental health team immediately. That didn't happen."
At that point, Woodings says, Luke began harming himself and was taken to a hospital, where doctors said he urgently needed a mental health assessment. Yet Woodings alleges he did not receive this from the psychiatrists at the prison.

'Prison officers are not nurses' 

Woodings is adamant that Lincoln prison staff had failed to protect her son. "You have an inmate that had been under a psychiatrist that was high-risk of suicide, who self-harmed twice, quite seriously and he'd informed you of his mental state. The hospital has informed you twice about his mental state. Surely, you neglected his basic needs."
The issues of staff shortages and poorly trained officers resonate with Kim Lennon. She worked for 10 years as a prison officer at HMP Lewes, in southern England.
Prisoners are locked up a lot more because of the shortage of staff. They've got to sit behind a door, with four walls and so they get frustrated and they get angry.

Kim Lennon, former prison officer 
In 2014, she reported to local and national media about security failings at the prison and the effects the staffing crisis was having on inmates.
"We used to have time where you knew your prisoners. They would talk to you and let you know stuff," Lennon says. "Prisoners are locked up a lot more because of the shortage of staff. They've got to sit behind a door, with four walls and so they get frustrated and they get angry."
"We had half a day of training in a year. And I didn't learn anything really. It's difficult because people with mental health issues shouldn't be in prison anyway. Prison officers are not nurses. And we're not trained for that."
In November, the Ministry of Justice announced an initiative to hire 2,500 new prison officers in response to warnings about dangerous prison conditions, caused in large part by a lack of staff. But Cavendish believes this has not been successful.
"They had a recruitment drive last year that failed miserably," Cavendish claims. "More people left the prison service than joined it. So in all the prisons, even if they have low staff ratios, cannot even fill the vacancies, because the salaries are so low and the conditions now so violent, the prisons have such bad reputations that no one really wants to work in a prison."

Report Mental health in prisons HC 42 SESSION 2017–2019 29 JUNE 2017

Key facts Circa £400m is the estimated amount NHS England spent in 2016-17 providing mental and physical healthcare in adult prisons in England 31,328 people in prison who report having mental health or well-being issues at any one time, based on HM Inspectorate of Prisons surveys (37% of the average monthly prison population) 7,917 people recorded by NHS England as receiving treatment for mental health illnesses in prison in England in March 2017 84,674 is the average monthly adult prisoner population in England and Wales in 2016-17 202,099 arrivals into prisons in 2016 (this includes people arriving in prison for the first time, being recalled into prison, and moving between prisons) 120 self-inflicted deaths in prisons in 2016, the highest number on record 40,161 self-harm incidents reported in prisons in 2016, the highest on record 40% of prisons did not provide refresher mental health awareness training to prison staff in the three years leading up to October 2016Her Majesty’s Prison & Probation Service, NHS England and Public Health England .

Mental health in prisons.Rates of self-inflicted deaths and self-harm have risen significantly in the last five years, suggesting that mental health and well-being in prison have declined. The number of self-harm incidents rose by 73% between 2012 and 2016.

In 2016 there were 40,161 incidents of self-harm in prisons, the equivalent of almost one incident for every two prisoners, although some prisoners will self-harm multiple times. There were 120 self‑inflicted deaths in prison in 2016. This was almost twice the number in 2012, and higher than any previous year on record. In 2016, the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman found that 70% of prisoners who had taken their own life between 2012 and 2014 had been identified as having mental health needs. In February 2017, the Royal College of Psychiatrists stated that “rising deaths and other harms show there are failures in reaching prisoners who need general medical and specialist mental healthcare. Government does not collect enough, or good enough, data about mental health in prisons, which makes it hard to plan services and monitor outcomes.

 There are no reliable data on the prevalence of mental illness in prisons. The most commonly used estimate is that 90% of the prison population are mentally unwell, but this figure dates from 1998 and uses a broader definition of mental illness than many clinicians would recognise. Continued....      report can be found on the National Audit Office  website at Mental health in prisons HC 42 SESSION 2017–2019 29 JUNE 2017


Overcrowded prisons

As staffing levels in prisons have declined over the years, the number of people being incarcerated has increased. In 1993, the prison population in England and Wales was around 40,000. Since then it has more than doubled, to almost 86,000, making it the highest prison population in Western Europe.
But the prison system cannot take any more.
According to statistics from the Ministry of Justice, 77 of the 117 prisons last year were beyond capacity, holding 9,762 people more than they were intended. Combined with the severe staff shortage, overcrowding has had a destructive effect on the lives of prisoners.
Al Jazeera contacted a Category A prisoner (inmates in this group are considered to pose the highest threat to the public, police and national security, if they were to escape) who is serving a life sentence and who did not want to be identified.
He thinks that these "changing conditions" are among the reasons behind the rise in suicides among prisoners. "More bang up, fewer activities, less time on the phone, less association with other inmates; a feeling of never ending isolation," he said.
This confirms research from the charity The Howard League for Penal Reform which says there is less time for rehabilitation because of overcrowding and a lack of available supervision. It says prisoners are instead spending up to 23 hours a day in their cells, severely limiting their activity.
Prison reform campaigners say it is these conditions that are fostering a record rise in violence, self-harm and suicide.

Supervisor, the CRC Resettlement Officer, or contact made by letter or telephone. About the Author Lucy Owen -National Probation.
 Make prisons accountable
Recently the MoJ stated that some prison governors are to be given responsibility for their own budgets. If that should ever become reality then the cost of unsuccessfully defending prisoner litigation should come directly from the prison’s budget with the Treasury reimbursing the costs of successful defence.
Given the troupes of lawyers at the Ministry and the Government Legal department, to say nothing of friendly barristers, the waste of money runs into millions of pounds a year.
At the moment, even those claims which are truthfully indefensible are defended because the cost of doing so comes from the public purse.
“Engaging in litigation when someone else is paying the bill is gambling for free – and given the prejudice of some judges towards prisoner litigants there is always a hope of a perversion of justice.”
If, however, a governor knew that the costs of running an unsuccessful defence would come from a limited budget it would surely serve to focus his mind on the consequences. If the prison had to pay for incompetence and failure there would be less abdication of responsibility by virtually unaccountable senior management. Conversely, more transparent fairer decisions would be made at a significantly appropriate level. All prisoners know that the complaints system lacks integrity and independence and many believe that an appeal to the Ombudsman is akin to throwing a drowning man a crocodile.
It is time to make these people accountable for failure. Inside Times newspaper
Frances cook wrote in her blog she has  written to the new Secretary of State, David Lidington
with suggestions for immediate action that will ease the pressure on the prisons, with one element being reducing recalls. In the long run we need sentencing reform to deal with inflated sentencing in both custodial and community sentences.
Without legislation, the secretary of state will have to rely on bold and clear leadership. He will have to act quickly too, as people are dying every day in prison, being failed on release and recalled to already crowded prisons and the taxpayer is footing the bill. His responsibility is to keep us all safe and that means the public but it also means prison staff and prisoners. Reform of a failing system can do that.
No home, no rehabilitation
I was very interested to see that the Prisons & Courts Bill is going to make it a key duty of the newly formed (or just renamed) HMPPS to ensure that prisoners are actually rehabilitated and, I’m assuming, this would mean before release. This means offending behaviour being addressed and the root causes of such being resolved, such as homelessness and/or addiction issues.
Yet, sadly, I believe that the benchmark for this rehabilitation will be upon our Sentence Expiry Date (SED). And, that would mean if homelessness was the biggest factor in your offending which led to your offending and imprisonment, then you will still be released No Fixed Abode (NFA). Supposedly the homelessness situation would be addressed (no pun intended) whilst on license, whereby you could be recalled back to prison relinquishing them of that key duty.
I can only sympathise with those of you who felt a glimmer of hope at the sight of recent numerous headlines about a ‘rehabilitation revolution’. Only time will tell.
What’s the point?
Can someone PLEASE explain the point of HM Inspectorate of Prisons? Every month we get details and thorough reports of their latest inspections, but nothing ever seems to change. If a good prison gets a great report it is because it is a well-run prison where staff actually care and do a great job. When a bad prison gets a bad report, it is because too many staff are not doing their jobs.
“Demoralised staff and lack of trained staff are just two reasons that prisons are failing. But who is going to put things right? Who actually takes notice of these reports, whose duty is it to get things righted?”
We can keep harping on about synthetic drugs and the effect they are having on prisons, but I see very little being done about it. Staff appear to be very demoralised and often just too busy to deal with the challenges that the system is facing.
For years, we have been told when the Inspectors are coming and the call goes out to clean everything in sight and if it doesn’t move then paint it! But we are starting to see that HMIP are just another toothless tiger, the governors and staff no longer care about their reports because so many prisons are in crisis you can’t see the wood for the trees. There doesn’t seem to be any comeback at all, if a prison is reported as failing, then what is done to follow up on this? Because, if it’s just finger-pointing with no real progress, then it is a waste of time and money.
If staff see that nothing is being done to put things right and the only people reading the reports are the readers of Inside Time, then nothing will ever change. These invariably poor and damaging reports are having no effect and something more has to be done to get the system back in shape. Nobody seems to be looking forward.
Deaf but please hear me
Can I first set the scene as to what it is like to be deaf? Imagine you are sitting in your cell and a tannoy announcement is made telling you to report to the wing-office, but you cannot hear it. Imagine the fire alarm going off and the building being evacuated, but you can’t hear it. I am sure that you’ve already thought that the way around this is to have ‘deaf’ cells with a light that flashes to inform the deaf prisoner that something is going on.
But, apparently, there is no money in the budget for this.
“Less than 0.5% of the prison population have the ability to communicate in British Sign Language (BSL), and as for prison staff, there is not one member of staff in this prison who can use sign language. In order to communicate I have to write everything down.”
I have had no disability assessment done since being here. I keep seeing posters for a company called Capita, who provide interpreting services for a list of languages, including BSL,
"but every time I need them there is no support."
As part of my Sentence Plan I am required to attend education, English and Maths. These are quite complicated subjects and need a lot of detailed explanation. Try explaining English grammar to someone who can’t hear you. It is very difficult. There are courses I would like to do but I don’t have the opportunity as there is no support available.
In order to make phone calls I have to use a device called a Minicom, which I use to type out what I want to say and send it like a text message. I wait for the response and then reply. The trouble is, I get charged for the waiting time.
 So, I have phone-calls at double the price of other prisoners.
BSL is a visual language and I have to see your hands and facial expressions in order to understand what you are saying.
This is hard as I have to concentrate and often walk into other people or hard objects.
I hope this gives you some insight into my world. I would ask you to be considerate and to understand a little more about deaf people.
Katherine Gleeson 
25 Apr 2017. The United Nations has found evidence of grave and systematic violations of Disabled people’s rights by the UK government due to welfare reform. Video from our briefing event in Parliament on the next steps politicians can take. Disabled People Against Cuts and Inclusion London held a briefing event in Parliament for MPs and members of the House of Lords.Article 6 of the Optional Protocol of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
Queen’s speech 21 June 2017 The Queen delivered her speech outlining the government’s programme of legislation and measures for the next two years. Below is an outline of areas of particular interest to Deaf and Disabled people. The information is based on a parliamentary briefing on the Queen’s Speech, which is

UK jails acting against UN torture rules

An Investigation by The Independent in February exposed more than a dozen examples inmates being held in solitary confinement,  teenage prisoners with serious mental health conditions for whom it caused considerable distress and psychological damage.
Kyefer, who grew up in Liverpool and, since his sentence, has been held in five different jails, was recently diagnosed with a borderline personality disorder. His mother, Sheena Evelyn, says she was told by his psychologist that his mental state is declining due to the trauma of being separated from his family at a young age and then locked up with no human contact.
A recent psychiatric report on Kyefer seen by The Independent shows that on a number of occasions he reported feeling “stressed by being in his cell too much”, “frustrated with being in segregation” and “frustrated with being in his cell for a long time”.

Ms Evelyn says Kyefer phones her whenever he can because he is so distressed. “He phones me whenever he can just to speak to someone. There’s no education. Nothing. These boys are getting 30 minutes out of the cell exercise and that is it," she told The Independent.

“Staff have told me that's the standard procedure. Off the back of that, they’re going to be misbehaving. They’re caged like animals. So then they go back to segregation. It’s a vicious circle. They bounce from segregation to B1 wing."

The Howard League for Penal Reform, which recently launched a court case challenge over a teenage boy's prolonged solitar , has warned of the “irreversible risk of harm” that can result from the prolonged isolation, saying it raises “serious  protection concerns”.
“Kyefer has always been an energetic child. Now he always disengaged and depressed. Even when I visit him with his younger siblings, he isn't engaging as well as he used to. This prison is breaking him," says Ms Evelyn.

“He’s threatened to take his own life on multiple occasions. Staff have ignored his pleas. It’s falling on deaf ears. Has there got to be a death of one of these boys before something happens?"

Prisoners: Imprisonment Parliament uk 
Prisons are dangerous places Howard League Campaign
levels of suicide in prison are at their highest in a decade and violence has risen to new heights.
With prison numbers continuing to rise, there can be no doubt the system is broken. Please sign up and add your voice to our campaign for real and lasting change.

"Learning difrences such as dyslexia....... cast a very long shadow. Adults with learning disabilities still had 46% higher odds of having attempted suicide than their peers without learning problems, even when we took into account a wide range of other risk factors...

Do the Dutch have the answer to the UK's prison crisis? 
Dutch unlike England and Wales, overcrowding isn't the issue.In fact there aren't enough prisoners to fill their cells.
With a third of their jails now empty, space is being rented out for criminals from other countries.Our correspondent Siobhan Robbins sent this report from behind bars in the Netherlands.



 GingeJust thought I would let you guys no I had my licence suspended today by the parole bored after 8yrs on licence, so there is hope and movement even if it has taken almost a decade.
Thats brillent news well done  Did this suspension  happen all of a of a sudden or did you have to apply?
Piercy That's great news
Davis Well done bro it great news means hope for all of us
Cavendish Wonder how long HM Chief Inspector of Prisons Peter Clarke will last in post. Retired due to 'gammy knee' or an allergy to jail cover ups?
Replying to
Bet they didn't bank on getting another Truth Teller like Hardwick. Another man with integrity...but will they listen?
Biamonti injustice= wasted lives!

Corrigan If like my son who has been told he is higher risk but deemed unsuitable for said courses there is no way forward to prove himself low risk

Jez   Absolutely right. This is why so many give up. The sentence is unjust and as stated in the report has no public protection benefits, something I note noone refereed to in the house of lords. But I will remind Lord Keen in my letter. I signed but Ms Mays views are clear. She wants them gone. She wants to be in a position to make up her own human rights bill, to exclude those humans that she thinks have lost the right to have them.

Horton I do wish they wouldn't trumpet numbers like "576 IPP prisoners released last year - the highest ever" as if it's something to be proud of. It really winds me up, because it can mislead people into thinking that true progress has been made. But the average number released was only 450 -500 or so before anyway. As one of the other (more intelligent) Lords pointed out, that will still mean that the problem will continue well into the next decade. There are over 3,500 IPP prisoners. So about another 6 - 7 years before they are all released, then, at the current rate of "progress".
They don't know the prisoners' stories. They just spout the party line: "Well, they got an IPP sentence so they must be very dangerous." It saves them actually having to think. Tick boxes are MUCH easier to deal with than real people. Don't get me started!

Brackenbury I just love how they refer to them all as "very dangerous" yes several may well be! But many of them made stupid decisions they'd never dream of making again and are paying for life unlike any other prisoner sentenced for same offence! They can bleat their statistics as much as they like but the truth is they don't even know these prisoners names let alone their stories! Bastards!

Speck And some are PMIs so are unable to undertake these SOTP courses, that have been proved to not work, and in some cases make some offenders worse

AJ Ipp
How much "time will be wasted on injustice?!"

We would particularly welcome applications from people with personal experience of having served a prison sentence.
The Prison Reform Trust is looking to recruit a head of prisoner engagement. This new post is designed to increase our ability to take on board the views of prisoners in setting our own priorities and for prison reform generally. It also aims to extend the scope of PRT’s existing work to increase opportunities for prisoners to play a more active role in creating safe and purposeful prison communities

Compensation Claims
Mental Health Law
Family & Children Law
Any Criminal Defence
Prison Law



Wednesday, 19 July 2017

We are carrying survey this is completely anonymous research looking at the experiences of the families of IPP prisoners. We do not ask for your name or the name of the person serving an IPP sentence.Why have you been affected by the IPP sentence?


Evidence to Policy

Indeterminate sentencing, injustice and dangerous politics

Dr Harry Annison
Dr Harry Annison
Saw the ongoing issues posed by the indeterminate Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) sentence prompting a number of speeches and reports by concerned policymakers. Chief Inspector of Prisons Peter Clarke told the Today Programme that it was "completely unjust" that offenders IPPs were "languishing in jail". Former Justice Secretary Michael Gove stated that “in terms of pure justice and fairness”, many IPP prisoners “should be released”.

The IPP sentence was created by the Labour government in 2003 (and implemented in 2005), intended to target individuals who posed a ‘significant risk of serious harm’ to the public but whose immediate offence did not merit a life sentence. In short, the Home Secretary David Blunkett sought to create a sentence that would only allow those identified as ‘dangerous’ to be released if they were able to demonstrate to the Parole Board that they no longer posed such a risk. If they could not, they would remain imprisoned for the rest of their lives.

Within two years the IPP population had reached 4000; by 2011 it had reached 6000. England and Wales had the dubious honour of holding the most indeterminately-sentenced prisoners of any European nation by a wide margin. Concerns with the IPP sentence mounted, centred upon its contribution to prison overcrowding, the sclerosis in the penal estate (inability of prisoners to access relevant courses, to progress through the estate and so on) and recognition of principled arguments against the sentence.

Having been amended in 2008, the sentence was abolished in 2012. It was accepted by Justice Secretary Ken Clarke that the sentence was fundamentally unfair in principle and unworkable in practice. However, existing IPP prisoners remained: their situation was not addressed by the legislation (the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012).

The challenges posed by the IPP sentence both reflect, and contribute to, broader problems in the penal estate. It can legitimately be argued that we currently face a significant crisis. Self-harm and deaths in prison (both self-inflicted and otherwise) are increasing at an alarming rate. Overcrowding remains endemic. Prison officer numbers have fallen by 30% between 2010 and 2013. Respected Parole Board chairman Professor Nick Hardwick has described the situation as ‘more serious than ever’.

What is to be done?
It appears that the nettle is firmly being grasped by the Parole Board, who anticipate that improvements to their processes may result in 2500 of the remaining 4000 IPP prisoners being released by 2020. To achieve swifter and deeper effects, legislation and policy change by the Ministry of Justice is required. Professor Hardwick has set out a range of plausible options:

1. CONVERSION: Convert all or some IPP sentences to a fixed term sentence with a definite sentence end date
2. SUNSET CLAUSE: Establish a provision to provide that all or some post tariff prisoners must be released no later than a certain date
3. RISK TEST: Reverse the risk test for some or all IPPs so the Parole Board has to demonstrate the prisoners poses a serious risk rather than the prisoners needing to demonstrate that they do not
4. EXECUTIVE RELEASE: Consider using existing powers to release IPP prisoners who have now served more than the current maximum tariff for their sentence
5. SHORT TARIFF IPPs: Reverse the risk test for IPPs with an original tariff of less than two years
6. RECALLS: End the IPP sentence once the Parole Board has decided release and deal with further offences under normal sentencing provisions and limit license periods

Michael Gove has argued that the Justice Secretary should swiftly adopt a form of option 4, releasing the IPP prisoners who are beyond their tariff period and who have now served longer than the maximum possible sentence length for that offence (if they were serving a determinate sentence). This would certainly tackle the pains of the most acutely affected group of individuals.

It is clear that action must be taken. 

While many IPP prisoners have committed serious offences, and are certainly not model citizens (who of us are?), one does not need to look far for evidence of the harm caused by the sentence to families, communities and the prisoners themselves,

(see for example the tireless efforts of the IPP Prisoner Families Campaign). 

Prisoners justifiably complain of the impossibility of readying themselves for a law-abiding life – and demonstrating this to the Parole Board – within an artificial and damaging prison environment. (This is not to mention the enormous difficulties posed to prison governors, prison officers and the Parole Board, and the significant costs involved).

It is equally clear that penal policy is a politically dangerous business. My book Dangerous Politics explores in detail the beliefs and practices of policymakers involved in the creation, contestation, amendment and abolition of the IPP sentence. Policymakers’ fear of taking ‘soft’ action, such as releasing individuals explicitly labelled as ‘dangerous’, was abundantly clear. Ken Clarke’s abolition of the sentence in 2012 demonstrated what strong political leadership in the face of substantial media attacks can achieve. The current Justice Secretary’s failure to defend adequately the judiciary in the face of their disgraceful labelling as ‘Enemies of the People’ by elements of the press does not bode well.

What broader lessons can we take?
At a practical level, the IPP sentence demonstrates the significant challenges faced by the Ministry of Justice to achieve its goal of making “prisons a place of safety and reform”.
More fundamentally, it points to the significant dangers in the Justice Secretary’s view that, “I am not in favour of an arbitrary reduction in the number of prisoners in our prisons. What I am in favour of is reducing reoffending rates so that we stop people revolving through the system and going in and out of prisons.”

Such a view may be politically convenient (avoiding as it does difficult questions around sentencing policy), but conceiving of prisons as the means of achieving reform and redemption obscures (and indeed risks directly countering) the more important role of families, communities, employment and other broader factors in individual’s journeys towards a good life.

In short, efforts to address the crisis engulfing British prisons is welcome and long overdue. Grasping the IPP nettle must be part of this agenda. However, the IPP story is but one demonstration of the harm and unintended consequences that can result from reforms that are predicated on prisons as a public good, rather than as a necessary measure of last resort, to be used sparingly, reluctantly and with clear-eyed recognition of the harms that prison itself causes.

Dr Harry Annison
Harry researches penal policy and in particular has conducted research into the politics and policymaking relating to indeterminate sentences. His book Dangerous Politics, covering this terrain, was published by Oxford University Press in 2015 as part of the Clarendon Studies in Criminology series. He is a Lecturer in Criminal Law and Criminology, and currently a Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Criminology, Oxford University.

The IPP prisoner family survey

We are carrying out research looking at the experiences of the families of IPP prisoners. One of us is a researcher who has previously studied and written about the IPP sentence and the other has previously studied and written about the families of prisoners. We have brought our expertise together to look at the specific experiences of IPP family members. As part of this study, we are asking families of IPP prisoners to complete this short anonymous survey. We will also be interviewing some family members and speaking with organisations and people who have been involved with campaigns on the sentence, or supporting families. We would really appreciate your participation in this survey. 
This survey is completely anonymous 
We do not ask for your name or the name of the person serving an IPP sentence. If you think you might be willing to take part in a confidential interview and would like to discuss this further with one of the researchers, please email You can also contact us if you have any questions about the study.

Why have you been affected by the IPP sentence?

How has the IPP sentance affected you and you and close to you?
have you made contact with any other IPP prisoners members? 

Is ther anything else that you think is important for us to understand?

Have you accessed any organisations for support? Have they been helpful?(For example, your local MP; member of the House of Lords; Prison Reform Trust; Howard League; Inside Time; Pact; Partners of Prisoners; or any other organisation.)Have you been involved with any IPP prisoner campaigns?Have you sought support from anywhere else?

Survay Form


Howard League 

What you can do?

From joining as a member and attending our events to following us on social media, there are many ways you can help us to achieve change.

Prisoners and prisoners' families

We offer free membership to prisoners and their families.

1 IPP, What if we rethought parole minutes of ther meeting press on the word podcast to lisen. 2 Press release Martin Jones blogs about the challenges the Parole Board face going forward 3 Chief Inspector highlights prison safety in annual report annual report today (18 July 2017). 4 HM Inspectorate of Probation corporate plan for 2017-2020 has proved an exception, mercifully short and surprisingly jargon-free. 5 The need for trauma-focused care in prison. 6 Mental health in prisons: no strategy; insufficient funds


Howard League for Reform

What if we rethought parole? press on the word podcast  in Yellow to listen

Dear Katherine Gleeson

Thank you for supporting our event at the LSE.  I am pleased to say that the podcast of the event is now available.  Nicola Padfield, the proponent of the idea that we should re-think parole, is now writing a pamphlet taking into account the discussion at the event, which is due to be published by the end of the year.  I will be in touch with you again when we publish it.

Would you join the Howard League, so that we can carry on being an independent voice, being successful at achieving change and being a friend to critical thinking? Please sign up and add your voice today.

With best wishes
Anita Dockley
Research Director
The Howard League for Penal Reform
1 Ardleigh Road
N1 4HS
Tel: 020 7249 7373 Ext. 109
Fax: 020 7249 7788



Press release

The Parole Board faces up to new challenges

Parole Board CEO Martin Jones blogs about the challenges the Parole Board face going forward




Prison reform impossible until jails become safer

By Russell Webster on Jul 18, 2017 12:40 pm

Prison reform will not succeed unless the violence and prevalence of drugs in jail are addressed and prisoners are unlocked for more of the working day.
That is the main conclusion of the Chief Inspector of Prisons, Peter Clarke as he published his annual report today (18 July 2017) based on 86 individual inspection reports on prisons, police custody suites, immigration removal centres and other custodial establishments.
Ministry of Justice (MoJ) data showed that:
  • in the 12 months to December 2016, there were more than 26,000 assaults, an increase of 27%;
  • during the same period, assaults on staff rose by 38% to 6,844 incidents;
  • of these assaults on staff, 789 were serious, an increase of 26%; and
  • the number of self-inflicted deaths has more than doubled since 2013 and in the 12 months to March 2017, 113 prisoners took their own lives.

Three quarters of inspected prisons sub-standard

Of the 29 local and training prisons inspected during the year, inspectors judged 21 of them to be ‘poor’ or ‘not sufficiently good’ in the area of safety.
Peter Clarke said:
Why have so many of our jails become unsafe? Many of the reasons have been well documented. The prevalence of drugs inside prisons and the seeming inability to keep them out has been a major factor. Debt, bullying and self-segregation by prisoners looking to escape the violence generated by the drugs trade are commonplace. This has all been compounded by staffing levels in many jails that are simply too low to keep order and run a decent regime that allows prisoners to be let out of their cells to get to training and education and have access to basic facilities.
What is it like for prisoners on a day-to-day basis? I have often been appalled by the conditions in which we hold many prisoners. Far too often I have seen men sharing a cell in which they are locked up for as much as 23 hours a day, in which they are required to eat all their meals, and in which there is an unscreened lavatory. On several occasions prisoners have pointed out insect and vermin infestations to me. In many prisons I have seen shower and lavatory facilities that are filthy and dilapidated but with no credible or affordable plans for refurbishment. I have seen many prisoners who are obviously under the influence of drugs.

Particular concerns for young people and children

Some of the most concerning findings during the year came from inspections of the custodial estate for children and young people. In the light of revelations last year about apparent mistreatment of children at Medway Secure Training Centre (STC), the Inspectorate maintained the momentum of inspections at STCs and young offender institutions (YOIs). At that time there were around 609 children held in YOIs and 155 in STCs.
  • Youth Justice Board Annual Statistics for 2015-16 showed self-harm rates at 8.9 incidents per 100 children compared with 4.1 in 2011;
  • assault rates were 18.9 per 100 children compared with 9.7 in 2011;
  • HMI Prisons’ own surveys showed that 46% of boys felt unsafe at their establishment; and
  • the proportion of boys engaged in a job (16%), vocational training (11%) and offending behaviour programmes (16%) across the YOIs was lower in 2015-16 than at any point since 2010-11.
Peter Clarke said:
In early 2017 I felt compelled to bring to the attention of ministers my serious concern about our findings in the youth estate. By February 2017, we concluded that there was not a single establishment that we inspected in England and Wales in which it was safe to hold children and young people.
The speed of decline has been staggering. In 2013-14 we found that nine out of 12 institutions were graded as good or reasonably good for safety. The reasons for this slump in standards are no doubt complex, but need to be understood and addressed as a matter of urgency.
There seems to be something of a vicious circle. Violence leads to a restrictive regime and security measures which in turn frustrate those being held there. We have seen regimes were boys take every meal alone in their cell, where they are locked up for excessive amounts of time, where they do not get enough exercise, education or training, and where there do not appear to be any credible plans to break the cycle of violence.

Other findings

Other key findings from the report include:
  • outcomes for prisoners in the five women’s prisons inspected in 2016-17 were better, with strong outcomes for safety, respect and resettlement, although the incidence of self-inflicted death and self-harm among women has risen dramatically;
  • new psychoactive substances were beginning to have an impact within immigration detention as well as the custodial estate;
  • there had been some improvements in the Rule 35 process, designed to protect those with serious health problems or who had been victims of torture;
  • despite police custody being considerably professionalised in recent years, there needs to be a continuing focus on safety, with still too many deficiencies in the governance of the use of force.


Inspectors found – for the first time – that the number of recommendations that had been fully achieved was lower than the number not achieved. The Chief Inspector expressed his dismay in strong terms:
In many cases the response to previous recommendations has been unforgivably poor.
Given the predictably shocking findings of this annual report, it is perhaps no wonder that the government has abandoned the Prisons and Courts Bill which would have given prison inspectors new powers and required the Justice Secretary to respond to an “urgent notification” of concerns about a particular prison within 28 days setting out:
the actions that the Secretary of State has taken, or proposes to take, in response to the concerns described in the notification.
All prison posts are kindly sponsored by Prison Consultants Limited who offer a complete service from arrest to release for anyone facing prison and their family. Prison Consultants have no editorial influence on the contents of this site.

But the new HM Inspectorate of Probation corporate plan for 2017-2020 

has proved an exception.Mercifully short and surprisingly jargon-free and easy to read, it sets out an important new direction for HMI Probation.

Rating probation services

As regular readers know, HMI Probation has become an increasingly important institution in the aftermath of the government’s partial privatisation of the probation service via its Transforming Rehabilitation (TR) project. The inspectorate has conducted a dozen inspections of public and private probation (National Probation Service and Community Rehabilitation Company) based on Police/Police and Crime Commissioner areas — almost all of which have found the CRCs in particular to be performing poorly. Many in the probation world have been pleased that the Chief Inspector, Dame Glenys Stacey, has been prepared to be blunt in her criticisms; stating that supervision by telephone is not acceptable and that new through-the-gate arrangements are having “no impact”.
The greater prominence of the Inspectorate has led to some criticism of its approach; the main ones being:
  • The inspection process is too slow — there is too long a gap between inspections of the same area, especially at a time when the pace of change post-TR is rapid.
  • The number of cases on which inspections are based is rather low allowing questions to be raised about the robustness and reliability of inspectors’ judgments.
  • The process of inspection can be draining on NPS and CRC resources, particularly the latter where the same CRC may be inspected several times since it can comprise as many as four PCC areas.
The corporate plan addresses all of these issues and maps out a clear forward direction:
  • HMIP is developing a national framework for probation standards and will work with commissioners, providers,
    probation professionals, service users to agree quality indicators that will flesh out what good probation practice looks like.
  • HMIP will inspect all probation services annually and inspect CRCs and NPS divisions separately.
  • Critically, HMIP will introducing a rating system and grade probation areas to make them more directly comparable (in the same way as the CQC grades care homes and Ofsted assesses schools). Expect a rating system of the Outstanding, Good, Requires Improvement, Inadequate type.
  • HMIP will include probation work done in prison as part of its area inspections.
  • HMIP will reduce the burden on providers by using data and information available from providers and HMPPS, so
    that as far as possible, providers are only asked for information once.

Promoting quality

Hearteningly, the purpose of this overhaul is to encourage the delivery of good quality services and the Inspectorate has been talking to the Ministry of Justice to work out how gaining a decent rating from HMI Probation can be incentivised. Presumably these discussions were part of the probation review which I understood to have been more or less ready for publication when the general election got in the way (as it did quite fundamentally for prison reform).

The corporate plan makes it clear that HMIP has secured the extra resources needed for this expansion of its role and that it will be developing standards and new inspection methodologies this year, ready to implement its new approach in Spring 2018.


I have to declare that I am slightly more than an interested bystander as I am a member of the HMI Probation Advisory Group, but I am very heartened by the new approach which, in my opinion, will hold up local probation services to a more rigorous scrutiny and, hopefully, drive many of them to improve current poor practice.
As the corporate plan says, the goal of the new approach is that probation services improve as a result of HMIP inspections:

The need for trauma-focused care in prison