The chair of the Parole Board, Nick Hardwick, has resigned as judges overturned a decision to release Worboys from jail.
Hardwick was forced to quit after the justice secretary, David Gauke, told him his position was “untenable”.
Hardwick’s resignation came before three high court judges ruled that the Parole Board’s decision to release Worboys should be quashed and ordered a “fresh determination” in his case, meaning he will remain in prison for the time being.
In his resignation letter to the justice secretary, Hardwick makes it clear he was forced to resign.
“You told me that you thought my position was untenable,” he wrote. “I had no role in the decision of the panel in the case and believe I am capable of leading the Parole Board through the changes, many of which I have advocated, that will now be necessary.
“I am sorry for the mistakes that were made in this case but I have always made it clear that I will support the members and staff of the board in the very difficult individual decisions they make and I will accept accountability for the work of the board.
“I will not pass the buck to those who work under me. In these circumstances I inform you of my decision to resign with immediate effect.”
The Parole Board’s chief executive, Martin Jones, said: “Nick Hardwick and I have always been clear that we will support our members when they face criticism in making these important decisions. I am deeply sorry that Nick Hardwick has decided to resign, he is a man of real integrity, and I have been proud to work with him.”
Gauke said: “I accept Prof Hardwick’s resignation and believe this is the correct decision in light of the serious failings outlined in today’s judgment. I would also like to express my appreciation for his committed service to the board and the contribution he has made to my department’s review of parole processes.
Parole boss letter in full
Mr Gauke said he accepted Parole Chief Professor Nick Harwick's "resignation" and that he believed it was the "correct decision in light of the serious failings outlined in today's judgement".
But one Tory MP told the Telegraph he should quit over the scandal. They said: "He f**ked up, he could not have f**ked up more."
They went on: "He showed no leadership at all, he allowed himself to be rolled by officials. He is fighting for his future, he has to take responsibility and consider his position."
Labour MP John Woodcock tells The Sun Mr Gauke is responsible for the mess, and he should go.
He said: "This ruling is a massive relief and shows David Gauke’s refusal to appeal the parole board’s decision was a monumental misjudgement.
"John Worboys would be free to walk the streets if it had been left to the government.
"There is clearly something badly wrong in the Ministry of Justice and Mr Gauke bears responsibility for the screw-up - he should fall on his sword."
Nick Hardwick March 31 Twitter
In the meantime i feel strongly that forensic psychologists and their professional bodies should not let complex and difficult issues go by default but should do much more to explain their work and support their colleagues. I am going to reflect on the Worboys stuff but will be writing and speaking about it in due course.
Chief Executive Martin Jones said: "Parole Board members make incredibly difficult and complex decisions every day that can have a devastating impact on victims and the case of John Worboys is no different."Nick Hardwick and I have always been clear that we will support our members when they face criticism in making these important decisions. I am deeply sorry that Nick Hardwick has decided to resign, he is a man of real integrity, and I have been proud to work with him."
Katherine GleesonI very sad to hear of Nick Hardwick resignations perhaps him being forced to quit should be looked at once again. I have to say I agree with MP John Woodcock that Mr Gauke is responsible for the mess along with numbers of other failings such as underfunding of the prison being a snap shot. Mr Gauke should go this is transparent to me and to those who don't have there blinkers on.
To: Justice for our Society
Bring back Nick Hardwick Chair of Parole Board
Please bring back Nick Hardwick Chair of Parole Board. Nick Hardwick speaks the truth about the current crisis in prisons and Government failings and will speak out and for doing so he is made a scapegoat by the Government. For the sake of Justice and Fairness in our society please sign this petition. The prisons are in crisis which effects not only all the prison staff, the prisoners but society as a whole. With regards to the John Worboys case, Nick Hardwick cannot be held directly responsible for the Parole Board's decision. Have the Probation Officers and Psychologists who would have recommended John Worboys' release swaying the Parole Board been held to account? The very such people who barely see the prisoner then recommend those who shouldn't be released to be released and just as importantly and conversely keep those detained who should be released. Nick Hardwick speaks the truth about the current prison crisis (alongside Peter Clarke - Chief Inspector of Prisons) and the Government don't like it and therefore typically will find a way to get rid. Don't let this happen.
Why is this important?
Nick Hardwick is a professor and very knowledgeable but not only that as just as importantly he has common sense. He is forthright and speaks out for the good of the Justice system and the prison crisis. A genuine guy. The Government are ignorant to the true state of prisons and judiciary system failing to act upon all the advice from people who really know the system such as Nick Hardwick, Peter Clarke, Governors, Prison staff and Prisoners, Lawyers and Barristers. And now he has been made a scapegoat. Why? Because the Government don't like the truth and people who speak the truth.
No doubt every individual family or friend of an IPP prisoner feels the sheer anguish and frustration of the entrapment of IPP prisoners of which I am such a person which I will directly attribute to the Probation Officer and her recommendation at my friend's Parole Hearing who was under a recall which resulted in another 19 months imprisonment because of her recommendation of a Therapeutic Community (TC) at the Parole Hearing when all the evidence in his case and recommendations by the Offender Management Officer, Psychologist supported his release.
It was obvious from the start that he did not have the criteria for TC when I looked up information on the internet which has now resulted in 10 months of his life having been wasted with the delays in getting to the TC Unit only to be told he did not warrant it and still another 9 months until his next parole hearing window because of it. An official complaint went in to HMPPS against the Probation Officer's false and negligent recommendation for this at his Parole Hearing.
This was substantiated because of the following facts that the Probation Officer had barely seen my friend in the last 17 months that he had been in prison, had not completed or engaged with him in any sentence plan, only submitted her untimely report and recommendations 2 days before the parole hearing despite 10 days earlier saying she was going to support his release, abused the use of a psychologist in her parole hearing report referring to a psychologist who had never even met Steven whilst he had been in prison, failed to draw upon all of his positive conduct whilst he had been in prison and it was a negligent recommendation because she had not researched the criteria for TC and she then coerced him to "voluntary" apply after the Parole Hearing (as it is meant to be a voluntary course) by not giving him the information as to what exactly he was applying for telling him to "sell himself" and if he doesn't he won't get another parole hearing for 2 years and so on. No doubt all of this will sound familiar to a lot of you whose Probation Officers can give false recommendations at Parole Hearings for such reasons. It never went to Judicial review due to the hesitant barrister because no doubt it would have been a costly risk. As yet we are waiting for the feedback from HMPPS regards the Official complaint but I don't hold much faith in the system at all.
-But now it has occurred to me that Civil Action could be taken against the Probation Officer for her negligence in her duties as mentioned above. Of course there are very few people who can afford this including I but then there are cases of No Win No Fee solicitors similar to personal or medical injury claims because of negligence and hence it is just as significant that negligent duties being completed by Probation Officers causes a very real and personal loss to an individual by remaining falsely imprisoned.
-I would be grateful if anybody has any feedback regards this course of action because somebody should be held to account for this appalling entrapment of prisoners which I still firmly believe comes down to the reports and recommendations by Probation Officers and indeed Psychologists who often have barely seen the prisoner or completed proper assessments of whom the Parole Board will base their decisions on that this is an option that people can go down in order to address this injustice of which I believe is a valid route because Probation Officers particularly are failing in their role and duties.
-I feel so strongly about this issue that it is a route that I would like to follow which could be plausible due to the fact that solicitors usually would only take a case on under No Win No Fee basis if they felt they had a chance. Otherwise due to the cuts in legal aid and stringent criteria for Judicial reviews it is very difficult to now get barristers on board to challenge individual IPP cases and hold people to account.
Any feedback from Solicitors or people who have been down this route would be very welcome.Has Civil law ever been applied to IPP prisoners against breach of duty and negligent recommendations of Probation Officers at Parole Hearing - feedback welcome from Solicitors and others....
In his first detailed statement on the case in January, Hardwick defended the decision to release Worboys, saying the three-member panel that considered the case was chaired by “one of our most experienced women members”, considered a dossier of 363 pages and heard evidence from four psychologists, and from prison and probation staff responsible for Worboys.
“The secretary of state was represented at our request. Worboys himself was questioned in detail. The panel considered a written statement from one victim,” Hardwick said.
He stressed that in any Parole Board decision to release a prisoner the burden was on the prisoner to demonstrate that he or she was safe to release.