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Tuesday, 7 February 2017

“The famileys and supporters have awoken our sleeping giant called conscience and you can see them scared of it roaring.....

Prisoners held indefinitely after serving their minimum term or tariff should not have to prove it is “safe” to release them, new Parole Board chairman Nick Hardwick has said.
Various factors make it “incredibly difficult” for some inmates on Imprisonment for Public Protection sentences to find such proof, he said.
He wants new criteria for freeing IPP prisoners in England and Wales.The Ministry of Justice said the suggestion had been “taken on board”.
IPP sentences were introduced by Labour in 2005 as a way of stopping the release of dangerous prisoners.But courts were banned from imposing any more IPP sentences in 2012 amid concerns they were being used to hold people for periods which their original offence did not warrant.
In March, 4,133 IPP prisoners continued to be detained, the majority of whom had been convicted of “ABH against the person”, or offences or robbery...

‘Festering in prison’

The Parole Board can approve a prisoner’s release after the minimum term – the “punishment” part of their sentence – but only if it is satisfied it is not necessary to hold the inmate in the interests of public protection.
It means the prisoner has to prove they do not present a risk and can be safely managed in the community.
But they were not allowed to prove this!
In March, about 80% of IPP prisoners – 3,347 – had already served their minimum term but were still locked up.
In his first interview since taking up his post in March, Prof Hardwick told the BBC that procedural delays, problems accessing offending behaviour courses and finding suitable accommodation made it “incredibly difficult” for some IPP prisoners to prove that it was safe for them to be let out.
“Some of them are stuck, festering, in prison long after the punishment part of the sentence,” he said.
Ministry of Justice figures show more than 500 IPP prisoners given tariffs of less than two years were still in prison 10 or more years later.
“Once it gets to that point, they stop making progress and they start going backwards,” said Prof Hardwick.
“So this is, I think, a blot on the justice system and I’m very keen we can do something about it.”

Risk test

He said Liz Truss, the new justice secretary, should consider activating Section 128 of the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012.
The clause allows the justice secretary to alter the test which the Parole Board has to apply when releasing prisoners.Both houses of Parliament would have to agree to the change, but fresh legislation would not be required.
“There are legislative options that will enable us to change the risk test so it’s more about ‘is there proof that they’re dangerous rather than proof that they’re safe?’ and there are some other measures that can be taken… to try to cut into that group,” Prof Hardwick said.
The former Chief Inspector of Prisons said there were three categories of IPP inmate who would benefit most: Those on very short tariffs but still in custody; prisoners held beyond the maximum sentence for the offence they had committed; and offenders who were too frail or elderly to pose a danger.


The Parole Board is also trying to cut the backlog of prisoners awaiting decisions on their release, by hiring more parole panel members and dealing with cases more efficiently.
Not fast enough!
Prof Hardwick said it was “crazy” to be paying out compensation to inmates held in custody because their cases were delayed due to a lack of resources.
In 2015-16, there were 463 damages claims lodged, five times the number the previous year, with £554,000 paid out in compensation, compared to £144,000 the year before.
“It’s not a good use of taxpayers’ money,” Prof Hardwick said.
“It would be much better to put the money into ensuring that the system is working efficiently so that people get dealt with fairly and get out when they’re supposed to and when the courts intended.”
The Ministry of Justice said: “The chair of the Parole Board has made a number of recommendations to improve the parole system and reduce the backlog of IPP prisoners.
Not fast enough !
“Work is ongoing within the department to address these issues and his recommendations have been taken on board”.
‘Trapped in a box’ 



By James A Baldwin    

 "It is certain, in any case that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have"    Protest Now Due
United we stand, divided we fall else the powers will continue to divide and rule...... and now is the time that we should stand united together.  We all have got to be so grateful that Katherine Gleeson has given us the opportunity of this website due to her admirable determination in opposing the IPP law and to update us on the progression being made to put an end to those that are still subject to this inhumane law and that we can share our united views or hear the very real harrowing personal stories on this website.

Yet still Eliz Truss is showing no signs of amending this law and putting an end to the entrapment of IPP prisoners due to her sheer ignorance of the injustice of this law.  Eliz Truss is danger of becoming a hated figure on a par with Marie Antoinette who was infamous for saying "Let them eat cake" to the poor and the starving when they were begging for bread due to the obliviousness of Marie Antoinette of the conditions and the lives of the people.  And no doubt the government will put the thought of compensation claims above the immorality of the personal torture that this law inflicts on a prisoner, if they were to amend the law.

Current MP's who should represent the people are showing no signs either of standing up in parliament to object to the law still applied to the 4000 + IPP prisoners so now it is up to the people to stand up against the government.

I have come to the point that I am in total agreement with other bloggers on this website that a protest outside the Ministry of Justice is needed.  Action will speak louder than words.  Now is the time to strike whilst the iron is hot with all the controversy that has recently been bought to the public's attention of prisoner officer strikes, riots in prisons, continued high suicide rates, cuts in legal aid etc. 

Prisoners' families, prison officers, legal representations need to stand united together in a protest against the government in their shared beliefs of needing safer prisons, better prison conditions for prisoners and staff, better staff terms and conditions of employment, reduction in violence and overcrowding and to put an end to the impossible criteria of this IPP law and the inhumane prolonged detention of prisoners and licence conditions under this law. 

Through this website a protest can be arranged.  It needs to be organised to make the government really listen.  Eliz Truss needs to be held to account as she has the power to change the law yet she is doing nothing.  She can't even acknowledge the problems with this law.  "Ignorance and Power is the most ferocious enemy of justice".  Let the people be heard in the name of justice that this is an inhumane law and that she is accountable through a protest demonstration that is needed now more than ever. 
G. Edkins
Feb, 7 Feb Subject: IPP Families
Dear Katherine, I've been looking through your website and was touched by how much work you are doing to help IPP families.

I am a freelance journalist and have written for Mirror Online and the Mail on Sunday, but would like to write a long form piece about IPP for the Guardian. 

I just don't believe there's enough being done about this situation, neither do I think there's been enough media coverage of how difficult it must be for both families and inmates. 

I've worked a lot with prisoners before, and had some work published for NotShutUp magazine, a publication for inmates. 

Would we be able to have a chat about the situation please? I'd love to give you a call over the weekend. 

Best wishes, 

G. Edkins
Katherine,This is such an incredible list , I am so grateful. It must've taken a long time to compile them, that's really kind of you. 

Will message you tomorrow about pitching the story.

Best wishes,
G. Edkins 
Journalist (Mirror Online, Mail on Sunday

Hi Katherine,
 I work for BBC Radio Gloucestershire. I'm looking to speak to people whose family or friends are serving an IPP sentence. Ideally people who live in Gloucestershire .
BBC Direct
UK Support
SOURCE: Nick Hardwick article

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