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Monday, 21 August 2017

I prepared my report one year ago and recommended his release and I don't know why he is still in prison"?

Whilst it has been a productive week with the BBC airing the Victoria Derbyshire programme about the harrowing story of James Ward of which his family are going through the sheer anguish of seeing their son and brother being a mentally tortured soul with his merciless prolonged imprisonment under this IPP law and with the real fear that he could end his own life of which his sister rightly speaks the obvious, absolute truth that he should be with his family who can give him the right support and care that he needs with his fragile state of mind yet once again the defiant and ignorant government are still showing no signs of amending this law apart from the very weak and pathetic response of how we now have a specialized unit expediting the progress of IPP prisoners and parole hearings.  

Once again I highly commend Nick Hardwick, Head of Parole Board ,and Peter Clarke, Chief Inspector of Prisons, who speak the truth regards the reality of the situation of the appalling plight of IPP prisoners and Nick Hardwick has addressed the need for the increase rate of Parole Hearings "but what use is this in that when it does comes to a Parole Hearing that the Parole Board are still deferring release because of the pure ineptitude of the Probation Officers and Offending Management Unit (OMU) Officers who are presenting unfounded and falsified recommendations to the Parole Board and are actively hindering the release of IPP prisoners. 

Probation officers are still diminishing their own accountability to make a decision and they are deferring a release of a prisoner by passing the book on to the need of a further psychological assessment or a course to be completed of which they will wait until a parole hearing to suddenly come up with this further need and their recommendation despite a prisoner having already languished in prison for years over tariff.  This remains absolutely diabolical and then the release is deferred yet once again and still the Probation Officers are not held to account.  

I speak from personal experience of my friend who still remains incarcerated after 17 months following a recall under this IPP law and following a catalogue of systematic failings of delayed court cases which then proved his innocence and cancelled then delayed parole hearings that finally when he got his Parole Hearing the Probation officer after 17 months of incarceration suddenly 2 days before the Parole Hearing date did not recommend his release based on some very doubtful psychological report of which she could only send him an extract of it and he doesn't know who it was by and it appears that he has never met this psychologist who was in my mind fed information by the Probation Officer and the Psychologist in the extract does clearly state that this is a hypothesis and that a Therapeutic Course is to be recommended.  
All of this is in stark contrast to a Psychiatrist who sat in the Parole Hearing who clearly said "I don't know what I am doing here, I prepared my report one year ago and recommended his release and I don't know why he is still in prison" with even prisoner officers saying to him I don't know what you are still doing here, the employer of his job that he has in prison actively wanting to employ him on his release, the court reports which were favorable to him and even the OMU initially recommending his release but because my friend had the honesty to say to his Probation Officer following her very intimidating and bullying behaviour towards him that he would find it very difficult to work with her and because of her conduct where she says one thing then another, doesn't turn up for appointments when she said she would and because he has said that he can't trust people in authority of which he has very valid reasons to say this that this has somehow been twisted by the Probation Officer that he has a psychological problem.  

"I am urging any news reporters and journalist who are reading this to investigate the conduct, practice and attitude of Probation Officers and how their practice is hindering and compounding any concerted efforts to address this IPP law and the continued languishing of prisoners in prisons.  I notice that not one Probation Officer or a representative ever speaks out about this inhumane IPP law.  Why???

The Probation Officer and OMU officers have barely seen my friend throughout the 17 months that he has already been imprisoned and yet they then make a recommendation actively ignoring any positive reports.  Probation Officers have been known to recall a prisoner back to prison because of a missed appointment when it was the failings of the Probation services of not giving the appointment in the first place or sent to the wrong address or a person ringing in to say that they can't make an appointment due to a very real life situation but the message doesn't get passed or the Probation Officers' lack of capacity to factor in situations with the Probation Officer always having the fixed mind set that the prisoner is always to blame no matter what because they have totally labelled them as a criminal and a danger to society. 
Probation Officers should be personally held to account and named and shamed for the cost that they are causing to the British Public keeping people or recalling people to be incarcerated unnecessarily in the already overcrowded prisons increasing the workload of Parole Boards further with the need for subsequent Parole Hearings let alone at the unquantifiable personal effect on a prisoner's physical and mental health and well being. 

As it has been said to me Probation Officers will do anything to keep a prisoner in prison but not to let them out and that every single person who has experienced the misconduct of their Probation Officers with their unsubstantiated or falsified reports, bullying or intimidating behaviour, or simply direct administrative failings of the Probation Services which has resulted in a recall or prolonged imprisonment to write in now so that this can investigated and finally exposed to the British Public by the media or press.


By Russell Webster

Prison reform remains the dominant focus for criminal justice. David Lidington reminded people that government hasn't stopped for the summer when he argued for rehabilitation in a piece for the Evening Standard. At the same time Parole Board Chair Nick Hardwick urged the Justice Secretary to act on the continuing scandal of the 3,300 plus IPP prisoners still in custody years after their release dates. Three prison inspection reports were published last night, ranging from the dire (Aylesbury) to the decent (Bure).If you work in probation and are looking for an interesting job, HMI Probation are recruiting 18 assistant inspectors. So where exactly is the Secretary of State? We’ve got a new one, incidentally. You may well have missed that as David Lidington, who replaced Liz Truss at the Ministry of Justice in June’s reshuffle that barely was, has since morphed into the invisible man. He didn’t answer Albutt’s concerns yesterday. It also doesn’t help tackle the problems that Lidington is the fourth minister in two-and-a-half years. 



Regarding the mental health of IPP prisoners as a direct result of overcrowding, staff shortages and failure to provide even basic treatment UK PrisonsI recently read an article in the guardian by  Mary O'Hara: Lesson " lessons to be learned."
"But  really how many lesson do the government  need to learn.
 Mary O'Hara reported the mental health of a  vulnerable 24-year-old from the US who had stood up and spoken in public in a bid to get the help he needed. By giving evidence as part of law suit brought by the  Poverty Law Centre, Wallace highlighted a problem that is too often ignored: any prison system that fails to meet the needs of inmates with mental health problems is indefensibly cruel.
With rates of suicide and self-harm in prisons on the rise in the UK. isn’t it time to pay attention, and demand action?

Last month, in the case for which Wallace had given evidence, the judge ruled that poor mental health provision within the prison system was “systemically” putting inmates’ health and lives at risk. The damning ruling excoriated authorities, citing skyrocketing suicide rates, persistent overcrowding, staff shortages and failure to provide even basic treatment with mentally ill prisoners. Mental health provision was, the judge said, “horrendously inadequate”, and the court ordered the government to take action.

Deaths by suicide in prisons are rapidly increasing in the UK too, where budget cuts and overcrowding are a growing concern. In 2016 the number of people who killed themselves in prison in England and Wales reached a record high when 120 inmates took their own lives, a leap of 32%
And last week, the chief inspector of prisons warned of a “staggering” decline in safety in youth jails, something that undoubtedly puts younger inmates at risk, while a recent National Audit Office report concluded that prisons have “struggled to cope” with surges in self-harm (up by 73% between 2012 and 2016) and suicides. The report also stressed that the government doesn’t know how many inmates have a mental illness, nor how much is being spent on their care. Without the most basic understanding of the challenges, how can appropriate responses be devised, never mind implemented?
much of what has been proposed has been “tinkering”, says Andrew Neilson, director of campaigns at the Howard League.

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