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Saturday, 23 September 2017

Ending the injustice of IPPs The recent high profile public concern about the people languishing in prison on the long discredited IPP sentence is welcome, as is the pressure to ...Presley escaped prison to send a message

Howard League for Penal Reform

The recent high profile public concern about the people languishing in prison on the long discredited IPP sentence is welcome, as is the pressure to get them eased through the system and released back into the community. The problem is that they are being recalled to prison.

There were 8,711 men and a handful of women and children who had this open-ended sentence imposed on them. There are still over 4,000 in prison (as at March 2017) of whom 711 had been recalled to prison having been released. An examination of the figures gives a depressing picture.

Since 2011, there have been 1,670 recalls of people serving an IPP, and now they are being recalled at almost the same rate as they are being released.

In January to March this year, 153 IPP prisoners were released but 124 were recalled. This is in contrast to the release of 110 mandatory lifers (usually people who have been convicted of murder) of whom 48 were recalled, still a worrying proportion but nothing like the number of IPPs.

Four people on an IPP who had been recalled to prison have taken their own lives this year, the most recent was a 29 year old man in Nottingham who was recalled for not sleeping at his hostel. The Parole Board normally makes it condition of release to live in a hostel for a specified time, even if people have a loving and supportive family or friends willing to take them home. Hostels are really not loving and supportive and they rarely provide daytime activities, leaving people to wander the streets aimlessly all day.

The pressure on probation services mean that staff have huge caseloads and are so risk-averse that a recall can be the default rather than an exception.

People sentenced to an IPP had often committed serious offences and may have had a range of complex needs. Their wellbeing was not helped by being incarcerated for years longer than they had been led to believe and had anticipated. Prison is a damaging environment. No wonder the self-injury and death rate amongst these prisoners is so high.

So, I have been working for the last six months on a solution.
Now that the sentence itself has been abolished, we need to abolish the life licence and easy recall. I am waiting for the promised Courts Bill to come to Parliament and I am pleased that eminent Peers have committed to tabling an amendment to achieve this. We are busy drafting an amendment now. I suggest a specified period of supervision and support as people who have spent years in prison do indeed need help to resettle safely. I suggest that we get rid of the administrative recalls that are causing havoc inside prisons and leading to self-injury and suicide.
There are serious lessons here for politicians. Think carefully, and listen to people who know, before you introduce catastrophic legislation that blights lives, costs the public a fortune and puts the public at risk. The good news is that the politicians who brought in the IPP have admitted that it was a mistake. This shows integrity and courage; more politicians should admit their mistakes more often. We would have a better functioning justice system if they did.
kery Absolutely nailed it! My fiance got 2 abd a half year IPP got his first parole and recalled for a couple of beers no further crimes committed and alcohol was not on his risk factors! Hes now been back 6 years now done 10 in total and being kept in for self harming and attempting suicide (luckily he was revived!) Me him and my kids have been to hell and back its financially, physically and emotionally broken us its disgusting and true that rapists and murderers and paedophiles get treated better! It needs to stop!

North East families of 'trapped' prisoners protest outside HMP Prison House

Danny Weatherson's dad, Maurice Stevens, will join protest to fight for release of controversial Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) sentences
They have served prison sentences way beyond their original tariffs but now North East families are planning to protest as they step up a campaign to get their loved ones released.
The family and friends are of those caught up in the controversial Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) sentences which came into force for England and Wales in 2005 but was axed in 2012.
Danny Weatherson was just 18 when a judge recommended he served almost 16 months for two attempted robberies before he could apply for parole - but it took 11 years and nine months for him to be released.
He got out on July 3 and was told to spend three months in a hostel in Leeds before being allowed to return to home soil in Newcastle.
Frustrated over not being with his family, without benefits and miles away from home, Danny threw a chair on the floor in the hostel which bounced and cracked a window.
It was on his 29th birthday on July 18 and he was recalled to prison.
Now dad Maurice Stevens, 45, of Lemington, Newcastle, is joining scores of others to protest against the IPP sentences outside the gates of Holme House Prison in Stockton on October 7.

'I've lost hope' - IPP Michael Presley hits out in video. He escaped prison to send a message on video then re turned 24 hours lather.

Callum Keown Reporter covering North Oxford. Call me on (01865) 425425
from prison posted a video criticising his ‘disgraceful’ sentence, after being kept behind bars for two years longer than his jail term.
Michael Presley, who has served five years following a three-year sentence for GBH, escaped from prison and called on the Ministry of Justice to release him and thousands of other inmates serving controversial indeterminate sentences
The 24-year-old from Didcot then handed himself back on Wednesday less than 24 hours after escaping HMP Spring Hill in Aylesbury.
HMP Spring Hill in Aylesbury it had deteriorated, becoming less safe and affected by staffing shortages.
given a Sentence of Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) which only sets a minimum time behind bars.
He has now served more than five years in prison.
Presley, who has a five-year-old daughter, was told he would have to wait another 15 months for a Parole Board review shortly before he escaped prison on Tuesday night.
In his video, he said: “The sentence is a disgrace. You took me away from my daughter, my family, every single person I loved got taken away from me because I made one stupid mistake when I was 17.
“It’s not acceptable – I’m saying this to get my voice out and for every other IPP prisoner that’s serving.
“It’s not right, I’ve lost absolutely everything, I lost hope, I lost faith and I don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel.”
He is one of more than 3,000 currently serving an IPP – which sets a minimum sentence only.
A prisoner must then satisfy a Parole Board that he or she is no longer a danger to the public.
He called on the Ministry of Justice and Justice Secretary David Lidington to commute IPP sentences.
The Government abolished IPP sentences in 2012 just months after Presley was sentenced. It followed a joint report in 2010 by the chief inspectors of prisons and probation which said that IPP sentences were unsustainable with UK prison overcrowding.
Presley’s brother David, who lives in Didcot, told the Oxford Mail he was concerned about the high suicide rate among IPP prisoners and that Michael felt ‘no hope’ after being denied the chance to even face the Parole Board on several occasions.
His sister Kim, who was his legal guardian at the time of the offence, said: “The biggest issue is the mental health side of things - he’s been left in there for years not knowing when he’s going to come home.
“These IPP sentences don’t just affect the prisoners, they hurt the whole family - we have been hoping and praying every time a new appointment with the Parole Board is scheduled that maybe this time he will come home.
“We are not saying he is innocent, but he’s not the same boy who went in - we are proud of the man he has become and he has served his time - he should be released.”
The 27-year-old said her brother had changed since being behind bars and was well-liked by fellow prisoners and guards during his time at a maximum security prison in Milton Keynes.
But she said the family were ‘disgusted’ by his escape from prison.
She said: “We are disgusted at what he has done and it means the wait will be even longer.
“He just wanted to be heard.”
Alex Hewson, Policy and Communications Officer at the Prison Reform Trust said: “As this tragic case shows, frustration, anguish and despair are the enduring legacy of the IPP sentence, despite its abolition five years ago.
Thousands remain stuck in our prisons, years longer than was ever envisaged; not there for what they have done, but for what they might do.”
He added: “Despite recent welcome efforts by the Parole Board and prison service to speed up the release of the remaining IPP prisoner population, without legislative action thousands of people will continue to be caught in indefinite detention.
“The Parole Board has already made sensible recommendations for executive release and conversion to determinate sentences, the onus is now on the government to act and finally put an end to this unfair and unjust sentence.”
A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said: “We are determined to address the challenge of making sure all IPP prisoners have the support they need to show they are no longer a threat to public safety.
“We have been working closely with the Parole Board to process these cases as quickly as possible and, earlier this year, we set up a new unit focused on this and improving the efficiency of the parole process.”
Presley was charged with escaping from lawful custody and appeared at High Wycombe Magistrates Court yesterday. 

Calls from Sister of James Ward and  other family's to  release all  IPP Prisoners over tariff.

She said: “I had goosebumps watching his video, he has clearly been pushed to this, to escape just to get his voice out.
MPs calls for urgent review of IPP cases.


Owen Sad to hear that he was recalled, great to hear that his family are fighting for him. The more this stays in the news the more pressure it puts on Mr Lidington. IPP must be removed retrospectively! Inexcusable, persistent, persecution!Just a thought, your letter to the parole board and your MP. How about sending them to Sophie Barnes. She is a journalist and may well be interested in doing a piece to show how still IPPs are being let down by the parole board. She will be discreet about names. At the moment so many stories of despair and disbelief 😢 hang in there I know someone who has just been released after 3 previous long deferrals.

So. The Parole Board screws up yet again. My grandson's hearing (already about 6 months overdue, and the one before was nearly a year overdue) was due on Monday. TODAY they e-mailed to say it had been deferred - maybe as late as February 2018. No reason given. They did the same thing last time - at less than 24 hours' notice. Words fail me. I've already sent a blistering e-mail to the CEO of the Parole Board, asking for an explanation. Don't worry...I'm not giving up any time soon! I think I'll e-mail Mr Gathercole as well, just to see what he comes up withI know him from a meeting at the MoJ on the topic of IPPs a while ago, with Katherine Gleeson. I'm not writing to my MP because He's a total waste of space. I tried before and got nowhere on a couple of matters.
Brackenbury Thats disgusting!! Im so sorry for you all parole should be held accountable for these delays! Better still they shouldnt be allowed to do it in the first place! I hope his solicitor whacks in a compensation claim for unfair prolonged suffering! My partners just got his for december! No doubt being so close to christmas we will suffer the same fate! Just lies lies lies isnt it.
Pettit Delays shouldn't be allowed . It is not fair on those waiting inside and out.Those waiting get deflated when his happens and when they are vulnerable I just leads to stress ,anxiety, depression, etc Then who has to deal with it ?? .I think it is about time government sorted his out properly and get rid of his IPP altogether. Enough is enough.

Coles My son was meant to have his parole on 20th September but they didn't do it they told him to be good from now till January with no nickings then they will do his parole. They did this last time . It's disgusting he's done nearly 12 years even though he only got 2 years Ipp.His mental health is getting worse.

Crosby All ipp prisoners should be released immediately. It was abolished and still these people and their families are still suffering. I find it cruel to have a person not know when they have a release date. They have served their time and gone over their tariffs only to be left not knowing when they will return to their lobed ones....
Khan If the ipp is abolished then everyone over tariff shud be released and the licence shud be reduced to applying at the 5 yr mark at least !!!


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