To the justice Committee inquiry of transforming rehablitation programe
Written evidence submitted by XXXXX XXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXXx
I am submitting evidence as I have a close friend (Mr Steven XXXXXXX) who is subject to this IPP law currently detained in prison. This is sent in a personal capacity and also as a supporter of the IPP Families Campaign as I am opposed to this inhumane and barbaric law.
I WRITE WITH REFERENCE TO THE ROLE OF PROBATION OFFICERS SPECIFIC TO IMPRISONMENT FOR PUBLIC PROTECTION (IPP) PRISONERS
It is stated that the probation system is responsible for supervising, rehabilitating and where necessary, resettling offenders after or instead of a custodial sentence.
THIS DOES NOT APPEAR TO EXIST AT ALL FOR IPP PRISONERS
1/ I recently wrote to the Chief Inspector of Probation Services to obtain the statistics regards Probation Officers (POs) who had not recommended the release of IPP prisoners upon their parole hearing post tariff or following a recall and their reasons for this. I also requested the statistics for the number of recalls of IPP prisoners by POs and on what grounds were they recalling prisoners, was it for failed appointments, breech of the very constrictive licence conditions they are under or for an actual chargeable offence?
You will be wise to obtain these statistics for your inquiry in order to establish the true picture of the failing and obstructive role of POs who are actively hindering the release of IPP prisoners and any form of rehabilitation and are quite simply keeping them detained in prison and misusing the function of prisons which is that prisons should be utilised to keep people incarcerated for their convicted period or tariff only and that the prison's function is not the resource that should be used to rehabilitate a prisoner post the convicted period / tariff which is what POs seem to think is the case.
This is a very significant factor in the increasing and unmanageable prison population with IPP prisoners being detained many years over tariff and if released are recalled back at an alarming rate of 75% recalls for the IPP prisoners actually released. Subsequently upon a recall the prisoners are held indeterminately again and it is a lengthy (possibly a few years) costly and indefinite process to enable them to be released again having another significant negative effect on the already back log of parole hearings therefore delaying other prisoner's parole hearings which has even resulted in special unit with Her Majesty's Prison and Probation Services (HMPPS) having to be established in order to deal with the IPP prisoners. This can all be directly related to the inept decision making of POs when dealing with IPP prisoners and to say that POs are to supervise and rehabilitate offenders after or instead of a custodial sentence is actual a mockery to the IPP prisoners still currently detained as a direct result of their PO's and their recommendations.
2/ The definition of rehabilitation is the action of restoring someone to health or normal life through training and therapy after imprisonment, addiction, or illness.
3/ Your inquiry needs to seriously question why are PO's so adverse to the rehabilitation of IPP prisoners and not recommending release but keeping them incarcerated which is not the environment where a prisoner can possibly be rehabilitated in the very adverse pseudo environment of prison which is proved by the fact that if prisoner is already many years over tariff then they have been deemed not to have been rehabilitated and therefore keeping them detained is serving no purpose at all. It took media and public pressure for James Ward to be released from prison and for common sense to prevail.
4/ Let me give you three other very real case scenarios of the appalling misconduct of POs which results in IPP prisoners being barbarically detained and prevented from being rehabilitated and as such being restored to a normal life.
5/Steven Cummings now detained 22 months following a recall detained in HMP Forest Bank
Steven had false allegations made against him which resulted in him being recalled back to prison under this IPP law. Then with a series of a catalogue of systematic failings it has resulted in him being now detained for nearly 2 years because of 5 month delayed court cases (due to the very fact that he was in prison and couldn't get his legal aid sorted).
He was found not guilty of and no findings against him and then had a 5 month wait for a parole hearings but throughout all this time of being imprisoned he has done everything possible that was available to him remaining dignified and constructive within prison having undertaken awareness courses, dutifully worked in the prison jobs of which the employer wants to employ him upon release, actively engaged in supportive groups becoming a "listener / Samaritan", diversity groups, not had one ticking off, avoided any type of conflict within prison life and his Offender Manager Officer initially fully recommending release and his community Probation Officer initially recommending release but then 2 days before his Parole Hearing the community Probation Officer did not then recommend release referring to a Psychology report that recommended further detention for a Therapy Course(TC).
This suddenly gets recommended after already been detained for 17 months? And also please note in the words of Sam Gyimah (Under Secretary to the Justice Secretary) it is not necessary to undertake approved Offender Management Programme in order to achieve release.
Steven says he hasn't even seen this Psychologist, nobody has seen the so called original Psychology report and that it is very obvious to me the Probation Officer has fed this Psychologist information based on a general case scenario chat by the PO with a Psychologist because even in the extract of the Probation Officer's interpretation of this so called Psychology report (and not an actual report by the psychologist) it says that this is just a hypothesis. How can a Psychologist make a recommendation without seeing the client? It is now 6 months since his Parole Hearing and he is still sat in the same prison of which when I have investigated I know he would not qualify for this TC because of the criteria.
This TC is meant to be voluntary but the community Probation Officer said to him if you don't do it you won't get a Parole Hearing for 2 years which in effect is coercion. Even his prison lawyer can quite simply see through the Probation Officers' deceit saying that she is passing the book as she doesn't want to make the decision for his release so has referred him to this TC so that upon their assessment they will say he doesn't qualify for it so that this onus is then upon them for a decision for release. Please also bear in mind that there was a Psychologist that was sat in his Parole Hearing who said quite clearly I don't know what I am doing here I recommended his release one year ago, his lawyer says he doesn’t warrant TC and even his Offender Management Officer saying to his lawyer post the parole hearing she doesn’t see the need for TC.
So when a person has shown and done everything possible with every bit of evidence demonstrating his recommendation for release please don't tell me that the community PO cannot held to be account for obvious obstruction of releasing an IPP prisoner based on a so called report by a Psychologist which cannot be seen as valid if the Psychologist has not completed a psychology assessment. I have also met this Probation Officer of which I have directly witnessed her biased and lack of objectivity to the facts of the case yet you are up against authoritarian, obstinate people who are misusing their power in their recommendations for Parole hearings of IPP prisoners quite simply keeping them in prison using the excuse of any type of misbehaviour or psychological report as an excuse to keep them detained as oppose to exploring the most beneficial support in the community where they can be rehabilitated and integrated back into society.
6/ Ian Hartley 10 years over tariff detained at HMP Risley
Ian is an IPP prisoner who is now 10 years over tariff having served his time for the crime 10 years ago. Ian Hartley sent a letter very recently to his family and when you read his personal letter you feel the true sense of reality of his prison life with bullying, intimidation and violence within the prison, prisoners being beaten up, faces slashed and fear being an everyday part of his prison life alongside the drug problems and culture within prisons. Please refer to any prison inspectorate reports as to the real state of prisons. Ian is very close to suicide, crying out for help, he can't cope and any bit of hope that he has desperately clung on to now virtually gone. Very disturbing. Yet he has a very loving and caring family now also on the brink of despair.
He and the family, not the Probation Officer, has managed to a secure social services programme in the community that can help to rehabilitate him and his drug problem and take him away from the very environment that has caused this very harrowing and detrimental effect on him and Ian's parole hearing is due this November. Yet still his Probation Officer can come out with comments like "you need to walk away from any trouble in the prison" and it would have been the PO's recommendations that has resulted in him being now 10 years over tariff.
Please tell me what world are these Probation Officers living in apart from total ignorance, he is in prison, a confined environment, a dog eat dog world, nowhere to walk away to apart from his cell and no escaping from his fellow inmates where cruelly it is survival of the fittest, a pact like mentality and if you don't fit you’re the scapegoat, the next victim. This is the true situation that Probation Officers have to be aware of, the true reality of prison life not some idealism and then the Probation Officers keep these prisoners in the very environment that actively hinders any form of rehabilitation and for Ian this is now 10 years over tariff.
Please refer to the case of Ian Mordecai v Parole Board where it took a judge at judicial review to see common senses and reasoning of the plight of a suicidal prisoner.
7/ Danny Weatherson recalled back to prison within 3 months having already served 11 years over tariff
And yet another case of Danny who was young and only 18 yrs old when he committed his crimes with a 16 month tariff but it was another 11 years and 9 months later when he got released which was just very recently and he was told to spend 3 months in a hostel in Leeds before being allowed to return to home soil in Newcastle. Frustrated at being miles away from his family and without benefits Danny threw a chair which bounced and cracked a window. This resulted in him being recalled back to prison by his Probation Officer. This will now result in him being detained indeterminately again for possible many years all because he threw a chair. Please refer to this article on the following link
This is sheer rash diabolical and ludicrous decision making by the Probation Officers just at a time when Danny was adjusting to life on the outside and needed all the support he could get.
8/ There are over another 3,000 IPP prisoners currently in the same situation imprisoned, the vast majority still detained over tariff or following a recall and with an estimated original 8,000 prisoners who had this sentence passed on them there is potentially 5,000 prisoners who could quite simply be whimsically recalled due by their PO.
9/ Your inquiry has to investigate the conduct, mind-set and passiveness of PO's in the treatment of IPP prisoners who in reality barely see or review the prisoner then are using the excuse of dubious psychology / old reports and past history or any form of negative behaviour as an excuse to keep them detained not factoring in the pressure and adverse effect of prison that the prisoners are in as opposed to proactively seeking all the opportunities that are available in the community to enable rehabilitation.
It is a direct result of the PO's that has resulted in this horrendous situation that there are thousands of IPP's being held over tariff whereby the word rehabilitation does not even come into the PO's vocabulary but the PO's just recommending further detention based on some risk assessment or ritualistic recall which because of this IPP law they are able to get away with.
There are so many resources in the community such as NHS or Social Care Services which can offer drug and alcohol rehabilitation, counselling and psychiatric services, voluntary organisations that provide support services such as Shelter, Mind, Samaritans etc. yet are any of these explored by the PO when it comes to a recommendation for release and enabling someone to be integrated back into society and hence actually being rehabilitated.
10/ The POs need to be held to account as to why they are not recommending release rather than why they are keeping people detained.
11/ Nothing can justify a person having been detained 10 years over tariff which if this law had never existed and all of these prisoners had been on determinate or extended sentences they would have been released and their licence conditions ended many years ago.
12/ The Probation Services handling of IPP prisoners and their recalls is a national disgrace to the criminal justice system and a total abuse and misuse of tax payer’s money that needs to be fully addressed in your inquiry.
List of a life drifting away…
Aged 24, David got an 18 month IPP sentence but has been in jail since June 2005.
-At my first prison, HMP Durham, I was assessed to do core SOTP, but that jail does not do the course, so
-4 years later I was sent to HMP Acklington to do core SOTP. Acklington reassessed me and said I should do Adapted SOTP instead, but they don’t run it, so
-14 months later I was sent to HMP Whatton to do Adapted SOTP, but
-4 days later Whatton sent me back to Acklington.
-10 months later I was sent back to Whatton.
-4 months later at Whatton I was reassessed.
The prison said Acklington should not have sent me as I’m suitable for core SOTP, so I did core SOTP at Whatton, who then said I should do Therapeutic Prison then Extended SOTP, so they then sent me to -
-HMPs Lincoln, Leicester and Nottingham, who don’t do these programs.
-Well, Nottingham sent me to HMP Isle of Wight, who said I needed to be reassessed. Now they said I should do 1-1 work first, then Extended SOTP, but a riot a broke out on another wing, so some of us, not involved in the disturbance, were shipped off to HMP Woodhill, who don’t do these courses.
-9 months later, Woodhill asked HMP Hull if I could do 1-1 and Extended course there. Hull said yes, and promised me 1-1 and Extended, so into the ‘sweatbox’ once again for a trip to Hull.
- 4 months later in Hull, I’m reassessed again- seems after all they don’t do1-1 work but I am suitable for ‘Becoming New Me’, (basically I start programs all over again). In the meantime, Parole Board knock me back, saying do another course. But, after another little think, psychology tell me I’m not suitable for Becoming New Me, but could do a new course called Becoming New Me Plus.
-17 months later in their jail, HMP Hull promised they would only send me to a prison that does BNM+, but…
Here I am, in the 13th year of my incarceration, following an 18 month initial sentence, for an offence that carries a maximum of 10 years, recently dumped in another prison that doesn’t run the promised course, so here they first threatened to send me to a jail that does not run the course just in case it ever does! Or near complete the circle by sending me back to Whatton, or what exactly, and when, ever..?
Ministers, Prison psychologists, OMU, Parole Board, you know the terrible waste, loss, pain and damage your repeated incompetence and indifference cause, or care?
With reference to your letter from the HM Prison& Probation Services
-A bad law does not stop being a bad law no matter how often somebody like that prisons minister or MoJ clerk says "it's the law".
- Tell Mr Livington to stop hiding behind the Parole Board, a lazy, indifferent substitute to getting rid of a bad law. If it was worth abolishing IPP sentences in 2012, the need for the abandonment of the viciousness remains while all those who are not an actual danger are still suffering unnecessarily as their lives drift away.
-I'd like to hear someone justify the situation where if you committed an offence before the IPP abolished, an 18 month sentence can turn into 10 years plus, while if the offence committed in 2013 say, you do the 18 months and out...
...leading to a situation where one prisoner could see his jail mate released for a similar offence while he has to stay in for further years, inviting despair if not desolation and suicide. Where's the justice in that?
...leading to a situation where one prisoner could see his jail mate released for a similar offence while he has to stay in for further years, inviting despair if not desolation and suicide. Where's the justice in that?
-People show how much they care through what they do. This govt does nothing for IPPs because they don't care, even in terms of using existing powers under the LASPRO Act to improve the situation.
- The whole prison, prison psychology, probation service & parole board need to be examined to the extent they feed off each other's incompetence:
-A man I know is now completing 12 years following an initial 18 month sentence, it taking prison psychology 11 years to work out they had given him the wrong course, so their answer to the waste intrinsic in that was to give him another one to do (!) so while prison psychology proceeds untouched on its incompetent way and the parole board swishes out of the hearing thinking it's done a good job in accepting their recommendation, the prisoner who hoped for a couple of hours his ongoing nightmare might be at an end is shoved back into the despair and desolation for another 18 months, making 14 years, including the 6 months on remand, assuming their eminences relent next time.
Clearly he committed the wrong offence where I read of a murderer getting out after ten, and I won't be told comparisons are not valid where justice is supposed to be transparent and fair to the victim, society and offender - IPP leaves out the third so they can drink deep of their despair for years and years and years behind concrete and steel.
-I accuse the parole board in the above case, despite properly calling IPP ‘unjust’, of being more interested in saving themselves from possible criticism, of conniving with incompetent prison psychology depts., who couldn’t even make up their minds what course he should do for over a decade, and then getting it wrong, it being easier to use their power to keep someone locked up further - if psychology hadn't been able to sort themselves out in over a decade, why should the prisoner be the only one to suffer the consequences of their lazy incompetence? Anyway, many courses are now discredited, but they will go on their blinkered way while the man I have befriended continues to see the best years of his life trashed, wasted, gone forever.
Sorry for the delay in my review of the letter you had back from HM Prison and Probation service but finally I have got round to itI must say the first thing that strikes me with this reply is how they actually evade from telling youexactly what they have done, merely giving you a vague general response. Anyway as you asked for people to give you their thoughts on HM Prison and Probation Services reply I have given you my thoughts below on each of their points.
Working through in order of their bullet points:-
How are they exactly managing to divert recall cases away from the parole board? I remember vaguely there being the introduction of a new group to process certain recalls but if I was reply to this letter I would want to challenge them on how they are achieving this. I know of someone who is on an extended sentence and was recalled back in October 2016 and he still has not had his recall reviewed by the parole board. It has now been pencilled in for January 2018 some 15months after his recall! Although he is not an IPP it is outrages to thing this man has been in prison all that time and hasn’t had his recall rev
Enhanced case Management Who is doing this enhanced case management and how has it been initiated? Who oversees it and how have they allocated the extra resources to achieve this?
Central Case reviews on over tariff IPPs I would want to know who has local responsibility for this, as I assume it will be being done by the holding prison. I would suspect it would be down to ‘wing offender managers’, if so how are they ensuring that this work is done? Who is reviewing and who actions the work and is there any contact made with the prisoner to ensure they are aware of the work that is going on.
Swifter Parole reviews based on just the papers is something that we are aware of, so I see no need to attack this statement. This may speed up the process for some but only of course when the paperwork is all in order which it frequently is not as we know.
Increase interventions and programs.
How are they achieving this as currently the regimes are extremely tight. Although staff numbers have gone up SLIGHTLY the regimes are frequently interrupted, this is done for ‘operational reasons’ and in most cases is simply down to staff shortages resulting in no movement to activities.
A new pilot approach While it’s wonderful to hear of new approaches it would be good to know how they are achieving this. They state a closer working relationship with the parole board is being achieved with complex IPP causes. Could they not clarify their definition of complex? Also how are they achieving this? Are the parole board now able to take action against offender managers that fail repeatedly to get risk assessments done on time? Do they now fine probation offices when they repeatedly fail to get risk assessments and Oasys reports done for parole hearings?
Although I am delighted to hear that cases are getting reviewed and that IPP/DPP prisoners are being released and progressing to open conditioned I am still extremely concerned about the high level of IPP prisoners being recalled for minor infractions of very tough licence.
I am also concerned about the high level of IPP prisoners being progressed to approved premises which goes against the prison instruction which makes it clear that they should not be sent to such a place. As IPP’s need to demonstrate that they have reduced their perceived risk to the public in the first place and so they are not released as high risk which removes the need for them taking up valuable places at AP hostels.
The latest figures
Again it is good to see that people are progressing but the statistical information they haven’t supplied is that in the past year according to the Offender Management Statistics Bulletin, England and Wales published on the 27 April 2017 the recalled IPP population has increased by 26% (to 711).
This is frightening because it means that we could end up with IPP’s still in our prisons after another ten years have passed. This sentence needs to be retrospectively removed or an approach which changes the long term outcome to remove human beings from a sentence which can hold them indefinitely for merely breaching a minor condition of their licence. This is a sentence which has the potential to stay with a prisoner to their death and that has already been the case for an ever increasing number as they lose all hope.
We need to progress these prisoners off this sentence in order to give them hope and help improve their mental wellbeing. Over tariff IPP’s need to see an end and as the prison population is now so high this would be an ideal opportunity to progress over tariff IPP’s onto a fixed term licence, rather than them having to ask for it to be removed after ten years and also make sure that if recalled they are ALL eligible for the Fixed term recall unless they are facing new charges.
We cannot hold people in prison potentially indefinitely for minor infractions of their licence.
Hope this helps
Daniel Joseph was jailed for 11 years ago for stealing just £1.50 cannot persuade authorities he's safe to be freed because his IQ is too low to get through rehabilitation courses.
- Daniel Joseph Sayce was locked up for public protection in 2006
- His IQ is so low that he can't manage rehabilitation courses in jail - and that means he can't persuade the authorities it is safe to release him
- He will be freed if he can convince Parole Board he's safe to live in community
A mugger who has spent 11 years behind bars after stealing just £1.50 is trapped in the prison system, a court has heard.Daniel Joseph Sayce was still a teenager when he was locked up indefinitely for public protection in 2006.His sentence, which is very similar to a life term, means he will only ever be freed if he can convince the Parole Board he is safe to live in the community.Judge Adele Williams, summarising a prison report, said: 'His IQ is too low for him to be suitable for courses, which means his risk level is unchanged.'
The judge who jailed him had no choice at the time but to impose an indefinite sentence. That was because he had previous convictions for robbery and was therefore automatically considered a 'dangerous offender'. His minimum term was set at just 14-and-a-half months, and that expired in 2007.But he remains in jail today, and London's Criminal Appeal Court heard the level of 'risk' he is believed to pose has not changed.
The judge who jailed him had no choice at the time but to impose an indefinite sentence That was because he had previous convictions for robbery and was therefore automatically considered a 'dangerous offender'.His minimum term was set at just 14-and-a-half months, and that expired in 2007.But he remains in jail today, and London's Criminal Appeal Court heard the level of 'risk' he is believed to pose has not changed.
Letter from David Lidington
I received a reply but it was not from David Lidington, it was from a case worker. The name is unclear it has not been printed it is a signature. And yes the content is pretty much the same. It is serveral pages long. I will ask a friend to scan it for me so i can send it to you.
It explains that it is the parole boards decision whether he is allowed to be released or not and explains the things they take into consideration when deciding.
I haven't written to anyone from the parole board, and to be quite honest it never crossed my mind. Thank you for the names it's a fantastic idea considering it is up to them whether he is released or not. So yes please may i have their email addresses.
And i wasn't aware that i could write to the Church of England, nor the Queen. I will write to anyone and everyone if it will help him to be released he is in there 9 years after his tariff, and with another knock back no doubt nearing at his hearing coming uip i need to do all i can.
I hope as you said it may encourage others to put pen to paper, or indeed fight for their loved ones rights where they haven't tried yet for fear of it getting no where.
Thank you very much katherine!
Investigation into the Parole Board -
The unjust nature of being over tariff and recalled. The suffering and the deaths this sentenced has caused .
I'm sure we all understand it may take some time if we have a implement a law but there nothing wrong putting it in place as a back up, why not have backup! We can’t keep allowing mistakes after mistakes at the cost of others mental health, and life Deadline is Friday 17 November ,You have not got long.
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