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Wednesday, 4 April 2018

1. A letter to the Justice Minister.Its Time for Change, but please make the changes fairer for all Post IPPs. 2. The Worboys fiasco shows the absurdity of indeterminate sentences.

A Letter to the Justice Minister

Many I’m sure will have heard the judgement by the High Court regarding the decision made by the Parole Board on a recent high profile case. I cannot help but be concerned that a kneejerk reaction by Mr Gauke could worsen the three main issues outlined in the Unintended Consequences thematic review written by HM Inspectorate of Prisons in November 2016.
I was shocked by the High Court’s decision but I do not wish to challenge the reasons for it as their findings at least in part seem sound. For one the need for a more transparent process seems sensible, rule 25 does seem unnecessary when it would be straight forward to mitigate concerns over what should be disclosed and what should not. It also seemed unusual that release straight from a category A prison had been granted and indeed Mr Gauke remarked in parliament “it is a rare event”.
In my view and that of a growing number of people there is a fundamental problem with the Parole Board process and one that the judicial review was not at liberty to address. Currently the parole process for a post sentenced IPP prisoner is like having to go through another trial in court. It after all is a process which decides on whether they are detained still further or not. The onus is still on the prisoner to demonstrate that they have lowered their perceived risk, so for those with money it would seem totally normal to seek the best legal direction and argument to prove this point. For those who don’t have capital it would seem grossly unfair and I would argue unjust. Now the justice secretary is in the spotlight I’m concerned that he may make changes that could further slow Parole Board proceedings down. He currently appears to be putting an emphasis on them to seek methodically further information from all other agencies to probe still further into prisoners possible offending, a point raised as a failure in the judicial review as its within the Parole Boards remit. This I feel will take more of the Parole Boards resources, not forgetting the cost this puts still further on the public purse by potentially holding prisoners for longer when they could have been released sooner. It seems foolhardy to put further pressure on the Parole Board; their job dealing with ‘perceived risk’ is difficult enough as it is without further unnecessary interference. He needs to make the decision process clearer for them not more complicated.

To me the system needs a clear decisive change which makes the process fairer and simpler; a change that has already been requested but is now clearly needed more than ever.  The burden of proof needs to be removed from the prisoner where the prisoner is Post Tariff; the test for release needs to be changed so that the argument for the continued detention is made by the state. It should not be down to the prisoner to demonstrate they are no longer a risk, this only seems fair if the prisoner is Pre Tariff.  It should be the Probation service that needs to demonstrate why the prisoner needs to be held Post tariff. After all it is the tax payer’s money that is being used to hold them and they need to demonstrate why the prisoner still needs to remain in custody.

In this particular case it would have certainly made it clearer for the Parole Board to make a decision. They wouldn’t have needed anything from the prisoner, the argument would have come from the Probation service and they would have presented a case based on the facts as they see them. The Parole Board’s focus would be in one direction, they could then make a judgement on what they deem this demonstrates regarding the individual’s perceived danger, cutting out the need for the prisoner to even participate if they didn’t wish to do so. Whether they would have come to a different decision isn’t worth speculating but would the prisoner spend thousands on private psychologists assessments if the onus wasn’t on him to demonstrate that his risk had been lowered?  It would also make it a fairer process for the many prisoners that have no financial means and rely on minimal legal representation.
Is it not the job of the Parole Board to focus primarily on whether the prisoner is still a risk after the punitive side of the sentence has been completed, not to instead have its remit stretched still further to robustly sift through pages of incomplete and untested data which would completely undermine the creditability of any normal court process and challenge the validity of any perceived risk calculation process? Surely it would be better for information to come from one source, that being the prison and probation service who have been responsible for the prisoner during their entire time within the justice system and have access to all relevant information regarding their conviction, pre-sentence information and all the work and custodial reports during their incarceration.
Mr Gauke was kind enough to mention the facts regarding the backlog of IPP sentenced prisoners, acknowledging that the Parole Board although had been making progress with the backlog, that it was still a significant problem. I agree with him, over three thousand IPP’s still in prison sounds significant to me too. He makes it clear that they need to be properly assessed and I would hope he means within that remark that they are also fairly assessed.

I am of course glad that Mr Gauke appreciates the scale of the IPP problem but he needs to make adjustments to ensure the system is fair to all, including those at its mercy. It shouldn’t be down to the prisoner to prove that they are no longer a danger, the argument as to whether detention is still necessary should instead lie on the state to prove.


The Worboys fiasco shows the absurdity of indeterminate sentences

IPPs were officially abandoned in 2012 – so why are thousands of prisoners still serving time under it? It could be said that Hardwick has become the final victim of indeterminate sentences for public protection, a form of sentencing so discredited that it was rejected six years ago by the European court of justice. Despite this, more than 3,000 people are still serving IPPs (imprisonment for public protection) – the most notorious of whom is Worboy

What is the Parole Board?

The Parole Board is an independent body that carries out risk assessments on prisoners to deterne whether they can be safely released into the community.It manages the early release of prisoners serving fixed-length sentences of four years or more; the release of prisoners who are serving life sentences or indeterminate sentences for public protection; and the re-release of prisoners who have been given life or indeterminate sentences and were then re-imprisoned.Some prisoners
seeking release may have to attend a hearing before Parole Board members.Up to three
 members of a panel will decide whether to release the prisoner based on a file of documents including information on the inmate’s behaviour in prison, their plans once released and risk of committing further crimes. Medical, psychiatric and psychological evidence can also be heard.
As well as the prisoner, a solicitor, psychologist and witnesses could attend. The victim of the prisoner’s offences may also be present.The Parole Board has 234 members who make the assessments and decisions and employs 120 members of staff to support them.

Sure enough, Worboys did eventually admit his guilt, did his courses and was a “model” prisoner. Indeed, the Parole Board could argue that it had exercised caution in keeping him two years longer than his minimum tariff.
Hardwick, an effective former chief inspector of prisons, is a decent man who has always placed the issue of fairness at the heart of his work. As both head of the Parole Board and chief inspector of prisons he consistently condemned IPP as unjust.
At the other extreme from Worboys, and equally problematic, are prisoners with tariffs of two years or less for minor crimes who were given IPP sentences – usually because of their chaotic lives. IPP was ended as far back as 2008 for prisoners serving less than two years, but in 2017 more than 750 prisoners were still locked up on IPPs with tariffs of less than two years.
Drug addict Charlotte Nokes was 30 when she was sentenced to a minimum of 16 months in prison and given an IPP. She had been begging outside a corner shop and when a woman refused to give her money she brought out a knife. She did not attempt to stab the woman but she did terrify her. Nine years later, in July 2016, she died in prison.

James Ward was jailed for 10 months but spent 11 years in jail after being given an IPP for setting fire to his bed. His family had made repeated pleas to the Parole Board to release him on the grounds of his repeated self-harm and mental health problems, but their requests were refused. When the then justice secretary Kenneth Clarke scrapped IPPs in 2012, he called them a “stain” on the judicial system.

How can thousands of prisoners still be serving time under a sentence long vanquished? Those who pose no threat, and should have been free long ago, must be released instantly. Those who have not served their tariff should do so knowing that, with good behaviour, they will be released when it is up. As for Worboys, he should be tried for the crimes he is alleged to be guilty of, and if convicted appropriately, resentenced (though he would now argue it’s impossible for him to get a fair hearing). Indeterminate sentencing never had a place in a democracy.

Although indeterminate sentences were withdrawn six years ago, they are still blighting thousands of lives in England and Wales. It is bitterly ironic that a sentence the chair of the Parole Board regarded as unjust has been responsible for one more major injustice – his sacking.

Eric Allison is the Guardian’s prisons correspondent. Simon Hattenstone is a Guardian writer
Footnote: In fact Hardwick could appoint the panel but thereafter had no powers to intervene or influence the decision.


The CSJ's Criminal Justice. What have we learned from Worboy's case Secrecy  is undermining and hampering services and criminal justice system

If nothing else is learnt from the we need less secrecy across the criminal justice system generally, There is a bias against sharing information even with public bodies ,never mind the public. hampering  justice. It must change .In the wake of the Worboys judgment, a Government committed to better public services should reboot the drive for transparency. It may come at a short-term cost – in exposing areas of weakness, inefficiency or even incompetence – but the longer-term prize is worth having: more effective public services that are so vital for the poorest and most vulnerable in Britain today Rory Geoghegan

Prison Safety and the Future of Probation
As part of our work on prison safety we are actively seeking, via email, short stories from the families of prisoners and prison officers describing the impact that the current situation in our prisons has on them. Our work on the Future of Probation continues. Probation Inspectors
We are offering these posts on a three-year secondment or a three-year fixed term contract. We may be able to offer a permanent contract after three years.
If seconded, remuneration (salary and any taxable allowances), pay progression and employment terms & conditions will be the same as currently received from the seconding employer.
The salary for those joining us on a fixed term contract will be £42,879.
Anyone subsequently joining us on a permanent contract who is a new civil servant will join on a salary of £42,879.

We seek competencies often found at broadly the level of Senior Managers/Divisional Managers (in CRCs and NPS), Youth Offending Managers, Senior Managers/Governor grades in the Prison Service, and psychologists or equivalent.
This is an opportunity to work in a highly professional organisation. As an independent inspectorate, we are ambitious to make the best possible difference to the quality of youth offending and probation services in England and Wales. It is important to the public, to victims and to those who commit crime that these services are as effective and efficient as possible.

Who are we? HM Inspectorate of Probation is an independent Inspectorate, funded by the Ministry of Justice, and reporting directly to the Secretary of State on the effectiveness of work with adults, children and young people who have offended aimed at reducing reoffending and protecting the public. Our Corporate Plan sets out our work for the next year, as agreed between the Justice Secretary & HM Chief Inspector.

Who are we looking for? We are now recruiting for HM Inspectors, and we warmly welcome applications from minority ethnic and/or Welsh speaking candidates. The option of part‑time or jobshare contracts can be discussed individually.
All the posts we offer will be conditional upon evidence from references and various statutory checks, including an Enhanced check with the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).
Is this for you? HM Inspectors (HMIs) play a key role in our adult and youth offending inspections.  As an Inspector you will lead inspections in a designated sector [National Probation Service, Community Rehabilitation Companies, Youth Offending Teams] and be responsible for the assessment of the organisation being inspected, including making recommendations for the rating they receive.

HMIs are responsible for the planning, fieldwork and preparation of the report for each inspection and are accountable for the judgements, rating, grading and recommendations arising from the inspection.
Proven strong relationship-building skills, at a senior management level, as well as the ability to produce clear well written reports to tight deadlines are essential for this role. You will also need to have experience of assessing the quality of work being delivered to those who have offended, a good level of IT skills, and the personal resilience and stamina to spend regular periods of time away from home.

How do we select? You must complete your application by no later than 23:55 on Friday 13 April 2018. We will invite short listed candidates to an Assessment Centre to be held during the week commencing 28 May 2018 – you must be available to attend on one of the assessment centre days. Candidates who are successful at the assessment centre will then be invited to interview. Interviews will be held during the week commencing 18 June 2018. You must be available to attend on one of the interview days. Further information on the structure and expectations of our assessment process will be sent to candidates who are successful through the application sift stage.

Further information:
If you would like to discuss these posts, please contact our office on 0161 240 5336 and we will direct you to an appropriate person to speak to. We would ask that you please read the application information thoroughly first.
We are committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all staff. We will not discriminate on grounds of gender, ethnic origin, disability, sexual orientation, faith or any other factor not relevant to a person’s work. To apply for this job  following URL: →


"Please can you support me as your constituent and write to the Justice Minister.

The RT Honourable David Gauke, urging him to ensure that the new appointee to replace Nick Hardwick (who has recently resigned as chairman of the parole board), is someone that who prioritises the indeterminate sentence for the protection of the public (IPP).

We need a Chair of the Parole who understands that the need for immediate action on IPP sentences - a system that left many prisoners unable to get on with their life.

Please let me know. The IPP Sentence has to be a priority." Finally click and send in link Https://

Sean Dougall, I've sent the following to my MP:

Urge the Ministry of Justice to Prioritise the Review of those Serving "IPP" Prison Sentences

Dear Mr. Harper,

As a constituent in the Forest of Dean, I am writing to gain your support in urging the Ministry of Justice to Prioritise the Review of those Serving "IPP" Prison Sentences.

I trust that you will seriously consider what I have to say and write to the Justice Minister, The R.H. David Gauke M.P., urging him to review the legal and moral grounds for the continued imprisonment of those with this type of Sentence.

I am supporting the Petition of the Family of Shaun Lloyd ( which, at the time of writing, has 43,526 signatures.

The MoJ acknowledges that IPP sentencing went far beyond what the, then (2003), Labour Government intended. It acknowledges here - - that IPP hasn't worked.

David Blunkett M.P. is credited with introducing IPP in the CJA 2003 after being introduced to the idea in the USA. It failed there, even whilst it was being put into Law here in England & Wales.

IPPs were "...designed to protect the public from serious offenders whose crimes did not merit a life sentence." So what were Judges thinking of by giving out Tariffs measured in months or just a couple of years to "serious offenders"?

Shaun Lloyd is one of many hundreds, even a few thousand men that are incarcerated well beyond the correct period of detention for their crimes. Their sentence requires that they complete courses/targets that the Prison Service can't provide.

Society, in general, is unaware of these men and their families' predicaments and the subsequent damage that it does TOO Society! It's an oxymoron to say that IPP has a deterrent effect, it's a contributor to further crime!

I'm supporting this Petition as I have seen, first hand, how IPP destroys people rather than rehabilitate. Individuals like Shaun Lloyd should have their sentences reviewed now!

I voted for you Mr. Harper, I put my faith in you to represent my views on this subject.

I look forward to your considered response.


I think the damage is so bad now it will never, never! be the same again. I really cannot see how they are going to bring about positive change. It continues to get worse and deliberate to cause confusion.


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