1 the National Newspaper for Prisoners & Detainees A not for profit publication / ISSN / Issue No. 181 / July 2014 / An average of 61,000 copies distributed monthly - Independently verified by the Audit Bureau of Circulations plus over 400,000 monthly online readership - Independently verified using SMARTER STATS Help for Irish prisoners worldwide Father Gerry McFlynn Manager of the Irish Council for Prisoners Overseas (ICPO) writes page How to achieve your right to be forgotten Offenders can now have personal information removed from the internet writes John O Connor page May mayhem Keith Rose examines the many knee-jerk reactions of Chris Grayling page INSIDE MOVIES SUPPLEMENT LIFER LOSES CASE BUT WINS NEW GUIDANCE FOR ALL Lifer Kevin Nunn has lost the latest round of a legal battle at the Supreme Court to force police to hand over exhibits which lawyers believe could clear his name Louise Shorter - Inside Justice Describing the Supreme Court judgment as disappointing, campaigners welcome the new Attorney General s Guideline, set out in the judgment, which directs the police to co-operate with investigations into claims of innocence post-conviction and a new duty on the body which has the power to refer cases back to the Appeal Court, the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC). Speaking outside the court, James Saunders, representing Mr Nunn, said, this judgment reverses a position that the CCRC has taken many times when refusing to carry out new scientific tests on the grounds that they are speculative. The CCRC has historically taken the view that, until test results have been obtained, it does not have any fresh evidence that could support a reference to the Court of Appeal, as is its purpose under the Criminal Appeal Act Without the evidence, the CCRC has felt unable to take up the case. Catch 22. Victor Nealon, whose wrongful conviction was quashed in 2013, found himself in this Catch 22 for 10 years while the CCRC refused to commission new forensic tests. Following his eventual release, the CCRC s Chairman Richard Foster apologised to Mr Nealon for the failings at the Commission in relation to his case. The apology cut little ice with the Ministry of Justice however which, also last month, refused his application for any financial compensation for his lost years. Kevin Nunn s sister, Brigitte Butcher, said, We will never give up our fight to clear Kevin s name. All he wants is for the police to allow scientists to carry out new work which could show once and for all who is responsible for this murder. An application will now go to the CCRC asking the Commission to use its powers to force the police to release the exhibits. Classic miscarriage of justice TV shows go live page 35 Hamlet Adam Trigg Nathan Whitfield playing Guildenstern in Hiraeth Artistic Production presentation of William Shakespeare s Hamlet. The play is directed by Zoe Ford and Hamlet is played by Adam Lawrence. Riverside Studios stage is set as a contemporary prison with a real air of menace from its dark opening to its violent ending. Rachel Billington talks to Nathan on page 19 C cm The country s leading experts in serious, complex and high profile cases. We have represented clients on some of the most complex and high profile crime and appeals cases in recent years including: - R v Barry George (Jill Dando case), R v Levi Bellfield (Milly Dowler case) We are experts in all areas of crime including. Rape, Robbery, Murder, Fraud, Proceeds of Crime, Drug Matters, Burglary, Assault Dedicated prison law hotline: All other enquiries: Crime, Appeals Prison Law Extradition Specialising in cases before the Court of Appeal and the CCRC. POCA Years of experience in Proceeds of Crime Applications Manchester Office: London Office: Services Offered Under Legal Aid Oral Hearings IPP and Lifer Post Tariff Reviews Independent Adjudication Sentence Calculation Re-call 13 St John Street, Manchester, M3 4DQ 15 Old Bailey, London, EC4M 7EF Website: Fixed Fees (from ) HDC and Appeals Re-cat Reviews Pre-tariff Lifer & IPP Reviews ROTL Sentence Plan Access to Offending Behavioural Work Video link: Challenging Licence Conditions Nationwide service Legal advice and assistance at any stage European Arrest Warrant (EAW) experience International extradition proceedings Other Services Medical Negligence Personal Injury Family Wills where lients atter Registered with EMAP
2 2 Mailbag If you would like to contribute to Mailbag, please send your letters (including your name, number and prison) to Mailbag, Inside Time, Botley Mills, Botley, Southampton, Hampshire SO30 2GB. Insidetime July 2014 insidetime a voice for prisoners since 1990 the national newspaper for prisoners published by Inside Time Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of The New Bridge Foundation, founded in 1956 to create links between the offender and the community. Inside Time is wholly responsible for its editorial content. Comments or complaints should be directed to the Managing Editor and not to New Bridge. 4 a not profit publication The Editorial Team Rachel Billington OBE Novelist and Journalist John Roberts Operations Director and Company Secretary Correspondence Board of Directors Trevor Grove - Former Editor Sunday Telegraph, Journalist, Writer and serving Magistrate. John Carter - Former international healthcare company Vice-President. Geoff Hughes - Former Governor, Belmarsh prison. Eric McGraw - Former Director, New Bridge ( ) and founder of Inside Time in John D Roberts - Former Company Chairman and Managing Director employing ex-offenders. Louise Shorter - Former producer, BBC Rough Justice programme. Alistair ah. E. Smith B.Sc F.C.A. a - Chartered Accountant, not profit Trustee and Treasurer, not profit New Bridge Foundation. 4 service Eric McGraw Author and Managing Editor Noel Smith Writer and former prisoner Inside Time, Botley Mills, Botley, Southampton, Hampshire SO30 2GB. Accounts & Admin: Inside Time, P.O.Box 251, Hedge End, Hampshire SO30 4XJ / Subscribe 4 publication 4 a not profit organisation Editorial Assistants Lucy Forde - Former prisoner education mentor Paul Sullivan - Former prisoner Administration Assistant Sonia Miah Layout & Design Colin Matthews If you wish to reproduce or publish any of the content from in Inside Time, you should first contact us for written permission. Full terms & conditions can be found on the website. Inside Time is distributed free of charge throughout the UK prison estate. It is available to other readers via a postal subscription service. ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION CHARGES 35 for single copies to UK addresses plus 10 p.a. for each additional copy to the same address. Charities and Volunteers (UK only) 25 p.a. for a single copy Overseas Subscriptions rates will be 48 p.a. for Europe and 58 for the Rest of the World both plus 20 p.a. for each additional copy going to the same overseas address. An absolute disaster as Justice Secretary... IAN KENNEDY - HMP WAKEFIELD The latest edict to emanate from Chris Grayling, the Justice Secretary, just defies belief! It is quite clear to anyone with one iota of intelligence that this man has totally taken leave of his senses. To require already overcrowded prisons to make space for yet more prisoners is just ridiculous. Given the ferocity of the staffing and budget cuts over the past 4 years, just how does he suppose prisons will be able to run effective and efficient regimes? His plan to offer short-term contracts to staff that were made redundant by HMPS is a non-starter. Just who in their right mind would want to take up this offer, unless there is a massive pay-out for doing it and where does that fit in with budget cuts and savings? It just goes to show that too many staff were made redundant in the first place. I am of the firm opinion that Chris Grayling has got a hidden agenda and is hell-bent on destabilising the whole prison system. When everything is burning and there are serious disturbances erupting throughout the prison system he cannot say I m not to blame as various bodies have warned him of the folly of his plans. As far as I m concerned Grayling is an absolute disaster as Justice Secretary. Policy failure page 11 Cells too small... JOHN PALMER - HMP CHANNINGS WOOD What you read in this letter applies only to prisoners who were in prison prior to the 1st of November 2013, i.e. prior to the newly implemented IEP scheme under PSI 30/2013. On December 20th 2013 I was downgraded from Enhanced to Standard. I was not informed of this officially, I found out through talking to an officer in general conversation. This was then confirmed by the NOMIS system. An official notice was eventually placed under my door which informed that an IEP review had taken place and that I had been downgraded from Enhanced to Standard. The reasons given were for not doing any sentence plan work and not attending appointments to discuss. I was eventually informed that my review had been conducted under the new IEP scheme and that I had been referred for review by my Offender Supervisor, though the decision to downgrade me was on the instruction of a governor grade. Though I was told that I had the right to appeal, no actual appeal form was given to me and neither does the IEP notification form allow a prisoner to lodge an appeal, it simply informs the prisoner of the right to appeal. Knowing that the said review was illegal, I then submitted a COMP1 form asking when my last review (under the old system - PSI 11/2011) had taken place as I intended to lodge an appeal. Following the response to my COMP1 form, I submitted a Judicial Review to the High Court. The basis of my claim was that - 1) No existing prisoner could be transferred to the new scheme until a final review had taken On Thames wing at HMP Channings Wood place under PSI 11/2011. Blavo Nov 2012_Blavo Dec 2008 red border SHADOW.qxd 13/11/ :42 Page 1 many prisoners are held two to a single cell, as I have been myself for months in the past. The cells are 9 foot 8 inches long, 6 foot 7 inches wide and 7 foot 6 inches high with both a toilet and washbasin in the cell, together with bunk beds. Both prisoners must share one table and one chair. Confining two prisoners in these single occupancy cells violates Article 3 of the ECHR. The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture has ruled that the minimum space required by each prisoner is four square metres in each cell. Put simply, the cells are three feet too short to accommodate two prisoners, quite apart from the fact that the Convention requires each prisoner to have privacy where he cannot be seen or overheard by another prisoner. 2) No prisoner could be transferred onto the new scheme until a compact had been signed by an officer and the prisoner himself (this is a mandatory requirement under PSI 30/ ) Even when transferred onto the new scheme a review takes place only when a second warning has been issued (there is a mandatory requirement for two warnings to be issued and that it is the second warning which triggers the review) if no second warning is issued then no review can legally take place (unless it is for an offence of a serious nature as is also the case under the old system). ON YOUR SIDE Being on your side is one thing. Fighting your corner is another. We do both. Miscarriage of Justice experts Defending false allegations Crown Court advocacy CCRC applications Prison law specialists Parole applications IPP and Lifer reviews Adjudications Recalls Sentence progression We offer Legal Aid and Fixed Fees along with a nationwide service. For more information contact us using the details below. Changing the way you see lawyers Priory Place, Doncaster, DN1 1BP Led by Mark Newby Solicitor Advocate with a relentless record of quashing convictions. Illegal to take my Enhanced status... PAUL BLACK - HMP WYMOTT 4) No appeal form was provided to me following the IEP review even though the review notification form clearly states you have the right to appeal. 5) Failing to allow me to make my own representations under PSI 30/2013 (again, this is a mandatory requirement). Following correspondence from my TSOL to my wing custody manager, I discussed the contents of their letter and their proposed draft order to settle my claim but I refused to sign it and stated the reasons why - the reason being my Enhanced status had been restored in accordance with PSI 30/2013 and this was illegal. And also that any restoration of my Enhanced status has to be under PSI 11/ as it was at the material time. A further COMP1 was submitted indicating further legal action by way of another Judicial Review or by way of an application direct to the Courts to continue with proceedings. That COMP1 has now been returned and affirms that my Enhanced status is indeed restored to me under PSI 11/2011 and that any future issues regarding my IEP level will be dealt with in accordance with PSI 11/2011 until December 2014 when my annual review takes place. If there are any prisoners who have found themselves in the same situation then they should take legal action to resolve the matter. A simple letter to the TSOL setting out your claim issues ought to resolve the matter, or, alternatively, seek advice from a solicitor. Get yourself a copy of PSI 30/2013 and read it - this will be to your benefit. Should anyone with a solicitor wish to seek full details of my claim, it can be found under claim number: co/1217/2014 issued in the High Court of Justice, Manchester, on the 19th of March Don t let them downgrade you illegally. 19 John Street LONDON WC1N 2DL (24hrs) Members of the Association of Prison Lawyers Prison Law experts in: Adjudications IPP Parole Recall Lifer Reviews HDC Categorisation We also have specialists in: Crime Serious Fraud Extradition Immigration Judicial Review Housing Family Mental Health Law Employment Welfare Benefits Registered with EMAP
3 Insidetime July 2014 Mailbag If you would like to contribute to Mailbag, please send your letters (including your name, number and prison) to Mailbag, Inside Time, Botley Mills, Botley, Southampton, Hampshire SO30 2GB. 3 Star Letter of the Month Congratulations and a 25 cash prize for this month s Star Letter. No education, no rehabilitation... MARK WATLING - HMP THE MOUNT It was nice to see The Times making seemingly positive comments about the need for better education in prisons. At the moment the majority of the qualifications offered have no bearing on the outside world and are hardly worth the crap paper they are so unconvincingly printed on. I myself would like to do an Open University course but have been told I can only do 60 credits a year, amounting to a 6 year Bachelors Degree. When I stated that I would order the course via my home address so I could complete the course in 3 years, I was met with a barrage of excuses as to why I cannot do that, all except the one that seems most pertinent, which is that the prison won t receive a nice big cheque from the OU. The fact that the prison system will allow prisoners to do menial labour for 10 or 20 per week which will never help anyone get a job when they leave prison, but won t provide a penny for prisoners doing worldwide recognised qualifications that virtually guarantee a fulfilling career in something that they are interested in, illustrates the fact that prisons are not interested in rehabilitation and actually want you to return to prison. HMP Commando... NAME SUPPLIED - HMP DRAKE HALL Can anyone tell me how much extra the prison service has had to pay for prison clothing, footwear, underwear and bedding since the new policies regarding hand-ins and IEP status were implemented? And how are prison workshops managing to increase production of these items to meet the higher demand? Or are prisons simply telling inmates to go without as stocks have been used up? Perhaps we should have a day of protest where we all walk around naked!? aprisoner The aprisoner service enables family, friends, solicitors and other organisations to send messages to prisoners from any computer. It s faster than 1st class post and costs less than a 2nd class stamp! Available in 98% of UK prisons. Smartphone App coming Soon! If you would like to know more call: for further details or visit: Leave the children alone... STEVEN RELF - HMP WHATTON Alfred Hitchcock, the notable film director, is often quoted as saying that the most frightening thing he ever saw was a classroom full of children receiving religious education. If he were alive today I would love to hear what he d make of the Birmingham schools controversy. What may or may not have been said and done in these schools is the subject of widely differing accounts. Credit must be given to OFSTED as the whole sorry affair was very complicated and deeply worrying. The cries of witch-hunt and Islamaphobia were as loud as they were predictable but I maintain that such cries are an affront to the good people of this country and the furore surrounding this matter is entirely justified. The roll of charges revealed in the OFSTED Registered with EMAP investigation make for grim reading: children were separated by gender in the classrooms, told that the drawing of pictures and the playing of musical instruments are evil acts, and they were taught a type of creationism as if it were scientific fact and told that evolution is a lie because it has the word theory in its title. Children were banned from singing Christmas carols or sending Christmas cards or putting on nativity plays. Dance lessons and swimming classes were deemed inappropriate for young people, as was any kind of physical contact between boy and girl. And, incredibly, the children were taught that the stoning to death of homosexuals and apostates is a JUST form of punishment. As if it wasn t bad enough that all this was happening in a British classroom in the 21st century, the single most depressing feature to arise out of this mess is the constant labelling of the children in solely religious terms. I can think of nothing more detrimental to a child s education than to be labelled as a Christian child, a Muslim child, or a Jewish child. Anyone with a modicum of sense should be appalled by the labelling of children in this way. No child was ever born believing in Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. It is apparent that the goings-on in these schools are the inevitable outcome of a philosophy that teaches my god is bigger than your god or our faith is better than your faith. The classroom should remain free of this nonsense; religion should have no part to play in our education system. You don t need religious faith to make the right choices in life. The story of religion is one of division and not unity and no one should be subjected to such a narrative until they are old enough to make up their own mind. Contents Mailbag... pages Newsround... pages Website Comments... page Diary... pages Prisons and Probation Ombudsman... page The Irish Council for Prisoners Overseas... page Parole... pages Education... pages Comment... pages Inside Justice... page Short Story... page 36 The Empire Strikes Book... Wellbeing... page Thought for the Day... page 38 Terry Waite s monthly column... Family Welfare... page News from the House... pages Legal... pages Legal Q&A... pages Reading... pages Poetry... pages Jailbreak... pages National Prison Radio... page 56 > LOOKING AHEAD August Inside Poetry September Inside Education October Inside Art Views expressed in Inside Time are those of the authors and not necessarily representative of those held by Inside Time or the New Bridge Foundation.
4 Mailbag If you would like to contribute to Mailbag, please send your letters (including your name, number Insidetime July and prison) to Mailbag, Inside Time, Botley Mills, Botley, Southampton, Hampshire SO30 2GB. Show me the proof!... GERRY THE SAILOR - HMP WANDSWORTH I do not own a guitar and nor can I play one, but I would be interested, as I guess would others, to hear what evidence Grayling and NOMS have regarding the misuse of steel guitar strings? I mean, unless there has actually been an incident involving the use of steel guitar strings for a nefarious purpose then we are just slipping back to the bad old days when some junior div in the Home Office can just make arbitrary orders about things prisoners are not allowed to have just in case. Remember when prisoners were not allowed bananas? The Home Office told us it was because prisoners might smoke the dried banana skins and get high! Ignoring the fact that the entire British prison system is awash with heroin. Yet, we have now had bananas for years and I have yet to hear of any prisoner committing further crimes in pursuit of feeding his banana skin habit, or getting into debt and having to seek the protection wings for owing money to their banana skin dealer! And what about FM radios, they were banned for years in prison in case we turned them into receivers and spoke to people outside prison. It was only when prisons set up the PIN phone system that FM radios were then allowed. All absolute nonsense thought up by paranoid anal retentives who see plots and sedition wherever they look. If something is going to be taken away then let us see the reasoning behind it and the evidence that has resulted in the decision. Is that really too much to ask? Why do short-termers need to go to Cat D prisons?... MARK MILNE - HMP NORTHUMBERLAND Why do prisoners doing short sentences need to go to open prisons? Isn t the purpose of open prisons to reintegrate prisoners back into society after long periods of imprisonment or to test life-sentenced or indeterminately-sentenced prisoners in a less security-conscious environment to see if they are safe to be released? It isn t right that someone sentenced to 6 years or less is sent to these prisons as they do not need the opportunities these prisons provide, they take up spaces which means life-sentenced and indeterminates have to wait even longer in closed conditions. I often hear short-term prisoners talking about going to open conditions weeks after being sentenced, it s becoming ridiculous. Also, why are convicted celebrities, police officers and prison officers sent to open prisons? Surely they have more reason to serve their time in closed conditions as most of them have already breached the public s trust, why are they taking up spaces that should be reserved for those that really need them? Category D should be reserved for those who have served 10 years or over. This may also reduce reoffending as when short-termers realise they might actually have to serve their time in closed conditions the sentence might then act as a deterrent. NOMS are wrong... DAVE E FERGUSON - HMP WAKEFIELD In the May issue, NOMS wrote attempting to discredit my contribution regarding prisoner s right to compensation for property removed from possession under PSI 30/2013. I wish to now clarify this issue. It is poor administration to allow a prisoner to purchase an item and allow it into possession, only then to change the rules and remove it causing a loss of intended use and financial loss. Any items removed from a lifer s possession equate to a permanent loss as lifers, including 2-strikers and IPPs have no specific date of release and are, in effect, serving a sentence of 99 years. Article 1, Protocol 1 (ECHR) enshrines the right to enjoy lawful possessions. In allowing prisoners to purchase items for in possession use and then to change the rules so that the intended use is obstructed breaches the Protocol in every sense. It is here that a civil case lies. In all civil cases probability is the threshold for a claim to succeed, not beyond reasonable doubt. Probability can be established in these circumstances that NOMS actions under PSI 30/2013 breaches the prisoner s right to enjoy possessions that were originally deemed lawful by NOMS allowing the items purchase and possession pre PSI 30/2013. Here at HMP Wakefield prisoners are being instructed that possessions MUST be destroyed if they will not hand them out. How many other prisons are using this same tactic I do not know? Finally, it is noticeable that NOMS only chose to respond to the contribution of mine but have remained conspicuously silent over my contribution regarding the abusive treatment of Victor Nealon whilst he was detained for a crime he did not commit. Writes As set out in the response to the original letter from Mr Ferguson, prisoners retain ownership of items that might be removed from them under the Incentives and Earned Privileges policy. Items can either be stored or handed out. There have always been controls on the items which prisoners can have in possession. Those controls can change, for example as a result of security considerations or, as in this case, because of changes to policy. HMP Wakefield follows national policy on the storing of prisoner property. Items which prisoners no longer require are only destroyed where the prisoner has given their consent. Policy - what policy?... ANDREW BROWN - HMP MOORLAND I have recently found myself in custody serving a 3 year sentence which is quite a life experience with a steep learning curve. I can accept the restrictions imposed on me whilst serving a sentence, but not the fact that each prison has no consistency in providing accurate information regarding rules and procedures relating to life in custody. More often than not, information provided is contradictory serving only to fuel frustration and unrest in the prison community. Through my own sentence I have experienced a wide range of inconsistencies by prison officers, and what I consider more disturbing, the so-called healthcare professionals. On many occasions I have witnessed basic procedures being ignored and a total disregard for the well-being of inmates. On almost a daily basis inmates fail to access healthcare and prescribed medication due to the failure of staff to reorder repeat prescriptions or the huge delay in processing applications of people wishing to access healthcare. Most of these issues could easily be remedied by eradicating the negative behaviour and visible discontent that exists amongst healthcare staff. It is quite apparent that prisons run by the private sector are far less effective in delivering an adequate level of service required as a minimum. These services are funded from the public purse, which prisoner s families contribute to via income tax and VAT and should not be failing to deliver a reasonable standard of service just because they are dealing with prisoners. Without constructive action the level of service will continue to deteriorate, resulting in a further rise in tragic events as healthcare is delayed and declined. Creating prison places... A FOREIGN NATIONAL PRISONER May I offer a simple solution to Chris Grayling s order to prison governors to create 440 prison places which he says are needed? Why not deport those indeterminate foreign national prisoners (IFNPs) who have reached their tariff expiry date and actually want to be deported but are refused. This option will do two things, firstly it will help create those places Grayling so desperately needs, and, more importantly, save UK taxpayers millions of pounds. When these same IFNPs are eventually paroled, which they surely will be, PSI 20/2014 indicates there is not much to stop them from returning to their own countries. Legislation introduced in 2012 to deport IFNP at tariff expiry is not being fully implemented. It would appear that certain nationalities are being deported but others are not. Why? This government gives the impression that many foreign nationals are using the ECHR to avoid deportation, but, Mr Grayling, some of us want to go home but you won t let us! trapped? Need Help? Contact Michael Robinson emmersonssolicitors 52 John Street, Sunderland, SR1 1QN Freephone or emmersons-solicitors.co.uk >> Registered with EMAP<< We can offer you An in house advocacy team for all prison law Hearings-Adjudication and Parole Links to specialist barristers and QCs for Appeals Against Sentence, Wrongful Conviction & Judicial Review An excellent track record in relation to POCA/Forfeiture matters A well respected criminal department, solicitor with Crown Court Rights of Audience and a team of police station representatives. Parole Hearings Adjudications Recalls Criminal Appeals SOPO Variations Members of the Association of Prison Lawyers We are local to: HMYOI AYLESBURY & HMPs BULLINGDON, GRENDON, WOODHILL, READING and SPRINGHILL but Pickup & Scott Solicitors also cover many other prisons. We cover all aspects of Prison Law Life Sentences IPPs Cat A + Re-Cat Parole Hearings Recalls/Licences Adjudications VPs Immigration issues Please contact: Contact: Anna De La Mare, Harleena Johal-Basi, Alexander Brown at: Maria Villarico or PICKUP PICKUP & & SCOTT SCOTT SOLICITORS SOLICITORS 6 Bourbon Street ~ Aylesbury ~ Bucks ~ HP20 2RR 6 Bourbon Street ~ Aylesbury ~ Bucks ~ HP20 2RR Members of the Association of Prison Lawyers
5 Insidetime July 2014 If you would like to contribute to Mailbag, please send your letters (including your name, number and prison) to Mailbag, Inside Time, Botley Mills, Botley, Southampton, Hampshire SO30 2GB. Mailbag 5 Why must we suffer for someone else s actions?... A PRISONER S WIFE Collective punishment is not fair... A PRISONER S MUM I am a prisoner s wife; my husband is a serving cat D prisoner. We were informed of the delightful Mr Graylings new town visit time slots last week. I am sure you have heard that the powers that be have cut the weekly 10 hours down to just 5, and all prisoners need a valid reason to leave prison every week, not just to maintain family ties. My husband is a good guy who committed a stupid crime that hurt nobody. He works a 38 hour week, giving up 40% of his wage to a victims fund, keeps his head down and just wants to get his time done and get out. Basically all the prisoners will be punished if anyone absconds or goes to the media regarding this issue. I am seriously considering putting a petition together against this recent change. Largely due to the fact that Grayling has only cut the hours owing to the recent media hullabaloo about 1 or 2 absconders in the papers. All data and statistics show a fall year on year of prisoners that don t return from town visits, it makes no sense for him to have done this. FMW Law Solicitors and Advocates Formerly Farrell Matthews & Weir MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICE Choose FMW Law and you are choosing effective and quality representation for your Criminal / Prison Law matters before: I would like to tell you a story about my son who is serving 2 years and 2 years consecutive for death by careless driving. He has done 17 months with no trouble and has been good for the 17 months and was given a ROTL (Release On Temporary License) and he was doing great for 16 weeks. He was then told to put in for a town visit and he did and gave a date of 10th May but he was told that was not enough notice so they told him he can have it for the 17th or 24th of May. He waited for an answer for 4 weeks then they told him he had to sit a board on Friday 23rd of May on which they told him he is NO LONGER entitled to ROTL and he can t have a town visit because men from other prisons didn t came back from day release. How can this be right? How can they tar him with the same brush as anyone else who has absconded? He has been a model prisoner which they told him when he started ROTL so how can this be taken away from him because of other people? Why are prison absconds suddenly such big news?... JACK CHAMPAGNE - HMP SWALESIDE Usually when people abscond from an open prison (less than 1% of the open population) there is very little media coverage. Now, the minute someone goes missing the media are all over it with every detail. The speed at which they are getting and revealing this information is staggering. Recently the government has been attempting to close the only two female open prisons in the country (this is currently under legal challenge) and now suddenly the male open estate is openly being accused as if it is unfit for purpose. It is true that the longer I am held by the prison system the more cynical I become, but is it really beyond the realms of possibility that in the near future the government will cite all of the publicity surrounding these absconds have made the open prison estate unworkable and might suggest closure, thereby freeing up millions of pounds worth of prime land all ready for the construction industry? The number of people absconding from open conditions has actually dropped quite considerably in recent years so why are the government not pointing this out to the media? Who is briefing the media every morning with the previous days absconds, details of their crimes and media-given nicknames? It all seems a bit fishy to me. PROBLEMS WITH THE PRISON? YOU NEED J P The Johnson Partnership Prison Law Service Specialist Prison Law and Criminal Defence Solicitors You ve already been tarred with the same brush... ROB - HMP WHATTON In response to Mr John McMurray s letter in the May issue - Don t tar us all with the same brush, I would like to say get over it, mate, the prejudice is against all offenders, not only sex offenders. I am a sex offender and, like many sex offenders, I have not committed an offence against children but I still patiently tolerate all the extra rules and precautions that prisons and society apply. Personally I do not like being tarred with the same brush as inmates who assume a parody of moral superiority because stealing a charity box, drink driving or mugging a pensioner never hurt anyone. It is fair to say that VP wings only exist because gentle paragons of innocence such as yourself inhabit the prison system, dispensing your own skewed judgements from your very low pedestal, proclaiming what nice criminals you are by comparison. For that matter I also abide some irritation that I will probably be denied ROTL because some of you nice criminals can t stop running away on day release to rob banks. We ve all hurt someone, and we are ALL labelled untrustworthy by society. A page was also torn from our issue of Inside Time, but if it bothers and angers you so much I fear you may struggle with the multitude of far greater inequalities you may face as an ex-offender in the outside world. Mindless idiots... TREVOR SMITH - HMP BURE What the hell is going on in the minds of these morons who escape or abscond from open prisons? Having spent years in prison completing the necessary courses to reduce their risk and make the changes to become better people, they convince the Parole Board they are worthy of open conditions, only to abscond. It s just plain stupidity. I hear people say that its only a small minority compared to the thousands who pass through open conditions, but one escape is too many as society tars us with the same brush and place more restrictions on the majority. These people should be made to pay for their own mistakes and a good start would be 5 years (determinates) and 10 years for lifers/ipps in Category A conditions. Maybe then prisoners who get open conditions would know the consequences of escaping. Criminal Defence Solicitors The Con iscation Law Specialists Facing Confiscation Proceedings? Con iscation Proceedings can often be more lengthy and complex than the criminal case that came before. Having a specialist team of lawyers on your side to ight your case can make all the difference. e. all criminal courts in England & Wales for all criminal matters the Independent Adjudicator or Governor for all adjudication (nicking) matters the Parole Board for all recall and parole review matters the prison authority to challange a Sentence Calculation review decision. For a prompt response, please contact Neville Gray, Peter McGovern or Patrick Hassan-Morlai FMW Law Solicitors & Advocates 150 King Street Hammersmith London W6 0QU Licence Recall Lifer Panels Adjudications Parole Applications Immediate advice and assistance from one of the largest criminal law firms in the country, available 24/7. Contact our Prison Law Department on: (0115) at any time or write to us at FREEPOST NEA15948,NOTTINGHAM NG1 1BR Regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority Members of the Association of Prison Lawyers Criminal Defence Service At Criminal Defence Solicitors we specialise in providing expert representation and advice at every stage of the con iscation process, even where we did not act for you in your original Crown Court case. We have extensive experience in revising prosecution bene it calculations, challenging criminal lifestyle assumptions and working with forensic technology specialists and accountants to prepare, analyse and present complex inancial evidence to the advantage of our clients. If your case requires expert representation, contact us today. CRIMINAL DEFENCE SOLICITORS FREEPOST: RSJS- SHTS- HHGB 227/228 STRAND, LONDON, WC2R 1BE Tel:
6 Mailbag If you would like to contribute to Mailbag, please send your letters (including your name, number Insidetime July and prison) to Mailbag, Inside Time, Botley Mills, Botley, Southampton, Hampshire SO30 2GB. Halal meat? Not for me... P STEWART - HMP DURHAM I am writing about the recent news in the national press about Halal meat. I am no racist or anything like that but as we live in Britain surely the country should be looking at the needs and rights of the natives before the minority who came to our country for a better life. Why do we have to follow the needs and rights of the minority? I have noticed recently that the prison meal choices have also started featuring the Halal label on all beef and chicken, yet in HMP Durham there are very few Muslim prisoners (perhaps 5%), so why should we be forced (and there is very little alternative except vegetarian) to eat meat that has been ritually slaughtered and prayed over by a religion that we don t believe in? I am quite sure that if a British citizen were in a Muslim prison we would not be supplied with non-halal meat. This country seems to bow down to politically correct nonsense. Left to starve... JASON PROUD - HMP RYE HILL I ve been battling with the kitchens about food here at HMP Rye Hill for the last year. I am 6 feet 7 inches tall and my weight now is around 10 stone, which makes me at least 2 stone underweight. I am Jewish and I am allergic to wheat, milk, mushrooms and nuts. Because I am Jewish I get one kosher meal per day, and receive salad every single day, which is not helping me to put on weight at all. Healthcare have been involved but still the kitchens refuse to do anything about my problem. The food I get is not adequate and I am constantly losing weight. I m having to get money sent in from outside in order to buy food from the overpriced canteen rather than rely on this prison to adhere to its statutory duty to feed me. If I was starving in Africa people would be rushing to help, but nobody seems to give a toss about prisoners because we have already been demonised by politicians and the media. Food these days is very expensive and you can get very little for 1.15 per prisoner, per day, which is the budget here. My family are in the catering trade and they tell me it would be almost impossible to supply the nourishment needed for less than 2.80 per day per person. Something needs to be done and very quickly. The government are very quick to take but not so quick at giving back. Editorial note: We are awaiting a NOMS response for this mailbag. I may be forced to steal food... JOHN DOE - EX PRISONER I have now been residing at Flemming House Approved Premises for some two months. I must pay per week to the hostel (or be recalled) this is to cover the costs, among other things, of seven evening meals. Well I go to work at 6am and tend to return hopefully for around 7-9pm. They are supposed to save the evening meal I have been forced to pay for. However it is becoming more and more frequently the case that upon returning to the hostel, my meals that the chef claims to have saved is no longer there. Tonight the manager sat in front of me and said that the only spare meals after dinner was one she herself was currently in the middle of eating. Forcing me to pay for seven meals but then only giving me 3 or 4? With no money for 2 more days, my only way of feeding myself is to liberate sandwiches from Tesco which constitutes reoffending. No wonder so many people go on to reoffend! >> IMPORTANT NOTICE Please include the following information on EVERYTHING you send to Inside Time: Name, Number and Prison. If you do not do this your correspondence can t be considered for submission. We will also not be able to acknowledge receipt of your communication, nor will we know where to send any prize money! 50% reduction in food... JON WALDRON - HMP STOKE HEATH Here at HMP Stoke Heath inmates have been complaining about the poor quality and quantity of food for months but we keep getting told by the acting kitchens manager that his budget has been cut by 11p per prisoner per day. Now the kitchens have sunk to a new low. According to the rules the correct portion measure per man of stews, curries, etc is one 10 ounce ladle per prisoner, but the servers have been told to give 3 spoonfuls instead of the official measure. Three spoons equates to 5 ounces per prisoner. I complained about this and was told the portions are correct. So we measured using the correct ladle and ran out of food halfway through the serving. This is a 50% reduction. We are being malnourished in order to save money. This prison is reducing its budget by stealing food from its inmates and breaching the national portion control guidelines, which is a disgrace. This is morally wrong, but their moral compass is so messed up I d be surprised they can find their way to the car park. Can NOMS comment on this, please, and not just with their standard quoting of the rules - we know the rules. Editorial note: We are awaiting a NOMS response for this mailbag. INJURED IN PRISON? You could win s Prison Injury Lawyers You could win win 100% compensation for: for: could help you win compensation for: Injuries in in the the gym gym Scalding Scalding the in the kitchen kitchen Falling from from bunk a bunk Slip on Slip wet on floor wet floor Stabbed by by inmate Trip Trip on broken on broken tile tile Injury in in workshop Injury Injury on exercise on excercise Assaulted by by staff or or other other inmates Call now on Or write to: Prison Injury Lawyers Ashley House, Ashley Road, Altrincham WA14 2DW 2DW or You can also write to Prison Injury Lawyers, Ashley House, Ashley Or e mail: Road, Altrincham WA14 2DW NO WIN NO FEE! 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7 Insidetime July 2014 If you would like to contribute to Mailbag, please send your letters (including your name, number and prison) to Mailbag, Inside Time, Botley Mills, Botley, Southampton, Hampshire SO30 2GB. Mailbag 7 Legal aid cuts are murder... TONY JOYCE - HMP PARKHURST Would you believe that I cannot find a solicitor who is willing or able to take a legal aid claim against a prison that is deliberately flouting human rights, prison law, discrimination and prejudice issues. They all seem to be scared to even apply for legal aid. In turn, this prison is doing just what they want with its population. It has introduced its own Basic regime, aimed specifically at prisoners who maintain their innocence. This encapsulates the elderly, infirm, ill and disabled prisoners alike. It also takes in those prisoners who do not have community jobs and reduces their status. And community jobs are as rare as hen s teeth here. The New Basic removes all possessions from the prisoner and there is no gym, no association, visits, television, the lot. A review is rare and applications and COMP1 forms mean nothing. The Prisons Inspectorate has shown no interest and neither have any of the other so-called reform groups. After its inception, in February, stress levels rose, there was an increase in violence and a spate of deaths. Coincidence? I think not. Cuts in legal aid have left this prison open to exploitation. If you maintain your innocence or refuse to do the voluntary coursework then you will be punished - and it seems as though there is not a thing we can do about it. Editorial note: Any solicitor interested in taking this case should write to Inside Time for details. Letting down the disabled... N PASSMORE - HMP BULLINGDON I am writing to say that as a disabled lifer I feel the prison system is letting down the disabled very badly. I am being released this month to go to a hostel in my native Wales after spending 18 years in prison. But to my dismay I have to find my own way there. I can only walk a few steps and need a wheelchair or Zimmer frame to get about. I have had one day out to go and see the hostel, and no resettlement to speak of. A lot has changed in 18 years and I am very nervous about getting out into the community in a wheelchair. I don t know how I m going to cope. It seems that NOMS is short on knowledge of disabled prisoners, which is a shame. Nobody seems to care... STEVEN GRIFFITHS - HMP OAKWOOD I am currently on recall at HMP Oakwood. My concern is regarding Healthcare here. I have got a colostomy bag owing to having bowel cancer 8 years ago. Since being at this establishment I ve put in 2 applications for colostomy bags and on both occasions they have not ordered them or ordered the wrong bags. Today I informed prison staff and healthcare that I have no fresh colostomy bags and the ones that have been supplied are not the right ones, they do not fit. I was told that Healthcare have said these are the only ones they ve got. I now have to wait days to change my bag and when I complained about this I was told by staff what do you want me to do, it s the weekend. If my bag comes off there will be stuff everywhere but nobody here seems to care. Editorial note: We are awaiting a NOMS response for this mailbag. Making prisoners work - what a joke!... DANIEL SMITH - HMP SWALESIDE I have been here at HMP Swaleside for five months and since I arrived have literally been left locked in my cell for 22 hours a day. But all I want is a job. I get less than 1 per week on my canteen so I can t afford phone units to keep in touch with my son; they have stripped my last chance at keeping in touch with my 7 year-old. On all the job apps I put in I get the same answer You have not been security cleared for work yet - I spend so much time behind my door that when it is now opened I feel slightly anxious. HMP claims it strives to maintain family ties, but they have stripped me of mine. Please give me a job! rundlewalker Confiscation Orders Personal Injury Sexual Abuse Claims Free Initial Advice Legal Aid - No Win No Fee Call Freephone: Contact us today: Rundlewalker Solicitors, The Gallery, The Quay, Kings Wharf, Exeter, Devon, EX2 4AN Computer convictions... DAMIAN PETERS - HMP ELMLEY Thank you for the article Child pornography - computer convictions (June issue). This subject is a minefield of contention and assumption and this article was very informative particularly in highlighting a major lack of understanding and clarity in our justice system. When the accused is subject to threats of venomous media attention, public humiliation of self as well as family and friends, plus longer custodial sentences as a result of pleading not guilty, it is hardly surprising that 90% of charges result in a guilty plea. The likelihood of such a plea is further increased when legal counsel advises that, in most cases, the presence of an illegal image on a computer memory constitutes guilt under the current interpretation of law and that its source and context is largely irrelevant. In my own case 180 thumbnails of indecent images of children were forensically recovered amongst 6000 legal adult images of pornography from a laptop. None of these indecent images had been searched for, solicited, saved, downloaded or transferred in any way by a user and I was completely unaware of their presence until the police, many months after my arrest, informed they were there and charged me. Both the police forensic report and the expert engaged by the defence confirmed that the illegal images were inaccessible to a user and the defence report concluded that the images presence Criminal Defence and Appeals Specialising in all areas of criminal law, from minor offences to serious crimes - Murder, Fraud, Conspiracy to Defraud, Confiscation Proceedings Appeals, Variation and Discharge of Restraint Order and Money Laundering Immigration and Nationality Law Comprehensive solutions to immigration and British nationality issues. Family Law Divorce - sound advice about your rights and the options available We cover the London area and all of the UK on serious matters. Please contact Anthony Mordi or Michael Okogwu Mordi & Co Solicitors First Floor 402 Holloway Road London, N7 6PZ Tel: (020) Hour Emergency: was as a direct result of a small percentage of illegal content contaminating legal adult pornographic websites and the automatic caching functions of the memory. The police report for the prosecution, predictably, focused on little more than their presence and their illegality. It seemed, on the strength of this, as though my 18 months of stress and fear whilst on bail and the trauma to my family and friends would be over soon and my name would be cleared. It seems, however, that no one could have anticipated how strong the desire to convict can be in the police, the CPS and even in a Crown Court Judge. After 2 days of deliberation by the jury with no verdict, it was necessary for the judge to instruct the jury to consider instead not the question of whether I was guilty of making these images, but whether they thought it likely I may have seen the images, even if I had not intended to do so. This resulted in a 10-2 guilty verdict, despite this verdict now bearing no relation to the actual indictment or the conviction they were asked to secure for the CPS. After 3 months in custody the judge handed me the maximum sentence of 3 years imprisonment under the sentencing guidelines for possession of indecent images of children, this being a completely different offence to that of my conviction. I am currently seeking legal advice and representation for an appeal but it seems the legal aid cuts may have blunted the motivation of some legal professionals to respond even to enquiries. Website Comments page 17 RODMAN PEARCE SOLICITORS FIGHTING FOR YOU!!! Experienced representation in Criminal Defence, Prison Law and Immigration Matters 4 All Criminal Courts Proceedings & Appeals 4 Parole Hearings 4 Contested Recall 4 Judicial Reviews Sentence Calculation 4 Lifer Panel and Adjudication Representation 4 Appeals Against Deportation 4Inadequate Medication for your Illness 4Inadequate Mobility Equipment for a Disability 4 Unlawful Detention/Bail Applications 4 4 Prison Injury, Medical & Dental Negligence Experts If you are injured in prison you can win thousands of pounds. Prison injuries could be caused in the gym, scalding in the kitchen, falling from a bunk, slip on wet floor, stabbed by inmates, trip on broken tile, injury in workshop, injury on excercise, assaulted by staff or other inmates. -Nationwide Service- Barry Akilo or Christine Ayanbadejo or write to: Rodman Pearce Solicitors Ltd 54 Wellington Street Luton Bedfordshire LU1 2QH 4
8 Mailbag If you would like to contribute to Mailbag, please send your letters (including your name, number Insidetime July and prison) to Mailbag, Inside Time, Botley Mills, Botley, Southampton, Hampshire SO30 2GB....consequences and reprisals D MUCAHY - HMP FULL SUTTON I believe these facts may be of use to your readers. The preferred courier for parcels sent out by the Prison Service is TNT, a professional worldwide courier company. However, due to the Terms & Conditions of the contract between TNT and the Prison Service, all parcels travel on at least 3 different vehicles, and the Prison Service indemnifies TNT against any damage caused by them in transit. So, if your package is damaged, you get no compensation from TNT, the prison is solely responsible. I sent a package by TNT and when I asked for insurance I was told there is none available, and my package was completely destroyed in transit. I took NOMS/ Prison Service to court, where the Judge ruled that the prison had lied on this matter and they were totally responsible for any damage as they had indemnified TNT against damage. I won So, if you are sending out a package ensure you ask for insurance cover of 5000, which will cost you a fee of Also ask for a copy of the Terms & Conditions they have with TNT. They have to supply you a copy under the terms of the Postal Act. But, be warned, if you do sue and win, there will be consequences and reprisals from the prison system! HMP Full Sutton has now refused to allow me to send ANYTHING out. They won t even let me send models to the Koestler Awards! They are now also refusing to answer my applications or request/complaint forms on this matter. Always ask for insurance and always check Terms & Conditions. Rehabilitation cannot be forced onto people SHAUN O TOOLE - HMP RISLEY Refusing to be seen to be participating in your own rehabilitation can lead to dire and dangerous consequences in the prison system of Prisoners who refuse to do Offending Behaviour Programmes (OBPs) will now find themselves on the primarily punitive Basic IEP level. One example I have witnessed of late was an illiterate prisoner who was incapable of completing the Thinking Skills Programme s written work and so refused to complete the course. He was placed on Basic. Rehabilitation cannot be forced into or upon someone. The saying you can lead a horse to water but you can t make it drink comes to mind. In a rehabilitation context, prison does not work and I would be confident debating this issue with any government body or spokesperson. We know employment is the most impacting seed in prisoner s rehabilitation and the Bounce Back Project, featured in the June issue of Inside Time is a beacon and should be replicated. This kind of initiative should be praised and promoted nationally. But is there any real desire for rehabilitation in prisons? Or should the public continue to be allowed to suffer because prison only works for those who earn a wage as a consequence of crime! The laughing stock of all penal systems... K BENNETT - HMP ISLE OF WIGHT There has been a lot of publicity and discussion lately following Justice Secretary Chris Grayling s changes to the IEP system and his orders concerning nothing being allowed to be sent in to prisoners, but here on the Isle of Wight governors and staff have decided to take this one step further and not allow anything to be sent out either. I really thought I had seen it all until I arrived at HMP Isle of Wight. They have a motto here which is - This is how we do it on the Island - which they think bestows them with special status or something. It seems because we have the Solent between us and the mainland they think that means we don t have to follow the rules of the rest of the prison system. I have been trying to send some of my property home but I ve been told that I am not allowed to hand out my property to my visitors when they come to see me. All we have been told is - This facility has been suspended. No reasons given. So, in short, here on the Isle of Wight we can t have anything sent in and we can t send anything out. I understand that people might want to smuggle things into a prison but not why they would want to smuggle anything out! We are slowly becoming the laughing stock of all penal systems. Sometimes you just need an expert... Michael Purdon Solicitor Advising prisoners nationwide since 1994 The Romanian next door... STEVE GILTROW - HMP BEDFORD Whilst reading the daily paper I came across an article about Nigel Farage of UKIP s comments on having a Romanian moving in next door to him. I would urge him not to be downhearted at this prospect as I have a Romanian man living in the cell next door to me and he is a lovely chap. He always smiles and says hello, he keeps his cell clean and goes to work every day for his 8 a week. Of course, Nigel is not so worried about a German moving in next door to him because he already has one tucked up in his bed! Just another hypocrite politician willing to sell his soul for a vote. Chapel or Meds?... AMELIA JONES - HMP FOSTON HALL Chris Burton s prison gave him the either/or choice of chapel or library (June Mailbags). My last jail went one step further - on a Sunday morning it was chapel or medication! A complaint on Comp 1 Form, ticking the discrimination box, should resolve the problem, as he is entitled to both. 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9 Insidetime July 2014 If you would like to contribute to Mailbag, please send your letters (including your name, number and prison) to Mailbag, Inside Time, Botley Mills, Botley, Southampton, Hampshire SO30 2GB. Mailbag 9 Polygraph testing for sex offenders - bring it on... CHRIS HAYSTEAD - HMP RISLEY Having read about polygraph testing for sex offenders I say bring it on! If it proves to be a success I say give the test to all those who maintain innocence. If it can be proved that a sex offender is lying on the polygraph test then it can also be proved that he/she is being truthful. If a prisoner who is maintaining innocence can pass the polygraph test then surely that would be grounds to reopen their case and look at the evidence again? I say the test should also be given to the accusers. As you may have gathered from this letter I am innocent and can t wait to have my test as are, I m sure, many thousands of innocent sex offenders. Oh, hang about; I was getting so excited there about a polygraph test proving my innocence that I momentarily forgot that the results are not good enough to use in a court of law! If we are going to act on the results of a polygraph test then they should meet the standard of the law. If polygraph testing is good enough to use to catch sex offenders out then surely they should be good enough to prove that thousands of us have been wrongly convicted. So I say - bring it on! From blue to gray(ling)... TOM CLARK - HMP WAKEFIELD Like most other prisoners and staff who have been around for a few years my reaction to the new IEP/Facilities List was unadulterated disgust and disbelief. The focus of my disgust is the insidious and spitefully arbitrary manner in which changes - particularly to the Facilities List of allowed possessions - affect not only current purchases by prisoners, but also items that have been bought over several years of hard-earned wages and IEP rewards. I have worked hard, gained Enhanced status, saved money from my meagre prison wage and have behaved for several years in order to purchase an electric guitar, accessories and learning textbooks. All of this allowed at the time and no change to this allowance could possibly be foreseen. Then, out of the blue the landscape changes ARC LAW ASSET RECOVERY, RESTRAINT & CONFISCATION LAWYERS As the asset recovery and confiscation arm of Rahman Ravelli Solicitors, a leading nationwide niche practice, ARC offers expertise, proactive and forceful representation together with a track record of success. CONFISCATION As an example, we sucessfully challanged one of the UK s largest ever confiscation orders following years of fighting; reducing the relevant amounts by over 10 million. In recent years, our unique approach has helped our clients retain assets worth tens of millions of pounds. Responding tactically to a Prosecutor s Statement of Information is the way to strike back in the assets battle. In our experience, these documents are vital in setting the scene and letting the other side know that that a battle can be expected Hidden assets, tainted gifts, rights of spouses, third parties, business interests, reciever s costs; these are among the multitude of issues that can arise in modern confiscation litigation. In fact, each one of these areas requires specialist expertise, skil and knowledge. In our experience, the Crown will often assert that their demands are harsh but will then say that it is because POCA is draconian. Too often this is accepted. The truth is that these issues can be fought, either with good case law, solid factual argument, good negotiation skills or a combination of all three. That approach though requires work, dedication expertise and belief. Whther it is under POCA 2002, the CJA 1988 or the DTA 1994, and whether it involves restraint or confiscation orders, applications to vary or certificates of inadequacy, our POCA Department can assist. ARC Law, Rahman Ravelli Solicitors, Roma House, 59 Pellon Lane, Halifax HX1 5BE Telephone: from blue to gray(ling) and an ill-conceived and arbitrary policy and a random Facilities List that can see the rehabilitative worth of a PlayStation 2 but not in learning a skill. Not only does this damage hope, motivation and rehabilitation/psychological well-being here and now, but it also steals away those accumulated rewards made over the years of good behaviour and hard work. I conclude and concur with both Mark Day ( Punishment without purpose ) and Noel Smith ( Prisons are a powder keg ) in the June issue, they are wholly correct in their assessment of the consequences of this policy. Only a few weeks ago we lost one of our young guitarists here to suicide, this only a matter of weeks after the Prisons Ombudsman stated - Having a guitar in possession is not considered essential to maintaining stable mental health in a case I took to him. Taking those who have demonstrated consistently good behaviour and hitting them with a stick whilst dangling a shrivelled carrot to many who do not eat carrots is never going to work. Please contact us for a no obligation assesment. Offices in Halifax & London with nationwide coverage In memory of GERRY CONLON BY PAUL MAY - CAMPAIGNER I first met Gerry Conlon at the home of his solicitor Gareth Peirce in A few days previously he d walked free following 15 years wrongful imprisonment. I led the London-based campaign for the innocent Irishmen known as the Birmingham Six. Gerry was determined to help the campaign in any way he could. It s impossible to convey the euphoria felt by campaigners for innocent Irish prisoners when the Guildford Four were released. Plenty of cynics had proclaimed the formidable forces ranged against the prisoners meant we were wasting everybody s time and now here was Gerry at liberty chatting amiably in Gareth s living room. In April 1990, I flew to Copenhagen with Gerry and other Birmingham Six campaigners to lobby the Conference for Security and Co-operation in Europe at the largest ever inter-governmental human rights event. Most Western governments regarded the conference solely as an opportunity to condemn the Soviet Union s human rights record. We hoped to interject that human rights abuses weren t a Soviet monopoly. We succeeded beyond our most optimistic aspirations with 23 out of 38 European and North American government delegations backing calls for the men s convictions to be sent back to the courts. Gerry s contribution was crucial. While the rest of us spoke (in often pedantic detail) about the case, Gerry described powerfully and passionately how it felt to be brutalised and imprisoned as an innocent man. Gerry Conlon shows reporters outside the House of Commons his letter of apology from Tony Blair. Gerry left prison with many demons in his head. Not the least was watching his innocent father Giuseppe die in prison thanks to medical treatment which ranged from abysmal to non-existent. His dying words to his captors were how does it feel to be murdering an innocent man? British Airways shameful refusal to transport Giuseppe s coffin home to Ireland was unbearably vindictive. The many horrors Gerry suffered caused him to succumb to acute depression and addiction for a period. He emerged from this dark time as the same warm, articulate, intelligent and compassionate individual I d met at Gareth s house still committed to helping innocent prisoners. In 2009, together with Paddy Hill of the Birmingham Six he visited the Hoxton home of Sam Hallam s mother Wendy. Sam s case was then virtually unknown and Gerry s kind words of encouragement meant a great deal to her. His final BBC interview was to predict (correctly) that Sam would receive no official help following his 2012 release and exoneration. I last saw Gerry at a House of Lords event we organised to promote the case of Eddie Gilfoyle wrongly convicted of murdering his wife. Just days before Gerry s cruelly premature death on 21 June, he spoke in support of the Craigavon Two whose appeal against conviction was dismissed in May. As I write, I m preparing to fly to Belfast for his funeral (needless to say I won t be travelling with British Airways). I know that people as far away as Australia have dropped everything to be there for this brave and profoundly decent man. Farewell Gerry a chara. The Irish Council for Prisoners Overseas page 21 Parole Board Hearing? IPP, Lifer, Standard, Licence Recalls. Independent Adjudication? Sentence Wrongly Calculated? Exceptional Case - Human Rights breached? Appeal against Sentence or Conviction? Second Appeal through the CCRC? The above issues are still covered under Legal Aid! So if you need help get it from dedicated London based Prison Lawyers, helping prisoners fight for their rights throughout England and Wales. Write to Manoj Sharda, Office 226, 4 Spring Road, Ealing, London W5 2AA Tel: or Mob: Prison Law Consultant at Duncan Lewis Solicitors Pro Bono work taken on for ECHR Applications
10 10 Newsround Insidetime July 2014 THE INSPECTOR CALLS... Nick Hardwick - HM Chief Inspector of Prisons Inside Time highlights areas of good and bad practice, along with a summary of prisoner survey responses at HMPs Send and Bedford. This extract is taken from the most recent report published by HM Inspectorate of Prisons. HMP Send Closed adult female training prison CNA: 282 Population (5 Feb): 272 Unannounced Full Inspection: 3-14 February 2014 Last inspection: 6-10 December 2010 Report date Published: 3 June 2014 Not only a good prison but a useful and effective prison 4% Aged over 60 13% Number of foreign nationals 2% Number on recall 12% Lost property on arrival 75% Treated well in Reception 36% Had legal letters opened 18% Food is bad or very bad 12% Don t know who IMB are 76% Treated with respect by staff 40% Number who have felt unsafe 28% Victimised by staff 69% Difficult to see dentist 16% Easy to get drugs 2% Not engaged in any purposeful activities 11% Less than 4 hours out of cell In their report Inspectors highlight a number of relatively minor concerns but said that overall, Send is a very effective prison. Women, some of whom are dealing with long sentences and considerable personal challenges and risks, are kept safely and in a prison that affords them respect. They use their time usefully and their risks are addressed meaningfully. This is not only a good prison; it is a useful and effective prison. Inspectors said that Send was a very safe institution and women were properly received and inducted when they arrived, levels of self-harm had been reduced and there had been no self-inflicted deaths since the last inspection. Security was, generally, proportionate but inspectors said that the requirement for hoods to be cut off women s coats was ridiculous. The environment and relationship between prisoners and staff was good, women felt safe, with little violence and little use of force. Women had a good amount of time out of cell and had access to the Library and Gym. Education and work was adequate with some high achievements. HMP Bedford Local category B prison for young adult and adult males CNA: 322 Operational Capacity: 506 Unannounced Full Inspection: 27 January-7 February 2014 Last inspection: 2-6 March 2009 Report: June 2014 A well run local prison, but some improvements needed 4% Aged over 60 19% Number of foreign nationals 14% Number on recall 19% Lost property on arrival 67% Treated well in Reception 32% Had legal letters opened 42% Food is bad or very bad 37% Don t know who IMB are 79% Treated with respect by staff 32% Number who have felt unsafe 25% Victimised by staff 47% Difficult to see dentist 29% Easy to get drugs 39% Not engaged in any purposeful activities 50% Less than 4 hours out of cell Nick Hardwick, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons said; Despite its problems Bedford is a fundamentally well run prison that importantly is both safe and respectful. The prison is confronted with many risks and operates in a less than ideal environment, but continues to use its available resources well. There is evidence of some improvements in learning and skills provision and the confidence with which staff relate to prisoners underpins much of its good work. Bedford s main priority must be a clearer focus on its resettlement function and greater competence in the management of risk of harm reduction, sentence planning and structure to ensure effective public protection. Both Main and VP prisoners said they felt safe; however, there were a significant number of Use of Force incidents and Inspectors thought accountability for these needed improvement. Being a 19th century prison presented problems and it suffered from poorly decorated and damp cells, many with scaled and unscreened toilets. Prisoner/staff relationships were, according to inspectors a real strength and helped maintain a quality of respect in the prison that, to an extent, helped mitigate the worst impact of the limited environment. Recently published HMCIP reports Bedford - June 2014, Blantyre House - February 2014, Brinsford - April 2014, Dovegate TC - February 2014, Durham - May 2014, Erlestoke - March 2014, Featherstone - March 2014, Haverigg - May 2014, Kirkham - March 2014, Leicester - April 2014, Lincoln - April 2014, Liverpool - March 2014, Pentonville - February 2014, Send - June 2014, Sudbury - March 2014, Werrington - March 2014, Wetherby - March 2014, Whitemoor - May 2014, Winchester - June 2014, Woodhill - May 2014 Copies of the most recent report for your prison are available in the library. New address for HMCIP Victory House, 6th floor, Kingsway London WC2B 6EX Need Inside Advice? David Phillips and Partners can help out. We offer legal advice and representation on: Independent Adjudications Recall - written representations and oral hearings Parole - written representations and oral hearings "I would like to thank DPP and most of all Rachel Barrow. I feel no other legal firm could do a better job! Even the Prison Governor commented on David Phillips and Partners by saying he had never known in his time any solicitor to put so much hard work into a case. Thank you once again." Wesley Lafferty Escape the technicalities and let us fight your case - call us now and ask for our Specialist Prison Law team. Established Top ten provider of Criminal Defence services 2009, 2010, 2011 & David Phillips and Partners Solicitors and Higher Court Advocates 1st Floor, Oriel Chambers, 14 Castle Street, Liverpool L2 8TD Nationwide Service Subject to Confiscation Proceedings? Need advice concerning the Variation or Enforcement of a Confiscation Order? We are specialists in Serious Fraud work, enjoying close links with the country s top financial experts. Sources respect IK&P for its high profile caseload covering serious fraud... Chambers & Partners 2013 Leading Firm Contact James O Hara or Balvinder Gill on or freephone Theobalds Road London WC1X 8SP We specialise in all prison law matters including: Parole Hearings, (IA) Adjudications, Recalls & Appeals. If your matter no longer falls under legal aid, we can still assist you for a small fixed fee. If you feel that you have been treated unfairly within the prison system or have been the subject of an irrational decision made against you, call us now to discuss your possible claim in judicial review. Contact Niall Brooks or Kirsty Neill Almy & Thomas Solicitors 71 Abbey Road Torquay TQ2 5NL or Freephone
11 Newsround Insidetime July 2014 Prisons Inspector accuses Minister of Prisons policy failure 11 The things people say programme: The situation is extremely serious and I am very concerned. He has warned of overcrowding in prisons and said the system was not coping, and that because of staff shortages, men were locked up together for 23 hours a day, causing huge tension. Extra resources were needed or the prison population had to be reduced. This is a political and policy failure - this is not the fault of staff, Mr Hardwick said. The problem had arisen because demands on the system have completely outstripped the resources available to them, he added. Jeremy Wright MP, Minister of Prisons, tells BBC Television News that he has a clear political vision Outstripped resources The 40 publicly-run jails told to raise their operational capacity include Bedford, Durham, Leeds, Leicester, Lincoln and three prisons in London - Brixton, Pentonville and Wandsworth - according to documents seen by the BBC. According to the BBC, Nick Hardwick, Chief Inspector of Prisons has attacked the state of prisons in England and Wales after dozens of full jails were told to take more prisoners. Mr Hardwick said political and policy failure was behind dangerous overcrowding in the publicly-run jails. All but six of 40 jails told to help house 440 extra prisoners are full or overcrowded. The Justice Secretary called the move a precaution and explained that some 600 extra places are also being purchased in private prisons. The jails have been told they need to find accommodation by August for 440 more prisoners, in total. Mr Hardwick told BBC Radio 4 s Today Midlands & South: 0121 North: FREE Initial Advice Who s on your side on the inside? Call now for FREE Initial Advice from over 160 experts UK wide We are National Prison Law Solicitors who consistently achieve great results for our clients. We can also help you in many other areas of legal advice, so get in touch today so we can help you out. LEGAL AID Legal Aid FIXED FEE Fixed Fees Sentence Calculation Get Defended. Recall IPP parole review Get Cartwright King. Lifer parole review Police interviews in prison Independent adjudication Appeal against conviction/sentence Judicial review Sentence calculation Category A Reviews Challenge licence conditions HDC appeals Re-categorisation reviews Access to offending behavioural work Early Release on conditional licence Release on temporary licence Child Care Child Contact Immigration FREE Mental Health Criminal Defence Free Police Station Representation Danny Shaw, Home Affairs Correspondent, BBC News said Nick Hardwick is a mild-mannered chap. So his unexpectedly blunt warning about prison conditions and his assertion that ministers are to blame are all the more likely to cause alarm in Whitehall. Mr Hardwick s concerns about the long, hot summer echo those of staff at the sharp end: Governors and officers. More prisoners crammed into cells and less time for education and exercise increase tensions. The Justice Secretary defended the government s policy of replacing old, Victorian prisons and said overcrowding would mean that a few hundred prisoners more will have to share a cell over the next few weeks. Labour has pointed the finger at the government s decision to close some prisons, saying the space shortage was the result of ministerial incompetence. Shadow Justice Secretary Sadiq Khan said: When the Chief Inspector of Prisons warns of the threat of serious disturbances we should all sit up and listen. The idea of prisons being able to rehabilitate offenders so they stop reoffending in these circumstances is a joke. The Prison Reform Trust called on politicians of both sides to wake up to the damage they are doing, while the Prison Officers Association described the development as a fiasco. Terry Waite writes page 38 Obviously something is wrong when you look at the investigation since the vote and some of the things that have come out when people tell you to your face that you have got their vote, you want to believe them... The situation we see now leaves a sick feeling in your mouth. David Beckham making his feelings perfectly clear when reports started to circulate about dodgy deals in the bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. Not any more, apparently. When he was asked recently on the Today programme about The Sunday Times evidence of alleged corruption involving Qatar s successful bid for the 2022 World Cup, Beckham refused to comment saying simply we were obviously very disappointed not to win but its been decided now. Cynics might say that David Beckham s reluctance to speak now about these matters is something to do with the fact that the Qataris have held talks with him about backing the football franchise he hopes to launch in Miami. Paid experts agree to lie in court evidence Other areas we can help with: Family & Divorce Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said he disagreed with Mr Hardwick s comments. He told the BBC there are currently 1,000 spare prison places - promising 2,000 new ones by April next year. He said there had been a recent increase in the number of prisoners which could be linked to prosecutions for historic sex offences. Video Link into Prison where available Expert witnesses who are allegedly willing to help paying clients to hide the truth have been exposed by an undercover investigation by BBC Panorama. The specialists agreed to submit evidence to a court that would cast doubt on a defendant s guilt, despite having received a confession. Only one of nine experts approached by journalists refused to become involved in a case after the reporters, posing as clients, confessed their guilt. Four, including a former deputy head of the Metropolitan police s document section, provided reports that could have been submitted to a court. Michael Ansell also said that in court he would, if asked, deny knowing of the confession. He later said he did not think the reporter was being serious. Write to us: Prison Law, Cartwright King, Norwich Union House, Nottingham, NG1 2LH In 2011 the Law Commission recommended restrictions on expert-opinion evidence in criminal cases, warning that evidence was being admitted without sufficient regard to whether it is sufficiently reliable to be considered by a jury. The proposed reforms were largely rejected as too costly.
12 Insidetime July Newsround Deposit Photos Calls for clean slate Children who committed minor crimes should have their records cleared when they turn 18, according to a cross-party report by MPs and lords. They said a criminal record could hamper education and work prospects. Lord Carlile, QC, the former government anti-terrorism watchdog, who chaired the Committee said; We are concerned too about the effect of convictions remaining on CALL US OUR DEDICATED APPEALS TEAM IS AVAILABLE TO ADVISE YOU NATIONWIDE the individual s record after reaching the age of majority. We advise changes to the rules, so that on reaching 18, and in some cases after a period without further trouble, job prospects and other life chances should not be affected adversely by earlier contact with the criminal justice system. Children who had offended would be given a clear sheet at 18, with all offences removed from their record if they had remained out of trouble for a specified period of time. Convictions for murder, serious sexual offences and other violent crimes would remain on a person s record, the report said. Enver Solomon, Director of Evidence and Impact at the National Children s Bureau (NCB), which provided administrative support for the Inquiry, said: This is one of the most wide-ranging and important Inquiry reports on youth justice that has been conducted for many years. It sets out important reforms that must be taken forward if the youth justice system is to ensure that resources are not unnecessarily wasted on processing children through the court in a way that fails to ensure they do not go on to become the criminals of the future. Criminal records can impede education, employment and rehabilitation prospects, the Report said. One young person told the Inquiry that a criminal record was an anchor to past offences. WRONGLY CONVICTED IS YOUR SENTENCE TOO LONG? (Emergency 24 hr Number) Suite 25, Suffolk House, George Street, Croydon, Surrey, CR0 1PE SPECIALISTS IN CRIMINAL DEFENCE LEGAL AID MAY BE AVAILABLE (subject to specific criteria set down by the Legal Aid Agency) Parole Board shake up proposed The power to recommend that life sentence prisoners should be moved to open prisons could be stripped from the Parole Board under plans being considered by the government, The Times Report. Justice Secretary Chris Grayling is also looking at ending the Board s involvement in reviewing decisions to recall thousands of prisoners to jail after they have broken the terms of their release. He wants magistrates to take on the job, which could involve them reviewing 17,000 cases a year. Harry Fletcher, a criminal justice expert, said: Magistrates do not have experience of risk-assessing longer-term prisoners who include sex offenders, robbers and violent individuals. He added: The Parole Board is best placed to decide whether a prisoner should be transferred to open conditions. Mr Grayling has ordered a review of release on temporary licence after a series of escapes from open prisons. The review of decisions to recall to jail thousands of prisoners released on licence would move to magistrates up and down the country. It would lift the burden from the Parole Board while at the same time provide extra work for magistrates, who are facing a declining number of cases going to courts because of the fall in crime. A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: We are working with the Parole Board to address the impact of a recent Supreme Court judgement. The board is introducing a number of changes to improve [its] capacity in response to the judgment. We are also considering whether there may be further options to help to ensure the Board can continue to deliver an effective service. No decisions have been made yet. WRONGLY CONVICTED? SENTENCE TOO LONG? Maybe an experienced, direct access barrister can help. For a free initial assessment please telephone/write or (you will be sent a form to complete) James Bloomer (Direct Access) One Pump Court Chambers Elm Court, Temple, London EC4Y 7AH The things people say Middle class women will have to breed for Britain if we curb migration. Labour s Shadow Business Minister Stella Creasy MP (pictured) warning against immigration control and adds There are now more people over the age of 65 than under the age of 16 in Britain. According to the Office for National Statistics they estimate that there are at present less people under the age of 16 than over the age of 65 in the UK. Moreover, the ONS estimates that in 2016 there will be 11,974,000 people over the age of 65 and 11,855,000 under the age of 16. Ms Creasy, 37 said in an interview reported on June 4, unless women like me have a lot of children very quickly, our ability to sustain our economy, to sustain our public services will come under threat [hence her call for more immigration]. There is, in fact, no rational basis for the fear of an aging population - an often sighted bogeyman by certain economists and sociologists. Children, as well as old people, have to be supported by people of working age and are just as much a burden on society. It is alarming to hear a Shadow Minister, who aspires to be Labour leader one day, apparently ignorant of the latest official projections from the Office for National Statistics reporting that the population of England is projected to grow at double the pace of the rest of the UK over the next 25 years. An estimated 1000 additional people a day will drive up the population of England (a country already 3 times more densely populated than China) from 53 million now to 62 million by Almost two thirds of the increase will be a result of immigration, either as a result of newcomers arriving or the increased birth rate of migrants who have arrived in recent years. This is on top of an increase in the population of England of some 4 million (equivalent to 16 cities the size of Southampton) during the last decade.
13 Insidetime July 2014 Newsround 13 Trafficked children must be protected not punished NEWS IN BRIEF In response to the Modern Slavery Bill s inclusion in the Queen s Speech, Barnardo s CEO Javed Khan said: Children aged 3 reported for crimes by Police Scotland New figures obtained by the BBC show that police have recorded hundreds of children as young as three for shoplifting and vandalism. According to a Freedom of Information request, children under 16 have committed more than 40,000 offences in Scotland in the past two years. That includes 25 three and four year-olds recorded for offences such as shoplifting and vandalism. Police Scotland say they have to record all crimes and offences under the National Crime Recording Standard. But experts warn that stigmatising young children increases their chances of criminal behaviour. The figures also reveal that police recorded more than 5,000 violent crimes by under 16s in the past year. Children and crime 44,341 4, , under 16s recorded for crimes under 12s recorded for crimes under 8s recorded for crimes four year olds recorded for crimes three year olds recorded for crimes violent crimes recorded for under 16s sexual crimes recorded for under 16s The Modern Slavery Bill is a defining moment in the battle against trafficking. It s an opportunity that we must not waste. Barnardo s welcomes steps to better support trafficked children through an advocate scheme and are delighted to have been chosen to deliver the pilot to start in September. The commitment to giving these advocates legal status in the future is to be applauded. The acute vulnerability of trafficked children can be compounded by inappropriate criminalisation for their involvement in the activities of their abusers. Putting in place measures to ensure children are protected and not punished is vitally important to help them escape exploitation. Prison library doesn t have enough books to do an English GCSE Amid the furore about the ban on sending books to prisoners it has been reported that the library at HMP Birmingham, run by G4S and holding around 1,500 prisoners, has only 2 of the 20 books listed to take a GCSE in English Literature. The report by Buzzfeed.com followed a Freedom of Information request for the prison library catalogue and shows that there are no Shakespeare plays or books such as Wuthering Heights, To Kill a Mockingbird or Animal Farm; although there are a large number of true crime books. Justice Secretary Chris Grayling insists that prisoners access to books is not restricted and has said; Let s be clear about one thing: prisoners access to reading material is not being curtailed. Art exhibition at Lancaster Farms YOI The Education Department commemorates the centenary of the First World War with an exhibition of artwork by young offenders. The exhibition includes paintings of camouflage tanks, dazzle ships, digital images and a life size sculptural representation of soldiers in a flooded dugout surrounded by copies of authentic letters from the trenches and Cher Ami, the heroic pigeon awarded for bravery. The works will be ongoing throughout the summer as prisoners learn more of the history of the war that claimed the lives of over 16 million people across the globe. The good people of Iraq recall the immortal words of George W Bush: Mission Accomplished. Back home in Manchester, Wayne Rooney takes a walk to forget the pressures of a 300,000 a week footballer. At a meeting of the EU Heads of State, David Cameron finds himself trapped on the 18th floor. The BBC understands that a long awaited report on officers use of stop search will reveal that hundreds of children under 10 were stopped and searched by Police Scotland in the first few months of its creation. Prof Susan McVie at Edinburgh University conducted research indicating that stigmatising children at a young age increases their chances of offending. She said: We know that where young people are repeatedly targeted by the police that they not only have very negative views about the police and other elements of authority but it can have a negative impact on how they feel about themselves. Thank you to all those who have donated to the Inside Time contribution to Help for Heroes. This amounted to 300, which was a combination of returned poetry prizes from inmates, the money donated in place of flowers from the funeral of Charles Hanson and donations from serving prisoners. If you are labelled as a troublemaker often enough you come to believe that label. And if you feel they perceive you to be an offender anyway then there s nothing to lose by continuing to engage in offending.
14 14 Newsround Insidetime July 2014 OBESITY WATCH England: New guidelines highlight Newsbites NEWS IN BRIEF benefit of moderate weight loss A survey of over 1,000 teachers found that over half are in favour of making incremental pay rises depending on their current pupils progress and results. An analysis commissioned by the Financial Times found a fivefold variation in the cost of routine operations across NHS hospitals. The number of complaints from students to their universities about the quality of teaching and services topped 20,000. In evidence to the Public Accounts Committee, John Manzoni, Chief Executive of the Major Projects Authority, said that delivery and execution is not second nature to many people in government, and that is at the core of what [government] needs to get done. The Public Accounts Committee recommended changes to the Education Funding Agency to ensure stronger oversight of how schools spend money. The Cabinet Office released figures which showed that Whitehall has saved more than 1.2 billion in property since New guidance was announced to ensure hospital patients will have a named consultant responsible for their care so they know where the buck stops. Figures show that levels of unemployment reached a five year low in April, falling to 6.6 per cent. California: Senate approves bill on soft drink warning labels A bill to require sugary soft drinks to carry labels warning of obesity, diabetes and tooth decay passed the California Senate and will next go to the State Assembly. The bill is part of efforts to reduce soft drink consumption and improve population health. Senator Bill Manning who tabled the bill says Liquid sugar is a significant and unique driver of obesity, preventable diabetes, and tooth decay. Some people accuse this (bill) of nanny governing and yet it is the government that is responsible to protect the public health and safety of its people. There are calls for similar laws to be introduced in the UK. England: Despite promises, food companies fail to act on calories sugar Despite pledging to reduce calories as part of their commitment to the Department of Health s Responsibility Deal, investigations find that food companies in England have failed to reduce sugar and calories in some of their best known brands, according to an investigation by a leading UK newspaper. Coca-Cola for instance has reduced sugar in Sprite, but not in Coke, while Wall s has only reduced the calorie content of children s ice cream rather than across the board. Nestle has introduced lower calorie products to the market, but the calorie and sugar content of popular products such as KitKat bars have remained the same. Experts blame the lack of action on the voluntary nature of the Deal and call for stricter action. STRANGE BUT TRUE The National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) has published guidelines setting out the key components that need to be included in lifestyle weight management programmes in order for them to be effective, while acknowledging that there is no magic bullet to tackling obesity. The guidelines are an update of those published in UK: Birmingham city refuses planning consent for 15 fast food outlets The city of Birmingham s ban on new fast food outlets introduced in March 2012 has led to refusals for 15 fast food outlets in the subsequent two years. The ban also placed a limit on the amount of takeaway shops in shopping areas to 10 per cent. Birmingham has one of the worst ratios of people to takeaway shops with 1 shop for every 1,097 people. Two-thirds of the city s population is overweight or obese. Global obesity: revised estimates from the Global Burden of Disease study New estimates on global obesity prevalence suggest as many as 2.1 billion adults and children may be overweight or obese. The global study reviewed 1,769 surveys, studies and reports using data collected between 1980 and 2013 in 183 countries. The report suggests that up to a third of the world s population are now either overweight or obese and concludes that during this 33 year period no national success stories were found. The report was published in the Lancet in June 2014 and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Let s go! My Government will introduce a Bill that will allow developers to drill under land without the owner s permission. As pupils are at their desks for eight weeks longer than parliamentarians, a pupil at a primary school in Aldershot prepares for a visit from Education Secretary Michael Gove. The maximum fines that can be imposed by magistrates are to rise hugely, under new proposals for England and Wales. The maximum fines will quadruple: drivers who speed on the motorway - a level-four crime - could be fined up to 10,000, while the maximum fine for a level-three offence, such as being drunk and disorderly in public, and TV licence-fee evasion, would rise to 4,000. Women are finally cracking the glass ceiling of the judiciary, with record numbers being appointed to the upper judicial ranks, new figures show. However, black and ethnic minority candidates are not faring as well, making up only 11 per cent of all those put forward, or recommended, for a post. A couple in Norfolk took their 11 year-old son to their local GP and found themselves arrested and put in a police cell for neglecting their son. The child weighed 15 stone which these days counts as child abuse. It is obviously not good to be fat. And the parents were ill advised to explain that their son kept fit by spending hours on his Playstation. But do we really think that this child would be much better in a children s home run by the council? Shouldn t the police be more worried about the scores of police officers who are reported to be so fat they can t run 100 metres without collapsing in a heap? And talking about overweight people, what about social workers! You know all about invasions The new President of Ukraine meets the President of Russia at the D Day Commemorations of the largest seaborne invasion in history 70 years ago. J C HUGHES Scottish Solicitors All Criminal Cases Serious and Complex Crime Parole Board Hearings Recalls and Appeals Write to: J C H u g h e s F r e e p o s t G l a s g o w (no stamp required) or Call us FREE on Prisoners in Scotland Only TIP THE SCALES OF JUSTICE IN YOUR FAVOUR If you have ever served in the Armed Forces and you or your partner need help you may be interested to see what s on offer from: The Royal British Legion and SSAFA You can write to TRBL/SSAFA (Ref Inside Time) Freepost SW Borough High Street London SE1 1AA or tell your partner to call either the Royal Bitish Legion Contact Centre on (Mon - Sun 8am - 8pm) or SSAFA on Full details are shown in our advert in the classified section of Inside Information. Copies are available in all prison libraries Forensic Accountants CONFISCATION PROCEEDINGS UNDER POCA! Bartfields have considerable UK wide experience of analysing and revising prosecution benefit calculations within tight deadlines. (Legal aid available) Free prison visit for all pre-confsication hearing cases Recent Cases: Prosecution Benefit Bartfields Benefit Mr M 69,000 8,000 Mr C 3,684,000 47,000 Mrs D 271,000 45,000 Mr O 378,000 16,000 Mr L 1,015, ,000 Mrs N 785, ,000 Contact Raymond Davidson on Bartfields, Burley House, 12 Clarendon Road, Leeds, LS2 9NF.
15 Insidetime July 2014 Clueless about AIDs, 30 years on Newsround 15 Thirty years since the HIV virus was first discovered a new study suggests that many young Britons remain ignorant about AIDs. Those aged between 16 and 24 especially men, are among the most clueless when it comes to the disease according to the National AIDs Trust. The Trust say that about 98,400 people in Britain have HIV, including 21,900 who are unaware they are infected. And new cases among men who have sex with men reached a record high of 3,250 in % 26% 36% 57% 0 Number of female performers booked by the organisers of V festival for this year s comedy stage (there are 26 male comics). wrongly believe HIV-positive people can expect to live for only 10 years after being infected 95% are unaware of the chances of passing on HIV through unprotected sex is virtually zero if a sufferer is doing well on treatment 3,250 gay/bisexual men in Britain were diagnosed with HIV in 2012 incorrectly think it is illegal not to disclose HIV status to a beauty therapist, GP, tattooists, dentist employer or marital partner an estimated 41,100 men who have sex with men are living with HIV in Britain (42% of total) 33,984 diagnosed 7,300 undiagnosed Up from 2,960 in 2011 wrongly think being HIV-positive prevents someone from working as a nursery teacher, chef or with the mentally ill About 98,400 people in Britain are living with HIV s 77,610 diagnosed 21,900 undiagnosed There were 490 HIV deaths in Britain in 2012 of gay men are unaware of emergency treatment PEP can be taken up to 72 hours after possible HIV infection 6,360 new HIV diagnosis in Britain in ,560 men 1,800 Women Down from 7,930 in 2011 Source: National AIDS Trust 300% Planned increase in fines for speeding on the motorway, up to 10,000. 2% Amount of surplus food supermarkets redistribute to charities. 15,000 Children believed to be missing from the education system and not registered at any school. 29% Of British girls under 19 are obese or overweight, making them the fattest in Europe. 1,342,599 Craig Brazier s winnings after he bet just 2 on six horses in different races. 84% Of the world s population has heard of the Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo. 21,000 Bottles of alcoholic lager sold in subsidised House of Commons bars during 2012 and Just 498 bottles of alcohol-free lager were bought in the same period. Canter Levin & Berg 1 Temple Square, 24 Dale Street, Liverpool, L2 5RL 10 Working days commuters spend in traffic every year. 679 Violent re offenders who commit a crime within a year of leaving prison, up from 355 less than a decade ago.
16 Insidetime July Newsround m Do you know...? l A record number of people are shunning the daily commute and working from home. There are now 4.2million home workers - the highest level since records began in The figure is 14 per cent of the workforce, according to research from the Office for National Statistics. l The CIA launched its Twitter account with a clever quip. We can neither confirm nor deny that this is our first tweet, read the first post from the account yesterday afternoon. Twitter quickly verified the account of the nation s intelligence service with a blue tick. Within hours the account attracted over 300,000 followers. l English people drink more than the Scots, Welsh or Northern Irish - but they also live longer and earn more money. Meanwhile, the Welsh are best at recycling, the Scots are the most patriotic, and the cheapest rents are found in Northern Ireland. The health, wealth and habits of the four nations are laid bare in an Office for National Statistics report. l A Crane chick has hatched in the wild in the west of England for the first time in 400 years. Cranes were once common in the region, but - being a popular delicacy - they were hunted widely, and became extinct in in the 17th century. l Ever wondered why the plane passenger next to you, hiding behind sunglasses and nursing a vodka tonic, wasn t very chatty? It could be because they were dead. Dead passengers on British Airways flights used to be given sunglasses, a vodka and tonic and a copy of the Daily Mail to disguise them from other passengers. l Scientists are only two years away from creating babies using three people, if the techniques are made legal. By using eggs from two women and sperm from one man, deadly mitochondrial diseases like muscular dystrophy, can be avoided. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority says that more tests should be allowed. l Text messaging while at the wheel could be more deadly than drink driving, suggests new government research. A study found that driver reaction times slowed by 46% when they were making a call on a hand-held mobile, by 37% when texting while driving and by 27% during hands-free calls. For those on the drink-drive limit reaction times were reduced by 13%. l There are 10,000 butlers employed in Britain. In the 1970s there were only a few hundred left, but as the ranks of the rich have swelled in recent years, the profession has experienced a revival. l Net migration in the UK was 212,000 in the year ending December 2013, according to the Office for National Statistics. This was 35,000 up on the previous year, owing to an increase in the number of immigrants from other EU countries. l 25% of the world s population is shortsighted. By 2030 this is expected to rise to 33% as children spend more time staring at computer screens. l A third of students don t think they re getting value for money, up from 18% two years a ago. Despite tuition fees now costing up to 9,000 a year, first and second-year undergraduates receive 14 hours and nine The 2014 Global Summit of Women, which brought more than 1,000 women from more than 80 countries together to discuss how to increase women s economic opportunities all over the world gets underway. minutes of formal teaching a week on average. That s only ten minutes more than in 2012, before tuition fees were tripled. l Hundreds of police officers have failed soon-to-be-mandatory fitness tests. A total of 851 of the 30,000 male and female officers taking part from 39 forces fell short in a 15m bleep shuttle run, the College of Policing said. The test becomes compulsory in September. l Prostitutes and drug dealers are to boost Britain s economic recovery. The two industries will be included in the national accounts for the first time, reports the Financial Times. The move will help add 5% to the UK s gross domestic product. The Office for National Statistics said prostitution could add 5.3bn to GDP and illegal drugs could add 4.4bn. l Three England players appear in a ranking of the richest 10 players taking part in the World Cup. This makes England the strongest performer in the tournament s wealth league. Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard appear in the top 10, which was compiled by Wealth-X. l Only 32 days in Wimbledon s 125 year history have been rained off completely. Wettest year was 1997 when 118mm of rain fell. Warmest year was The winners of this year s gentlemen s and ladies singles competitions will each receive 1,760,000, an increase of 10% on last year. l Average homes in Albert Square, in London s East End, would cost 355,000, meaning laundrette worker Dot Cotton, on 16,000 a year, would be out on the streets. Factory worker Sally Webster would need to earn 31,000 for a mortgage in Salford - where Coronation Street is set - where homes cost 135,000. Get out of jail and into a job Are you a highly motivated individual with desire for a new start on release? Summit is the UK s specialist in online retailing, and we work with some of Europe s leading brands to help them sell more online. We have over 150 staff in 4 offices working in online marketing, ecommerce and retail advice. Working with us you ll gain skills in the fast-moving world of internet marketing as well as valuable business training that could lead to well-paid career opportunities after release. From our media centre in HMP Wolds you ll deal directly with clients and work together with our teams based in Hull and London to deliver online marketing campaigns. No prior experience working in business or the internet is necessary we ll provide all the training. So what are you waiting for? Make the change and apply today! To apply you need: Cat C (Wolds), at least 18 months left to serve before Cat D, good literacy and numeracy, basic computer skills, clean MDT, total commitment. Request an application pack: Charlotte Broughton-May, Summit Ltd, HMP Humber (Wolds site), Everthorpe, East Yorkshire, HU15 2JZ. solicitors Locked up?...we hold the key. Give our experienced Prison Law Team a call on to find out how we can help you. Web: 63 Hamilton Square, Birkenhead Wirral CH41 5JF Please contact John Molleskog or John Pendlebury
17 Insidetime July 2014 Website Comments 17 Website comments via Punishment without purpose Mark Day - Head of Policy & Communications Prison Reform Trust wrote that new research reveals that the government s changes to the Incentive and Earned Privileges (IEP) Scheme are undermining fairness, decency and rehabilitation behind bars. S - Grayling must know that the first weeks in prison are the hardest, so what does he do, spitefully makes them harder. Suicides and self-harm will increase because of these malicious and spiteful measures, but does Grayling or any politician give a toss, no, because, it s what the public want, they chorus. J - I strongly believe that being taken from your family, locked away and having your dignity stripped from you is punishment enough. It is ridiculous that prisoners are not permitted their own belongings, this would save the government thousands of pounds. A - PSI 30/2013 aims to bust pretty much You re inside. Get us onside. ABR Solicitors are experts at helping with: Cash seizure and forfeiture proceedings Restraint orders Confiscation proceedings POCA civil recovery proceedings Third party interests Enforcement proceedings Certificates of inadequacy Appeals against confiscation orders Offices across the North of England us at or write to us at the address detailed below. ABR Solicitors Britannia Chambers 4 Oxford Place Leeds LS1 3AX everyone maintaining innocence, but not having a current appeal, to Basic. It s already started, although not all nicks are applying it uniformly. And the suicide and self-harm rates are rocketing. Unrelated? I think not.... Child pornography: computer convictions Inside Justice wrote that anecdotal evidence tells them that over 90% of people accused of having child-porn on their computer will eventually plead guilty. E - I got a phone call one afternoon, usual story, computer is running like a piece of crap. Web pages slow to load, processor flat out at 100% all the time, machine basically unusable. Pc was a kids bedroom/homework machine linked wireless through the BT router. After some digging I found that the PC had been hijacked, a server program installed and it was sending out porn spam clips attached to s. The scary thing is that the tracking would have traced back to the IP address of a completely innocent person who actually We can take on proceedings after conviction or after a confiscation order has been made. ABR Solicitors A talented, determined and intelligent team. Exceptionally approachable and easy to work with. This is a very ambitious firm with a bright future ahead of it. Chambers UK ABR Solicitors knew sod all about how computers and the internet actually worked. Freelance IT Consultant - We were able to prove in this way that the files [Indecent Images]had not originally been downloaded onto that computer, but had been copied to it from elsewhere. Combined with a girl s statement that she had seen one police officer plug a USB stick into the computer, this was enough for the entire case to be discontinued before it even reached the committal stage. I was all set to give expert evidence against the two officers in a misconduct trial, but the police and CPS decided not to pursue it. So those two officers are still employed and have pretty much got away with attempting to set up an innocent person by planting CP on their computer.... There is no work here Michael Slater, a prisoner at HMP Northumberland, wrote about the lack of work there. A - I was in HMP Northumberland until 6 weeks ago, and I can confirm every single point he makes. I could not put it better myself. The regime has gone backwards over the last 6 months, and every single person is as annoyed as him. K -... as people we only take so much before that release valve is open, and thanks to Grayling when this one opens I think Strangeways will look like a minor row with the system. GRAYLING, get your head in reality or get out of a game you have no right to be in. E - In the most recent Inspection report the prison inspectors said: There were insufficient activity spaces for the population. Too many prisoners were unemployed. We found nearly a third of the population locked up during the core day. Workshop facilities and education provision were good but spaces were not always filled. SAMUEL ROSS SOLICITORS Prison, Family, Housing & Criminal Law Specialists SR An experienced friendly and approachable firm of solicitors you can trust to fight for your rights. Prison Law & Criminal Defence Specialist Areas Include: Conviction & Sentence Appeals Life Sentence Appeals IPP Sentence Appeals Parole Board Hearings Adjudications Re-Categorisation Human Rights/Judicial Reviews Family Law(Contact, Care Proceedings) Housing(Homeless,Possession etc) Contact: Angela or Pedro at: Samuel Ross Solicitors 253 Camberwell New Road London SE5 0TH T - I was at HMP Northumberland... my experience inmates and about 400 jobs? Gym sessions cancelled, with no warning. Only 5 library sessions (on hb8 and 6) from Jan until May... many of the staff couldn t be bothered; s and post delivered days later - eventually got a letter that d been in the prison for nigh on 2 weeks. Thanks I would like to thank the staff at Inside Time for their help in directing me to Sale Insurance Services. We were refused by Aviva, our long term insurers, when I contacted them to advise them of changes in our circumstances; we are having a gentleman to stay who was recently released from prison. The young lady at Sale was most competent and arranged our insurance. Two marvellous organisations. From Mr Fox SIS INSURANCE Second chance! 1 in 5 people are routinely refused insurance (See full advert page 40) 2014 Inside Time website by numbers Unique visitors last month 368,989 So far in Number of visits to site 3,804,918 Number of hits 41,261,686 Website comments posted 1,140 Number of Factsheet downloads 156,198 Facebook Likes 1,591 Twitter Followers 4,595 Cornerstone Chambers Championing the Cause of Justice! Vindicating the Voiceless! Defending and Upholding the Truth! Exonerating the Innocent! Protecting your Interests! Specialists in: Criminal Trials, Bail Applications, Plea & Case Management Hearings, Sentences, Confiscation Proceedings & Appeals Cornerstone Chambers 15 Old Bailey London EC4M 7EF Direct Dial
18 18 Diary Insidetime July 2014 Month by Month by Rachel Billington Rachel checks over a variety of prison magazines and suggests that every prison should have one. In London Rachel sees a graduate of YOI Feltham on the London stage I first realised the pleasure of writing for magazines when I was at school. My small London convent wasn t heavy on discipline - actually we were all so well-behaved we hardly needed it ( apart from my younger sister but that s another story.) Even so we were told what to learn about and what to write and what our views should be. So an independent friends and family magazine gave a whole new kind of freedom. Through writing in it I found I held all kinds of views I d never suspected and was equally surprised by the views of other children. In fact it was an important part of growing up. Obviously magazines written and printed in prison are not likely to be quite like that. But the six I ve been looking at over the last month all have their own independent spirit which reflects the men and women working on them. My best design award - no prize, I m afraid - goes to STIR, issue six of a large format magazine edited by Alex, Benno, Dean, Gareth Iain, Jeff and Jok in HMP Shotts. However the paper has contributors from six other Scottish prisons: HMP Barlinnie, HMPYOI Cornton Vale, HMP Dumfries, HMP Glenochil, HMP Greenock and HMP Low Moss. It is run in co-operation with New College Lanarkshire. The design-led feel to the mag with great paintings well-produced slightly disguises that there s good articles and poetry too but this is an arts production not something for information on other subjects. HMP Oakwood have just come up with its first in-house magazine, NEWS OF THE WOOD. It s introduced by director John McLaughlin who confides that before his career in the prison service he spent twelve years as a professional snooker player. Editor Raff, reporters Ben and Paul have filled their pages with information, ranging from a question and answer about veterans in custody to an interview with a Resettlement Co-ordinator. There s also puzzles and prizes. This is a more than respectable start-up edition. VOICE OF THE VILLE is onto its fifty-fifth edition. They ve elected to make it a World War 1 commemoration edition. The terrific cover quotes a line from the poem, Anthem for Doomed Youth, written by Wilfred Owen who died in the last year of the war: What passing-bells for these who die as cattle? It continues: Only the monstrous anger of the guns. It is always impressive when prisoners decide to contemplate the wider world. But as I m at present writing a novel about Gallipoli, one of the campaigns of WWI, I suppose I would think that. Present day problems are answered in a lively Dear Delroy question and answer, eg Why are we in lockdown again? A completely different kind of publication is the TRAVELLERS IN PRISON NEWS. This is produced by The Traveller Equality Project and strives both to give a bit of entertainment with, for example, a life story from Terry Smith and a review of a new book called Travellers Tales. It also has targeted news such as how to get a scrap dealer s licence. Answer: you need both a Scrap Metal Insurance and a Waste Carrier s Licence. There is also some good advice for travellers whose numbers are increasing in prison. Michael from a prison in South East England suggests that losing your temper isn t the best response to bullying or intimidation. After all, he writes sagely, People are scared of what they do not know. Illustrated with photographs, this newsletter is a valiant attempt to connect with travellers who feel isolated in prison. TOR VIEWS comes, as you might or might not guess, from HMP Dartmoor. Its edited by writer in residence Jessica with her team of Chris, Dan, Les, Adam, Kaela, George, Ben and John. The edition I read is called Food Special... may contain nuts and two ounces of meat. But the emphasis is on writing with two pages of reviews, crossword puzzles, poetry and plenty of question and answers plus a good moan about the burgeoning programmes about prisons on television. As the author, PW on B wing writes, Trouble is prison life is pretty damn boring which is why the makers of all these television programmes edit them in such a way they resemble The Shawshank Redemption rather than real life. Tor Views is offering a 5 cash prize for the best contribution to the next issue. Are you currently serving a suspended sentence? If your suspended sentence was imposed before December 2012 but activated after this time you may be entitled to compensation if any time you served on remand in relation to the same offence was not deducted from your sentence. If you are currently serving a suspended sentence and believe you may be entitled to compensation please contact: Ben Hoare Bell LLP 47 John Street Sunderland SR1 1QU BRIEFS LAW SOLICITORS Prison Law Adjudication, Parole, Recall Criminal Defence Appeals Please quote FREE and contact Catriona, Claire, Edward, illsa or Wahida Tel: / Mob: / Briefs Law Limited, 48 Blythe Road, London W14 0HA RUSSELL-COOKE SOLICITORS Dedicated department of Prison Law solicitors with specific expertise in: Lifer & IPP Parole Reviews Adjudications Judicial Reviews Bedford Row London WC1R 4BX Recall Representation Re-categorisation Sentence Progression Prison Law Supervisor appointed by the Legal Services Commission
19 Insidetime July 2014 Diary 19 I know there are many many more magazines out there so these are just a few that entertain, inform and encourage men (Where are you women journalists?) stuck behind bars. In my view, no prison should be without one.... n It s not often you see a graduate of Feltham Prison on the London stage. Nathan Whitfield is playing Guildenstern in a startling production of Shakespeare s Hamlet at the Riverside Studios. This version of the play, much edited and directed by Zoe Ford, is set in a very realistic prison surround - supposedly HMP Liverpool. Adam Trigg HMP Ashfield is on its eighth issue of LOOK INSIDE. Edited by Phillip Nix it has twenty eight pages including articles about The Open University, Library News with information about the Six Book Challenge and a good piece by P & N on the grounds and gardens at Ashfield. There is also an interesting set of reactions to the recent production of the musical Godspell at Ashfield. Russ, a music orderly, writes, To underestimate the power and therapeutic value of drama and music within a prison environment is to miss a very big rick for aiding and complementing rehabilitation... On the back page the Prison Reform Trust advertises this year s writing competition. Take note anyone with a pen in your hand. Closing date August 11th. Adam Trigg An air of menace and latent violence is created from the start. Hamlet, played with convincing intensity by Adam Lawrence, is the young heir not to a kingdom but to a crime syndicate family. In prison he shows himself to be a sad, questioning kind of character, not the sort to survive very long. The violence reaches a climax in the bloodbath at the end but meanwhile Nathan as Guildenstern and Christopher York as his friend, Rosencratz, are frightening enough to keep the audience on the edge of their seats. Talking to Nathan before watching the play, I am surprised to discover that he was always keener on acting than acting up, although he admits that he was in and out of trouble from the age of thirteen. On the other hand, his London accent and manner probably helped him to get the part. After leaving Feltham, he won a coveted place at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and despite a few hiccoughs - he spent two months on tag after a drugs conviction at the Isle of Wight Festival - he s now set to make himself a great career. Nathan is twenty-four, his director Zoe twenty-seven, so I m not surprised when Nathan says the aim is to make the play accessible to younger audiences. Schools and even prisons could be a target audience. I find it fascinating how easily famous lines like To be or not to be... fit into a modern prison setting and how quickly one accepts that the problems of the Court of Denmark are recreated half a century later in Her Majesty s Prison. When I ask Nathan what he feels about his own transformation, he answers, You can get on if you ve got dreams and aspirations. It s daunting before you start but once you get going, it s like a snap of the fingers. Criminal Appeals Ledgisters Solicitors ledgisters Offices in London and Manchester féä v àéüá An exclusively criminal practice offering a nationwide An exclusively service criminal to those practice wishing offering to have a nationwide their conviction service or to sentence those wishing reviewed. to have their conviction or sentence reviewed. If If you you feel feel there there has has been been a miscarriage miscarriage of of justice,, are are considering considering an an appeal appeal and and/or /or require a second opinion on your appeal prospects, call call our Roy Appeals Ledgister Department now on: on: Warple Way London W3 0RX 4, The Lanchesters, Fulham Palace 40 Road, Princess Hammersmith, Street, Manchester London W6 M1 9ER6DE Together, Together, we shall pursue justice justice Regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority Contracted with the Legal Aid Agency
20 20 Prisons and Probation Ombudsman Insidetime July 2014 Prisoner property amicable resolution, but, if this does not prove possible, we will make recommendations through a formal report to the prison. Invariably our recommendations are accepted and acted upon. PRISONS AND PROBATION OMBUDSMAN for England and Wales Nigel Newcomen CBE Prisons & Probation Ombudsman Investigations by my office into prisoner complaints are important in a number of ways: they help safeguard against unfairness and abuse in prison, they provide a means for prisoners to gain independent scrutiny of the things that concern them, they allow legitimate frustrations to be vented and, on the other hand, where complaints are not upheld, they also provide a means of assuring all involved of the appropriateness of actions and decisions by prison staff. While my office investigates some very serious complaints, including allegations of assault, bullying and racism, the most common issue is lost or damaged property. Since the office was founded twenty years ago, property has consistently been the most common source of complaints. So for example in 2012/13, property complaints made up a fifth of all the eligible complaints received from prisoners. Property complaints also have the highest uphold rates (over 57%) where we find against the authorities and in favour of the complainant. This suggests that management of prisoners property is an area of very poor practice in the Prison Service and one which needs to improve. Most property complaints concern small value items, but I know their loss or damage can still mean a lot to prisoners with very little. Unfortunately, too many of the issues involved could and should have been dealt with more effectively and efficiently by the prisons concerned. This leaves prisoners in limbo, creates unnecessary frustration and tension and leads to complaints. These in turn lead to scarce prison staff resources being used to investigate matters and to argue about responsibility and compensation. Ultimately, too many cases also require independent investigation by my office. This is not a good use of public money. In response to these concerns, I recently published a report looking at the themes arising from our property investigations between April and September 2012 and setting out five key lessons that prisons need to learn if they are to improve the management of prisoners property. The administration of prisoners property needs to improve. Typically, complaints about prisoners property show up a lack of attention to maintaining proper procedures and keeping good records, particularly at those key points where property is often alleged to have gone missing or been damaged, for example during cell clearances or on transfer. The case of Mr A is a good example of where poor administration by staff resulted in clothing being unaccountably lost during transfer. In situations like this, if the prison had responsibility for the clothing and it is lost or damaged, we will recommend that appropriate compensation is paid to the prisoner: Mr A complained that his suit and tie, which were held in storage, went missing following a prison transfer. Mr A said these items were needed for court appearances and he wanted compensation to replace them. During the investigation, both the sending and receiving prisons said that the clothes could not be found but had been transferred. However, the prisons had neither the property cards nor cell clearance records to confirm this. As the expected audit trail was not maintained by the prisons, the complaint was upheld and a mediated (negotiated) settlement was reached to provide a reasonable and agreed amount of compensation for the items. When and where appropriate, prisons must take responsibility for their actions Despite perfectly clear national policies, too often prisons do not accept responsibility for items of prisoners property which they have taken into their possession, for instance when transferring prisoners or when items are sent to the prison laundry. Mr B s stereo was damaged during a transfer between prisons. It was accepted that it had been undamaged when Mr B packed it, but neither the sending nor receiving prison nor the escort company would assume responsibility. National policy (PSI02/2012) is clear that, if there is doubt as to where the loss or damage occurred, responsibility lies with the sending prison. Compensation and an apology were recommended. The clear rules about when property can be destroyed must be upheld National guidance and the law are clear that any destruction of legitimate property must be authorised and proportionate. In the example of Mr C, we found that his items of property should not have been destroyed as they had not created the health and safety risk that had been asserted: Mr C complained following the destruction of three mini tools by reception staff on his admission into the prison. The prison told Mr C that the tools were destroyed on health and safety grounds. Mr C said that, if he had known they were to be destroyed, he would have arranged to have them handed out. The description of the tools offered by Mr C during the course of the investigation suggested that possession of them did not Complaints give rise to a criminal offence; that the items were not inherently dangerous; and their storage would not have presented a proven health hazard. As a result, they did not meet the criteria for disposal outlined in the Prisoner Property PSI. The destruction of the mini tools was found to be disproportionate and not in line with Prison Service guidance. Mr C should have been allowed to either store the items or arrange for them to be handed out. His complaint was upheld and compensation recommended. Staff need to implement the special rules governing religious items and volumetric control Since being appointed Ombudsman, I have prioritised equality and diversity issues and last year published a learning lessons bulletin providing a wider context to religious complaints. Unfortunately, there are still too many occasions when I have to step in to ensure appropriate religious items are allowed in possession. Mr D, a Muslim, had his plastic ablutions jug - used for ritual washing - removed because it did not appear on the prison s facilities list. We considered this to be an inappropriate and unnecessary interference with Mr D s reasonable practice of his faith. We recommended that the jug be returned to Mr D and appropriate amendments made to both the local facilities list and the national PSI on Faith and Pastoral Care to make clear which religious artefacts are allowed in possession. Fair and reasonable compensation should be paid where this is appropriate In determining whether any compensation should be paid, investigators will first examine property cards and other paperwork to ensure that items alleged to have been lost or damaged actually belonged to the complainant and that the prison has logged the items correctly. Prisoners would do well to read the property PSI (12/2011) and the new Incentive and Earned Privileges PSI (30/2013) in the prison library. These explain the role and importance of property cards, facilities lists and volumetric control. For example, prisoners need to know that, when they sign a property card on arrival at a prison, they are accepting that this is all the property they have, either in possession or in storage. If anything goes missing and was not on the list, the prison is unlikely to accept a responsibility for any loss. It is a prisoner s responsibility to check the list is correct before signing it. If we uphold a complaint and believe compensation is appropriate, we will try to mediate (agree) a settlement with the prison on your behalf. This can often achieve a quick and In deciding on the size of any compensation, we will take into account the current cost of replacing the item (often by looking up the cheapest option on the internet) and make an appropriate reduction for wear and tear. If the property is claimed to be of high value or a designer brand, we will generally ask for receipts, unless the item s nature and value are clear from the property card, so keeping receipts will help your case. Lessons The key lessons for prisons from our recent report focus on the need to improve the administration of prisoners property, the need to accept responsibility where this is appropriate, the need for proportionality when destroying items, the need to ensure authorised religious artefacts are allowed in possession and the need to pay fair and reasonable compensation if this is necessary. The report also urges prisons to make better use of photographic technology to evidence the decisions taken by their staff. Overall, however, the report is a demand that prisons improve their poor management of prisoners property so that the current levels of loss and damage are reduced and wasteful arguments over responsibility and compensation are avoided. If this can be achieved, unnecessary frustrations among prisoners can be reduced and public money saved. How to complain to the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman prisonimage.org l The PPO investigates complaints from prisoners and probation supervisees in England and Wales, and from immigration detainees anywhere in the UK. l We are not part of the Prison Service, the Probation Service, NOMS or UKBA. We are independent, impartial and unbiased. l We can investigate complaints about most aspects of your management, supervision, care, and treatment. We can t investigate complaints about medical treatment or about decisions by a court or the Parole Board. l Before you complain to us you must complete all the stages of the internal complaints process first. If you are still unhappy: l write to us within three months of receiving the final response l send us a short note telling us why you are not happy with the response to your complaint l send us your completed complaint forms - we will copy and return them to you. (If you don t have the complaint forms you can still complain to us but it will take us a bit longer to respond). Write to us at our NEW ADDRESS: Prisons and Probation Ombudsman, PO Box 70769, London SE1P 4XY