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Wednesday, 31 October 2012

IPP Prisoners Familys Campaign: Family Campaign of the inhuman IPP sentence outsi...

IPP Prisoners Familys Campaign: Family Campaign of the inhuman IPP sentence outsi...: Posted by katherine gleeson at  "IPP "Petition.Thank you for your support.

Family Campaign of the inhuman IPP sentence outside No10

Posted by katherine gleeson at  "IPP "Petition.Thank you for your support.
IPP Family Campaign No 10

IPP Prisoners Familys Campaign: IPP POLL AND BLOG (registration required to reply)...

IPP Prisoners Familys Campaign: IPP POLL AND BLOG (registration required to reply)...:

IPP POLL AND BLOG (registration required to reply)

IPP Prisoners Familys Campaign: What IPP’S and their families don’t de...

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What IPP’S and their families don’t de...

IPP Prisoners Familys Campaign: European Court of Human Rights rules that detainin...

IPP Prisoners Familys Campaign: European Court of Human Rights rules that detainin...: European Court of Human Rights rules that detaining IPP prisoners post tariff without access to appropriate offending behaviour courses i...

IPP Prisoners Familys Campaign: IPP Solicitor, Shahida Begum examines the delays i...

IPP Prisoners Familys Campaign: IPP Solicitor, Shahida Begum examines the delays i...: IPP Solicitor, Shahida Begum examines the delays in D transfer's "IPP "Petition.Thank you for your support. He climbed until he sa...

IPP Prisoners Familys Campaign: IPP prisoners 'should be released' a"blatant injus...

IPP Prisoners Familys Campaign: IPP prisoners 'should be released' a"blatant injus...: Cambrige Post CN on line Prison governors will call for the immediate release of 2,500 pri...

IPP prisoners 'should be released' a"blatant injustice".

Cambrige Post CN on line
Prison governors will call for the immediate release of 2,500 prisoners who were jailed indefinitely for the public's protection (IPP) and have now served more than their minimum tariff.

Eoin McLennan-Murray, president of the Prison Governors Association, will describe the sentences as a "blatant injustice".

Prison governors should have a duty to speak out, he will say, and will urge the Government to "urgently review those cases with a view to immediate release, unless there is clear evidence that they still present an unacceptably high risk of harm to the public".

The governors' claims over the ineffectiveness of short-term prison sentences were criticised last year, but now form the focus of Justice Secretary Ken Clarke's rehabilitation revolution, he will say.

"This year we will be debating an issue of fairness relating to sentences at the other end of the sentencing scale (IPP), and if passed, calling on the Government to urgently review those cases with a view to immediate release, unless there is clear evidence that they still present an unacceptably high risk of harm to the public.

"It is possible that such a resolution may excite some commentators, like last year we may be criticised, but we should not be deterred from speaking out when we see blatant injustice. In fact, as professional governors it should be our duty."

Figures from the Ministry of Justice showed there were 2,468 IPP prisoners who were in jail beyond their minimum tariff on January 19 and, as of February 5, 276 of these were still inside more than two years after their minimum sentence expired.

Mr McLennan-Murray will also warn that if the Government succeeds in cutting the prison population, which was at a record high of 85,495 in England and Wales at the start of the month, then jails will close.

"If the actions of this coalition Government match their political rhetoric, then we will be managing a smaller prison population," he will say.

"We can expect to see prisons close and that, of course, will translate into fewer jobs."

Friday, 5 October 2012

IPP Solicitor, Shahida Begum examines the delays in D transfer's

He climbed until he saw
By Shahida Begum , from insidetime issue  2012
Solicitor, Shahida Begum examines the delays in transfer to Category D prisons

A transfer to open conditions is a significant step for any indeterminate sentence prisoner.  It is often only when a prisoner is transferred to open conditions, where he can be more fully tested, that the Parole Board will recognise his ostensible transformation from ‘caged animal’ to human being.  If he is able to evidence the transformation, the Parole Board is more likely to find him fit for society.
In recent years prolonged delays in transferring prisoners to open conditions has become widespread.  Prisoners have been forced to sit and wait with their minds having little to contemplate except hopes of eventual release.  As indicated above, any such delay is significant, as an indeterminate sentence prisoner’s security category has a direct bearing on his prospects of release.
There have been a number of legal challenges to this delay.  The first of such challenges, and all of the lead claims, were brought by Michael Purdon solicitors, who have made much of the running on this issue.  Jude Bunting of Tooks Chambers has worked with Michael Purdon solicitors and other solicitors firms, on this issue.
The two lead claims, Smith and Haines, argued that the delays in transferring indeterminate sentence prisoners are unlawful, given that the Secretary of State for Justice is under a public law duty to provide such prisoners with the systems and resources that prisoners serving those sentences needed to demonstrate to the Parole Board by the time of the expiry of their tariff periods, or reasonably soon thereafter, that it was no longer necessary for the protection of the public that they should remain in detention (see, for example, R. (Cawser) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2003] EWCA Civ 1522, Walker v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2008] 1 W.L.R. 1977, and Wells v Parole Board [2010] 1 A.C. 553).
In Smith and Haines, the Secretary of State has accepted that there had been an unreasonable delay in transferring the claimants to open conditions due to there being insufficient places in those prisons, and that the failure to make sufficient places available so as to enable them to be transferred within a reasonable period of time amounted to a breach of the public law duty to do so.
The only outstanding issue, namely the legality of the Secretary of State’s policy of not transferring pre-tariff prisoners to open conditions pending the reduction in the overall backlog, will be tested by the Courts in an upcoming claim, Haney, which is due to be decided in the coming months.
In October 2011, the Secretary of State recognised some of the problems, and introduced a new prioritisation policy.  However, this policy has so far only affected post-tariff prisoners.
There are few precise figures as to how many indeterminate sentence prisoners, who have been approved for transfers to open, remain in closed conditions.  The Secretary of State has indicated that the prioritisation policy has had an effect in clearing the backlog.
It is highly questionable whether the Secretary of State’s decision to prioritise post-tariff over pre-tariff prisoners for transfer to open conditions was reasonable. Distinguishing between the status of a prisoner on the basis that one set is likely to have served a longer period in custody because the government is still working to improve the efficiency of the prison service so they get better at managing queues, is arguably unlawful.To that end, after pressure from various prisoner representatives, the National Offender Management Service repeatedly suggested that a “review” of the position of pre- tariff prisoners would take place in “early 2012”.  More recently, the National Offender Management Service has made a further concession.  Indeterminate sentence prisoners who have been approved for transfer to open conditions but remain in closed conditions will now be entitled to apply for, and if risk-assessed as suitable, undertake releases on temporary licence (“ROTLs”).  Apparently, a PSI is now due to be published at the end of June 2012 which will set out the new policy on ROTLs.
During a pre-tariff prisoner’s wait for a delayed transfer to open conditions, they may use this upcoming PSI and ask for prison governors in the closed estate to assess them for ROTLs.
An important priority is to ensure that all prisoners regardless oftheir status are provided with the support and necessary resources to demonstrate a reduction in risk. It is hoped that the new PSI will ensure that any proper consideration by the Parole Board will not diminish as a result of the operation of the current 2011 policy.A refusal to consider indeterminate sentence prisoners for whom the Secretary of State has approved transfer to open conditions pursuant to the new policy may well lead to judicial review proceedings.  Shahida Begum is a Criminal Solicitor at Cooper Rollason solicitors LLP.  She is also a member of Midlands Human Rights Lawyers Group, Human Rights Lawyers Association, and the founder of CEIA a charity specialising in human rights advocacy.
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Comments about this article
10/7/2012 B Mills
It is important that those serving indeterminate sentences are given the chance to prove their readiness to return to society and to be able to serve their sentence in the knowledge that they will be treated fairly and in with the same rigour as the law which sentenced them.How can we expect individuals to respect the system and strive to deliver a level of confidence to the Parole Board when they constantly see the light at the end of the tunnel being extinguished?When one see those who have committed acts of terrorism and extreme violence claiming that their right to a family life exculdes them from extradition what hope is there that the "lifer" will keep his head down and get on serving his time with the knowledge that he is unlikely to be treated faily and in accordance with the law by "The System"?I have no axe to grind other than to see the law and it's intentions applied fairly ot everyone.

European Court of Human Rights rules that detaining IPP prisoners post tariff without access to appropriate offending behaviour courses is arbitrary and breaches human rights. What is the impact of this ruling?


By Sarah Daley and Tony Quinlan, from insidetime issue October 2012

A Kafkaesque nightmareThe widespread and enduring problems for prisoners serving indeterminate sentences are well known. Ever since the introduction of the IPP sentence there have been delays in Parole Board hearings and a failure to provide coursework required to provide evidence to those
hearings. Despite constant legal challenges and assurances that improvements were being made this may have seemed to all involved a
never-ending problem without a solution.

Following the recent decision of the European Court in James, Wells and Lee v. The United Kingdom (18 September 2012) there may be
some light at the end of this tunnel.

Three years after the negative decision of the House of Lords (R (James) (Lee) (Wells) [2009] 2 WLR 1149), the European Court have found that the detention of the three applicants (all mandatory IPP prisoners) post tariff without access to appropriate offending behaviour
courses was arbitrary and a breach therefore of Article 5 § 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the right not to be detained
without proper justification.
The reasoning of the court is refreshing in its logic and builds to its conclusion by careful reference to the domestic decisions from the
High Court through to the House of Lords. Our domestic courts had been critical in the extreme of the situation referring to the ‘comprehensively unresourced’ new sentence of the IPP, the ‘seriously defective structures’ in place and the ‘deplorable’ failure of the SSJ to
fulfil his duty to put the resources in place to make rehabilitation and the possibility of proving rehabilitation possible. However, despite such harsh criticism, the House of Lords did not reach the same conclusion as the European Court on the issue of whether this made post tariff detention arbitrary.

The crucial difference was that the European Court agreed with the applicants that part of the purpose of an IPP sentence was rehabilitation. They found that if detention was not related to the purpose of the sentence then that detention became arbitrary. If the tariff has expired, and there is insufficient provision of courses, the prisoner cannot show that he/ she no longer poses a risk, and has no opportunity to rehabilitate. In those circumstances detention is no longer for punishment, and serves no public protection or rehabilitative
purpose and is thereby arbitrary.

The problem addressed by this decision is sadly not a historic one despite constant assurances from the SSJ to the courts that considerable improvements had occurred. Over 6,000 IPP prisoners remain in the prison system and will undoubtedly want to know how this
decision may impact on them. 58% of serving IPP prisoners have served their tariffs, and a third of all IPPers have not completed a single
course. Just one in thirteen of all prisoners sentenced to IPP since 2005 have been released to date. The Parole Board still has a large backlog of indeterminate sentence prisoners awaiting overdue reviews; about 1,500 in February this year, more than half of whom were IPPers. A 2012 Ministry of Justice report shows that Parole Board members feel that
lack of access to courses, and under-resourcing generally, continue to be barriers to release for IPP prisoners.

But the legal position has now changed. Following the decision of the House of Lords the potential for successful judicial review of the failure to provide coursework became virtually impossible. However, now such
claims may be possible provided that the individual facts present a strong case. Many prisoners will have retrospective claims for damages if they can show that they have been detained post tariff without access to coursework which has caused them to be unable to prove to the Parole Board that they are no longer dangerous.

It is more difficult to say how this may affect indeterminate prisoners who have been waiting inordinately long for an effective hearing before the Parole Board and who may therefore have Article 5§ 4 claims. The European Court did not consider whether there was a breach of Article 5§ 4 because it decided the main Article 5§ 1 issue in the applicants’ favour. But in some cases such prisoners will have claims for breach of Article 5(1).

It is still open to the SSJ to appeal this decision and early press reports suggested that that was the Government’s intention. It is possible
therefore that there may be a further hearing before the Grand Chamber. But with the prospective repeal of IPP sentences by the LASPO Act 2012, and the fact that the European Court decided the case against the Government unanimously, basing much of its reasoning on the severe criticisms of the system by domestic judges, it may be that wiser counsel will prevail.

In any event such a challenge appears at present to be premised on political opposition to the supervisory function of the European Court rather than a coherent disagreement with the legal reasoning of the Court. Strasbourg has said with authority and clarity what has long been evident to all involved; that this is and has been a Kafkaesque nightmare of which we finally hope to see the end.

The ECtHR gave judgment on 18th September 2012 in James, Wells and Lee v UK ECHR 340 (2012). Counsel for Brett James was Pete
Weatherby QC of Garden Court North Chambers instructed by Erica Restall of Switalskis Solicitors. Tim Owen QC and Nick Armstrong of
Matrix Chambers acted for Wells and Lee, instructed by Mike Pemberton of Stephensons and Rachael Walsh of Russell & Russell. *

Kafkaesque: characteristic or reminiscent of the oppressive or nightmarish qualities of Franz Kafka’s fictional world.
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Comments about this article
2/10/2012 Eldad
A disappointingly imprecise article, as it doesn't give any idea how things are likely to actually pan out for IPP victims in the short term. Could you try again, making clear whether such people need to be chasing their solicitor, and what sort of time scales are likely to apply.
The Court found that indeterminate detention for the public protection could be justified under Article 5 § 1, but that it could not be allowed to open the door to arbitrary detention. Where a prisoner was in detention solely on the grounds of the risk that he was perceived to pose, regard had to be had to the need to encourage his rehabilitation.
In the European Court of Human Rights judgement in the case of James, Wells and Lee v. the United Kingdom (application nos. 25119/09, 57715/09 and 57877/09) which is not final, the Court held unanimously, that there had been a violation of Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security) of the European Convention on Human Rights concerning the applicants’ detention following the expiry of their tariff periods and until steps had been taken to progress them through the prison system with a view to their access to appropriate rehabilitative courses; and, by six votes to one, that there had been no violation of Article 5 § 4 (right to have lawfulness of detention decided speedily by a court) concerning Mr Wells’ and Mr Lee’s complaint about the possibility of their release.
The Court found that no separate issue arose under Article 5 § 4 regarding the applicants’ complaint about lack of access to courses as it had already been examined in the context of their complaint under Article 5 § 1. Furthermore, there had been no violation of Article 5 § 4 as concerned Mr Wells’ and Mr Lee’s complaint about the possibility of their release, as the Court found that they had failed to establish that the combination of the Parole Board and judicial review proceedings could not have resulted in an order for their release.
Under Articles 43 and 44 of the Convention, this Chamber judgement is not final. During the three-month period following its delivery, any party may request that the case be referred to the Grand Chamber of the Court. If such a request is made, a panel of five judges considers whether the case deserves further examination. In that event, the Grand Chamber will hear the case and deliver a final judgement. If the referral request is refused, the Chamber judgement will become final on that day.
Once a judgement becomes final, it is transmitted to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of supervision of its execution.
The way I read it that is that the Court did not find IPP sentences to be unlawful. Moreover, they did not find extended detention of IPP prisoners to be unlawful where programmes had been completed but the prisoner was still judged to be a risk to the public. Neither did they find that being detained because of being a risk to the public as being unlawful.
What they did find to be unlawful was the continued detention of IPP prisoners who through no fault of their own were being detained because they had not satisfied the Parole Board or UK Courts of a lowered risk through offending behaviour programmes which were either not available to them or because of the delays in enrolling IPP prisoners onto them.
4/10/2012 Sarah Daley and Tony Quinlan (article authors)
We cannot provide legal advice to individuals in this article. It is intended to set out generally speaking the kinds of claims that may be able to proceed following this judgement. Whether or not a claim can now proceed will depend on the detailed facts of your situation. You should contact a specialist advisor or solicitor for detailed legal advice about your particular situation.

As mentioned in the article the claims that can potentially now proceed are claims where it can be shown that a Claimant has been prevented from completing Offending Behaviour Programmes due to lack of availability and that this has caused them to be unable to prove to the Parole Board that they are no longer dangerous.
4/10/2012 Allyce Swift -
A welcoming step forward in my opinion. With this going through (obviously pending the result of any appeal made by Mr. Grayling) and hopefully the implementation of the abolishment of future IPP sentences once that part of LASPO is enacted, progress can be seen. I for one would like to say a huge thank you to Sarah Daley and Tony Quinlan for their hard work in relation to this matter. Progress is already apparent in the amount of IPPs being released in comparison to the past - and with the government replacing programmes and rolling out more it is all a step in the right direction - all be it a slow one.

IPP FEATURE: There are over 6,000 people in prison who arguably shouldn’t be there and have no release date, writes Sophie Barnes. Of this number about half have already served their time and have no release date.

  • Pics by decade_null (main) and Jason Nahrung (below) .
  • Sophie Barnes is a journalist interested in human rights issues. She recently graduated from the investigative journalism masters course at City University.
  • You can read more about IPP sentences on HERE and HERE.
Sophie Barnes
These ‘disappeared’, locked in prisons in England and Wales are held on IPPs (Indeterminate sentence for Public Protection), brought in by previous Labour Home secretary David Blunkett to appease a shocked electorate in the wake of the murder of eight-year-old schoolgirl Sarah Payne.
So invidious are these IPPs, leading former Justice Secretary Ken Clarke to describe them as ‘stain’ on the criminal justice system, that they were recently abolished but not only are people convicted in the past now stuck in the system, the IPPs are still being dished out despite the change in the law.
A stain on the criminal justice system
John Podmore, former governor of HMP Brixton, is horrified. ‘We’re locking them up not for what they’ve done, [but] for what they might do in the future,’ he says. There are currently 6,107 prisoners serving IPPs in the prison system in England and Wales. Prisoners serving these sentences have no idea when they will be released, and over half of these prisoners have gone over their tariff date.
In June the Government passed the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO) into law. This included the abolition of IPPs. However, three months down the line the Government has no strategy for dealing with the thousands of prisoners currently trapped in the system, and IPP sentences are still being handed out.
The IPP sentence was meant to demonstrate the Government’s tough approach to serious offenders. If a judge felt that offenders were a risk to society they could hand down an IPP sentence, which meant that after being imprisoned for a set amount of time offenders had to prove to the Parole Board that they were ready to rejoin society by completing certain rehabilitation programmes. The offender could only go in front of the Parole Board for their case to be reviewed once they had reached their tariff. In practice, this was meant to reduce the number of life sentences being handed out, while also demonstrating a tough approach towards dangerous and violent criminals.
However, IPPs became a safe fallback option for judges who were worried about a public backlash should their sentencing be too lenient and result in an offender committing a violent crime upon release. In the first two years of their existence the regulations on what crimes warranted an IPP sentence were so vague as to leave the decision entirely at the judge’s discretion. The previous Labour government noticed the massive numbers of prisoners serving IPPs and toughened up these regulations, but by this point there were already thousands serving IPPs for non-violent crimes.
A quick fix
To former prison officer, Callie Wingfield, the cyclical pattern is clear. ‘IPPs were dished out, but not properly thought out. When they were introduced they were a cop-out, a quick fix for judges to use when they didn’t want to take responsibility for a violent criminal leaving prison and committing another violent act. But there was no system put in place for dealing with people on these sentences. So that left loads of people in prison, which made it harder for them to complete courses because there was no space, which made the problem worse.’
Ben Gummer
Conservative MP Ben Gummer has joined this chorus of dissent. ‘They’re an outrageous abuse of civil liberties, I’m very glad the Government’s got rid of them.’ Gummer tried to schedule a debate on the future of current IPP prisoners for when Parliament reconvened in June, but he was unsuccessful.
However, when questioned about the future of thousands of prisoners still serving these sentences his response is less vehement. ‘People who have got existing sentences need to be given the chance to reduce those sentences,’ he says. When asked how the Government proposes to start implementing this, he talks about access to courses, and streamlining of the parole process but fails to mention specifics.
John Hewitson, ex-Governor of HMP Kirkham, and current Governor at HMP Styal, has experienced this explosion in numbers firsthand. ‘I took over as Governor of HMP Kirkham in 2007 – at that time we had 600 prisoners in total, and no IPPs. By the time I left in 2011 we had 650 prisoners, and there were approximately 160 IPPs.’
John Podmore also outlines the problem with making the completion of rehabilitation programmes mandatory for all IPP prisoners. ‘There are hardly any courses designed for the illiterate or the mentally ill. If you’re illiterate, you’re stuffed. You can get in front of the Parole Board when you reach your tariff and they’ll say “Go back and learn how to read and write”. These courses also aren’t being assessed for effectiveness.’
Not gone yet
The current coalition government declared their intention to scrap IPPs for good as part of the LASPO Bill. This has now passed into law, and IPPs have, in theory, been abolished. However, this part of the Act has not come into force yet and there is no obligation on the Government to work within a timeframe. When a Bill is written into law it does not mean that all parts of the Act will automatically be enforced. When I asked the Ministry of Justice when IPPs would no longer be handed down the answer was vague, with several staff members contradicting each other before they came to the muddled conclusion that different parts of an Act are brought into law at different times depending on the logistics of the new enforcement and there is no deadline. As a result, judges are still handing out IPP sentences seemingly because the retrospective abolition of these sentences would be a logistical headache. In fact, the number of prisoners serving IPP sentences has risen by two per cent since last year.
IPP sentences are served by a wide range of offenders. There are those who have brutally assaulted innocent members of the public, such as a recent case of a young man who beat up an old woman as she waited at a bus stop in Manchester. Clearly, criminals such as these are violent and a risk to society. However, there are also those who have committed a number of minor offences – they get drunk, get into a fight, and find themselves serving an IPP sentence if they have a couple of previous convictions to their name. Wayne is one such example – see below.
‘I felt lost and scared, depressed and suicidal. The thing about not having a release date is that you can’t make a solid plan for the future, all you can do is fantasise, All of the courses have waiting lists so it’s possible that it can take years to get one course completed, then once you finally complete the courses you sit parole hearings every year or two if necessary where it’s your job to convince the Parole Board that you do not pose a risk to the public. Why should the parole board take the risk of releasing someone, because if that person commits a crime then it’s on their heads so it’s easier just to refuse.’
Following the abolition of IPPs, the Government is keen to show that they are being proactive in processing the thousands of prisoners still serving these sentences. According to the Parole Board’s latest business plan, there are expected to be 6,000 IPP prisoners facing case review over the next year. This is an increase of 1,500 cases since last year, caused by Government pressure on the Parole Board to deal with the 58 per cent of IPP prisoners who have gone over tariff. The Ministry of Justice claim that the 20 extra Parole Board members they are planning to recruit over the next few months will be enough to adequately deal with the increased workload. However, with a Parole Board that is already stretched following cuts to its budget in 2010 the small steps taken to ease its burden may not prove to be enough.
Ticking time bomb
John Podmore believes the reason why the Government hasn’t retrospectively abolished IPPs is because it would create a logistical nightmare. ‘The many thousands that have gone beyond tariff going in front of the Parole Board is logistically nigh on impossible. So they’re locked into this Kafkaesque scenario.’
The term ‘Kafkaesque’ comes up frequently in conversations with criminal justice experts when IPPs are mentioned. Following the abolition of IPP sentences Juliet Lyon, the Director of the Prison Reform Trust talked of the ‘Kafkaesque’ complexity of prison sentencing in this country. Such concerns are shared by former Governor, John Podmore. ‘What you don’t do is give a large number of prisoners a reason to hate the system,’ he says. ‘There’s nothing for them so they’ve got nothing to lose.’
A stain on our justice system
Why are so many IPP prisoners failing to secure release once they have reached their tariff? According to Podmore, the backlog of IPP prisoners trapped in the system is due to the lack of rehabilitation programmes available. These courses are scarce in certain prisons, and often over-subscribed. There is also the issue of prison population management. To tackle the problem of overcrowding in certain prisons many prisoners find themselves moved around regularly from jail to jail. If you are in the process of taking a programme this can hinder or even curtail your progress – many prisons don’t offer certain programmes so if you are moved to a prison with no relevant course you are back to square one when it comes to the crucial Parole Board assessment.
Holding people in prison for an indefinite amount of time, with limited or no access to rehabilitation programmes, not only results in a massive cost to the taxpayer – currently £45,000 per prisoner per year, it also flies in the face of a democratic system where punishment is intended to be redemptive. With no release date to work towards, prisoners become disillusioned and potentially violent. There is also the issue of fair sentencing – if a person has a violent fight in a bar and is sentenced to an IPP with a two year tariff, but then finds himself stuck in the system six years later he has received a punishment three times more severe than the crime he committed in the eyes of the court. With cuts to the Parole Board, and no clear vision from the Government of how they are going to process the 6,107 IPP prisoners still serving time, the ‘stain’ on our justice system, described by Justice Minister Ken Clarke, is yet to be removed.

Wayne: ‘I felt lost and scared, depressed and suicidal.’

Having been convicted of a number of minor alcohol-related offences, including shoplifting and bar brawls, Wayne was arrested for GBH and sentenced to a 20 month IPP sentence.
He’d been drinking, got into a fight and stabbed a man in the leg with a broken bottle. As a result of his previous drink-related offences, the judge gave him an IPP sentence. The judge felt he couldn’t accurately assess when Wayne would be safe to re-join society.
Wayne speaks in a low, hesitant voice about his experience and appears uneasy about speaking candidly in the busy cafĂ© where we meet. He is a big man, but appears smaller because of his hunched posture. ‘I didn’t know much about the IPP but everyone I met who was doing the sentence was well over tariff and stuck in a prison that didn’t offer the courses they had to do to lower their risk.’
‘I felt lost and scared, depressed and suicidal,’ he tells me. ‘The thing about not having a release date is that you can’t make a solid plan for the future. All you can do is fantasise. All of the courses have waiting lists so it’s possible that it can take years to get one course completed, then once you finally complete the courses you sit parole hearings every year or two if necessary where it’s your job to convince the Parole Board that you do not pose a risk to the public. Why should the parole board take the risk of releasing someone, because if that person commits a crime then it’s on their heads so it’s easier just to refuse.’
Wayne was luckier than some. A few months after he was sentenced to a 20-month IPP, the Government toughened up the sentencing guidelines, which meant that judges were prevented from giving IPPs of less than two years.
‘The day finally came where I was called to reception to be transferred to another prison,’ he recalls. ‘I was a bit excited as I thought this was progress. The prison I was transferred to was in Cumbria and was five and a half hours away from home and to top it all off they didn’t offer any courses that I needed to complete, I wasted no time in applying to be transferred to other prisons only to be told by the governor that no jail in the country is willing to take IPPs as they’re too much hassle. After 12 months up in Cumbria I shipped out again to a prison in Warrington. I had been locked up for 24 months even though I only got sentenced to 20. My family were still asking me when I was getting out and were still confused by the sentence. They thought that I was misbehaving.’
Wayne continues: ‘I was in that prison [Warrington] for 17 months and I heard of a couple of IPPs getting granted their Cat D [move to open prison] and one that actually got released.’
Wayne heard that he had got parole on the grounds that he complete a six month stint in a rehab centre. ‘I was over the moon but felt guilty as my friend who was with me got a new 12 month tariff — he had done all his courses and never got in trouble and was on his sixth year into the sentence, five years over tariff.’
Wayne believes his time in prison was an unnecessary drain on public resources.
‘It costs about £40,000 to keep a prisoner locked up for 12 months. No wonder the country is broke when the government keeps people incarcerated years beyond their release date, especially when, for people with addictions like me, six months in rehab can be the answer.’
  •  This article was amended on 19 September 2012 to remove quotes not intended for publication.