Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Not A Lot of News But taking this moment to wish Everyone who reads this and have supported us

Monday, 29 December 2014

16th December 2014
Dear Mr
Re: Your Letter
I write in connection with the above which was received by me on the 15th December 2014.
You are entirely correct in what you say, and I am very conscious of the fact that the daily struggles experienced by lifer prisoners are not just problems suffered by IPP inmates.
In the New Year, I propose, having received your letter, to draft an article in Inside Time concerning all lifer inmates and not just to restrict myself to IPP prisoners.
Your letter was very well received. 
Yours sincerely
David Wells
 The above is a copy of a email sent to my son and below is an excerpt from the inside times for December 2014

Over-tariff IPPs: an appeal for your stories

By David Wells - Partner, Wells Burcombe Solicitors, from insidetime issue December 2014
Two years ago the then Justice Secretary announced that IPP sentences were being abolished...

Over-tariff IPPs: an
appeal for your stories
Two years ago the then Justice Secretary announced that IPP sentences were being abolished. This was undoubtedly good news for those practising within the criminal justice system, but regrettably of no comfort to those serving IPP sentences at the time as the announcement was not applied retrospectively. This means that there are still thousands of IPP inmates left rotting in a prison system clearly incapable of addressing the rehabilitative requirements designed to reduce risk.
But there are still criminal practitioners, like me, and others outside the criminal justice system who take a great deal of interest in IPP prisoners. One such person is a journalist from the BBC, Zoe Conway, who reported on IPP prisoners for BBC Newsnight earlier this year. She wishes to continue to highlight the plight of those affected by this most draconian sentence. She has visited and listened to numerous family members who report the daily struggles of inmates to access courses and to prepare properly for parole board hearings. She and I discussed the recent debate in the House of Lords which announced new government figures which show that 121 people sentenced before 2008 to a tariff of 12 months or less are still languishing in prison. 8 of them were given tariffs of 3 months, 22 tariffs of less than 6 months and yet they are still inside. She quite rightly stated that most people would be surprised and perhaps shocked by this. Indeed, one House of Lords Peer when he learned of the many inmates well beyond tariff said 'how can that be justified.' He is right. It can't.
Even the Justice Secretary who abolished the sentence two years ago described the sentence itself as a stain on the criminal justice system. But perhaps even more alarmingly, the man responsible for the sentence all those years ago, the then Home Secretary David Blunkett, told BBC Newsnight that the sentence had in some cases led to 'injustices' and said ''I regret that''. He also told Zoe Conway, in her interview with him, that the Labour government ''got the implementation wrong''. He acknowledged that the problems with access to courses and the serious lack of resources generally was not foreseen. That statement alone is nothing short of shocking.
IPP sentences were to be reserved for only the most seriously violent and sexual offences. It was anticipated that this would affect about 900 prisoners. In 2011 there were 6000 IPP inmates. Now there are 5,500 and two-thirds of these are over tariff.
So what can be done? Apart from continuing to consider appealing IPP sentences where this has not been considered previously, and focusing on parole and sentence plan targets as best as possible in order to support release, individuals like Zoe Conway, who have great influence in the media can help. What is her aim? Well, she wants to find out who these inmates are serving these shorter tariffs, why they are still in prison and whether they are able to access courses and parole board hearings. She would like to tell individual and collective stories for broadcast on national news.
It is for this reason that I invite all such IPP inmates to write to me to share your stories. If you agree to share your plight with her through me, you can write to me and I will pass on your correspondence. You do not have to agree to have your name published or made public. You can simply share your story, the problems you have faced and obviously your own views on the position you face.
For my part, my firm continues to do all it can to ensure natural progression and even release for IPP inmates. Wells Burcombe have enjoyed much success at the Appeal Courts and have enjoyed equal success before the Parole Board. Wells Burcombe continue to receive numerous enquiries from IPP inmates concerning Parole. Should you have a pending Parole review or wish for advice concerning appealing your IPP sentence, simply write to us at the address below.
Wells Burcombe Solicitors
5 Holywell Hill, St Albans, Hertfordshire, AL1 1EU

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Sunday, 14 December 2014

Well another Christmas is creeping up on us and I am still no nearer to being home with my family.

I nearly lost my Dad back in August but could not get a compassionate visit to see him, luckily
he pulled through although still very weak he had his 94th birthday in October.

Mum has had it hard with dad being so ill, plus my sister has been ill as well, so hence the reason why there as not been very much in the way of  updates.

Hopefully things will look up in the new year we can only hope.

Would like to wish everyone who has looked at my blog a Very Merry Christmas to you all and
a Prosperous New Year to you all and keep on reading my blog

Friday, 5 December 2014



Prison book ban ruled unlawful by High Court

Prison cell

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The government's ban on sending books to prisoners in England and Wales is unlawful, the High Court has declared.
Under the current rules prisoners are prevented from receiving parcels unless they have "exceptional circumstances", such as a medical condition.
Mr Justice Collins said he could see "no good reason" to restrict access to books for prisoners.
The Prison Service said it was a surprising judgement, and would look at how it would deal with the ruling.
Incentives scheme The legal challenge was brought by inmate Barbara Gordon-Jones, who is serving part of her life sentence at Send prison near Woking in Surrey.
The book ban was introduced in November last year in England and Wales, as part of a scheme which limits what prisoners can receive in parcels.
The Incentives and Earned Privileges scheme was brought in partly as an attempt to crack down on drugs getting into prisons.
Prisoners had argued that books sent to them in parcels can be key to their rehabilitation.
Prisoners are still able to read books borrowed from a prison library - and last month the Ministry of Justice relaxed restrictions on the number of books they could keep in their cells.
But it has been claimed that prison libraries are often inadequately stocked, and can be hard to access because there is not always staff available to take prisoners to them.
'Unnecessary and irrational' Mr Justice Collins said: "I see no good reason in the light of the importance of books for prisoners to restrict beyond what is required by volumetric control and reasonable measures relating to frequency of parcels and security considerations."
He said that the scheme referred to prisoners earning privileges, and added: "In the light of the statement made about the importance of books... to refer to them as a privilege is strange."
A Prison Service spokesman said: "This is a surprising judgement. There never was a specific ban on books and the restrictions on parcels have been in existence across most of the prison estate for many years and for very good reason.
"Prisoners have access to the same public library service as the rest of us, and can buy books through the prison shop.
"We are considering how best to fulfil the ruling of the court. However, we are clear that we will not do anything that would create a new conduit for smuggling drugs and extremist materials into our prisons."
Poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy Poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy campaigned against the rules
In a statement, solicitors for Barbara Gordon-Jones welcomed the ruling.
"Reading is a right and not a privilege, to be encouraged and not restricted," they said.
"Indeed, Mr Justice Collins commented that, as far as books are concerned, 'to refer to them as a privilege is strange'.
"The policy was unnecessary, irrational and counter-productive to rehabilitation. It is now rightly judged unlawful."
The shadow justice secretary Sadiq Khan described the existing rules as "absurd".
"It had nothing to do with punishing and reforming prisoners but was an example of David Cameron's government's sloppy policy-making," he said.
The Liberal Democrats' home affairs spokesman Julian Huppert said: "We need education in our prisons. It's vital from the moment people walk through the door they get the help and rehabilitation they need to ensure they don't end up back behind bars."
'Responsibility to rehabilitate' Erwin James, who served 20 years for murder, described the original ban as "outrageous", and said books had helped him in prison.
He told BBC Radio 4's World at One: "I learnt that a good book can change the way you think about life. I was sent books by authors, I was sent books by probation officers.
"I was sent a book called The Grass Arena by John Healy, an amazing book of survival and redemption. You know, it was so important, so important for developing my own thinking and my own understanding of who I was and where I was going."
The rules have been opposed by arts' figures including Poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy, actress Vanessa Redgrave and author Kathy Lette.
A protest was held outside Pentonville Prison in north London in March.
Girl with a Pearl Earring author Tracy Chevalier. who also campaigned against the ban, said she was delighted with the ruling.
She told the BBC: "To me, books are an obvious way to help prisoners. We have a responsibility not just to punish people, but to rehabilitate them.
"Prison is the perfect time to read and to get inside the heads of other people. So that maybe, when you come out, you're more likely to think about other people rather than just yourself."
Author Philip Pullman said: "The ban on sending prisoners books seemed to me strikingly unjust and inhumane. Reading should be a right not a privilege to be withheld or allowed graciously by Her Majesty's government, or anyone else"