Apply to Join
May 8, 2019

PAS Report 1 January 2019 to 31 March 2019

Delivery of Outreach Clinics for Older and Disabled Prisoners

Since our last report, your kind donations have continued to help us to maintain our outreach services for older and disabled prisoners across England and Wales.

Working with Older and Disabled Prisoners

Over the first quarter of 2019, your support helped support our two Community Care Caseworkers to deliver six Outreach Clinics in three prisons: HMPs Pentonville and Thameside, both in London, and Lewes in East Sussex. During these clinics, our Caseworkers held 56 one-to-one meetings with individual older and/or disabled prisoners. Your support also helped our Caseworkers to open five new cases on behalf of older and/or disabled prisoners between the beginning of January and the end of March.

Case Study

Prisoner A, who had received a sentence of Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) with an original tariff of 20 months, was nine years over tariff when he contacted PAS.

An IPP sentence is a form of indeterminate sentence introduced by the Criminal Justice Act 2003 (with effect from 2005), and abolished in 2012 (although sentences given before this date remain lawful). It was intended to protect the public from those whose crimes were not serious enough to merit a long sentence but who were thought too dangerous to be released when the term of their original sentence had expired. It is composed of a punitive "tariff" intended to be proportionate to the gravity of the crime committed and an indeterminate period which commences after the expiration of the tariff and lasts until the Parole Board judges that the prisoner no longer poses a risk to the public and is fit to be released. 

Prisoner A had – arguably understandably – experienced some mental health and self-harm issues during his prolonged sentence and had had to spend 18 months in a medium security hospital. After he was returned to the prison estate, there were no further concerns about his mental health and he became an enhanced Category B prisoner, working in a trusted position. However, in subsequent parole reviews, his offender manager and supervisor both recommended that he stay in closed conditions. They suggested that he should do a further three year mental health programme before they would recommend any progression. This would have kept him inside for an additional three to four years.

Throughout this time, Prisoner A had not had any legal representation at the parole reviews and was not given an oral hearing to determine his suitability for release. One of PAS’ Community Care Caseworkers requested that such a hearing take place, with PAS representation, should the Parole Board find itself unable to direct release, or make a direction for open conditions, based solely on the submitted paperwork. The Parole Board did then direct an oral hearing, in the run-up to which, Prisoner A maintained exemplary behaviour. With our representation, the prisoner was not only made Category C and offered a prison job, but his release from prison was finally directed.

In Conclusion

Prisoners’ Advice Service remains most grateful to GlobalGIving for helping to support our work with older and disabled prisoners in England and Wales. Without the assistance of charitable organisations such as your own, the work that we do with vulnerable prisoners would be severely curtailed.

Links:

Jan 31, 2019

Support for Older and Disabled Prisoners

Updated GlobalGiving Report 1 October to 31 December 2018

Delivery of Outreach Clinics for Older and Disabled Prisoners

Since our last report, your kind donations have continued to help us to maintain our outreach services for older and disabled prisoners across England and Wales.

Working with Older and Disabled Prisoners and those with Chronic Health Issues

Over the last quarter of 2018, your support helped support our two Community Care Caseworkers to deliver eight Outreach Clinics in three prisons: HMPs Pentonville and Thameside, both in London, and Leyhill in Gloucester. During these clinics, our Caseworkers held 84 face-to-face meetings with individual older and/or disabled prisoners. Your support also helped our Caseworkers to respond to a total of 26 telephone calls and letter enquiries from older and/or disabled prisoners.

PAS helps prisoners with disabilities to obtain the auxiliary aids that they require, for example, crutches, wheelchairs, etc. We assist prisoners to gain access to prison workshops and to education classes. Our caseworkers can request that such classes be moved to the ground floor if disabled access to upper floors is not possible. We also work to ensure extended library book loans for dyslexic prisoners and the provision of large print books for visually impaired prisoners.

Case Study

Prisoner A suffers from sensorineural hearing loss in both ears and a pronounced speech impediment. As a result, he has had repeated problems with communication – both listening and speaking – throughout his prison career; at HMPs Belmarsh, Littlehey and Highpoint and, now, at HMP Dartmoor, where he has consistently reported being unable to hear what is being said when using the prison payphones,.

Prisoner A often takes time to process what others are trying to say to him and often speaks loudly in response, while moving closer to Prison Officers to hear. As a result, his actions are often interpreted by both staff, and other inmates, as aggressive, leading to regular Incentive and Earned Privileges (IEP) warnings about his behaviour. Further, Prisoner A felt that the perception that he was aggressive was compounded by the fact that he was a black man encountering predominantly white officers.

PAS made representations to the Prison Governor that reasonable adjustments needed to be put in place so as not to put Prisoner A at a disadvantage compared to other prisoners who were not disabled –in accordance with sections 18 and 20 of the Equality Act 2010. Specifically, we requested that our client be allowed to make, or take, phone calls in the prison office at quiet times and not on the payphones. We also requested that a negative behaviour warning on our client’s record, which may have been issued without due regard to disability, be rescinded.

The prison agreed to our requests and Prisoner A can now use the phone with relative ease.

In Conclusion

Prisoners’ Advice Service remains most grateful to GlobalGIving for helping to support our work with older and disabled prisoners in England and Wales. Without the assistance of charitable organisations such as your own, the work that we do with vulnerable prisoners would be severely curtailed.

Links:

Nov 1, 2018

PAS GlobalGiving Report July to September 2018

Updated GlobalGiving Report

1 July to 30 September 2018

Author: Geof Jarvis; Head of Fundraising and Communications, PAS

Delivery of Outreach Clinics for Women and Disabled Prisoners

Since our last report, your kind donations have continued to help us to maintain our outreach services for women and the disabled in prisons across England and Wales.

Our Services for Women Prisoners

Over the course of the last three months – July, August and September 2018 – PAS continued to deliver Outreach Clinics in women’s prisons, providing nine clinics in four prisons during this period: HMPs Bronzefield in Surrey, Downview in Surrey, New Hall in West Yorkshire and Send in Surrey. Over the three month period, we helped 61 women face-to-face through Outreach Clinics alone.

In addition, we responded to a total of 15 letters, five phone calls and four e-mails from women prisoners – from those prisons listed above, and from the remaining women’s prisons: HMPs Askham Grange in North Yorkshire, Drake Hall in Staffordshire, East Sutton Park in Kent, Eastwood Park in Gloucestershire, Foston Hall in Derbyshire, Low Newton in County Durham, Peterborough in Cambridgeshire and Styal in Cheshire.

Working with Disabled Prisoners

Over the last three months, your support has helped support our Community Care Caseworkers to deliver eight Outreach Clinics in three prisons: HMPs Pentonville and Thameside, both in London, and Leyhill in Gloucester. During clinics, our Caseworkers held 91 face-to-face meetings with individual, disabled prisoners. Your grant also helped Caseworkers to respond to a total of eight telephone calls and letter enquiries from disabled prisoners during this three month window.

PAS helps prisoners with disabilities to obtain the auxiliary aids that they require, for example, crutches, wheelchairs, etc. We assist prisoners to gain access to prison workshops and to education classes. Our caseworkers can request that such classes be moved to the ground floor if disabled access to upper floors is not possible. We also work to ensure extended library book loans for dyslexic prisoners and the provision of large print books for visually impaired prisoners.

Case Study 1: PAS Helps Prisoner Gain Contact with Children

Prisoner A, had been convicted of killing her mother-in-law, receiving a life sentence with a minimum term of 11 years. The starting point for the minimum tariff for murder is 15 years; Prisoner A’s lower tariff reflected the fact that the judge accepted she had been provoked to a certain degree by her relative’s abusive behaviour for approximately six months before the incident.

Prisoner A was housed on a Therapeutic Community in prison, having been sent there as she was suffering from poor mental health and the effects of trauma. Being of South Asian origin, she had limited use of the English language.

Prisoner A had not seen her two sons for over two years. She had received visits from them (brought by their father) when she was first in prison but the frequency gradually reduced until the visits stopped completely. She only had one telephone call with her children in the two year period.

PAS’ Women Prisoners’ Caseworker advised the prisoner that she could apply for a Child Arrangements Order for contact with her children in the family courts. PAS completed her application; communicated with the court to ensure a Production Order was granted for her to attend the first hearing; wrote to the court to highlight her vulnerabilities and drafted a Position Statement for her, setting out her request for the court before the hearing. This was particularly important as her English was limited.

The court made an interim order for contact, allowing her to see her youngest child (the eldest was over 16 and the court only grants orders for children between 16 and 18 in exceptional circumstances). The court also ordered indirect contact through letters and phone calls, and letters to the eldest son. At the time of publishing, PAS is hopeful that the court will order contact to continue at the final hearing.

Case Study 2: Male Prisoner able to Receive Regular Visits from Autistic Son

Having already introduced Family Law advice as a part of our work with women prisoners, a recent case highlighted the need for a similar service to be available in the male estate.

PAS heard from Prisoner B, from Pentonville in London, who was being prevented from seeing his six-year old son. The boy was autistic and finding the public transport required to visit his father overstimulating and highly distressing. It became simply too challenging for Prisoner B’s wife to travel into central London with their son to see his dad. As a result, Prisoner B only saw his son once a month, despite having earned enhanced prisoner status, which ordinarily would entitle him to more, and potentially longer, visits from his family.

PAS wrote a letter to the Head of the Offender Management Unit at Pentonville to request that Prisoner B be transferred to an institution closer to the family home as a reasonable adjustment under section 20 of the Equality Act, which states that, “where a provision, criterion or practice… puts a disabled person at a substantial disadvantage in relation to a relevant matter in comparison with persons who are not disabled, [then the organisation on whom the duty is imposed should] take such steps as it is reasonable to have to take to avoid the disadvantage.”

As a result of our intervention, Prisoner B was transferred to the prison closer to his family home, where – as the journey to do so was now shorter and less daunting for them – his son and wife could now visit him far more frequently.

In Conclusion

Prisoners’ Advice Service remains most grateful to GlobalGIving for helping to support our work with female and disabled prisoners in England and Wales. Without the assistance of charitable organisations such as your own, the work that we do with vulnerable prisoners would be severely curtailed.

Links:

 
WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.