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May 26, 2016

Update Report

PAS Panel Discussion
PAS Panel Discussion

Update Report

Women Prisoners

Since our last report, we have continued delivering our longer-established outreach clinics for women prisoners at HMP Send and HMP Holloway, and our newer clinics at HMP Bronzefield, HMP Eastwood Park, HMP New Hall and HMP Styal. Over the last few months, we conducted 16 clinics, which a total of 105 women prisoners attended.

PAS article in Women in Prison magazine

One of our Caseworkers wrote an article called “Acquiring a Roof over Your Head!” which was published in the Spring 2016 edition of “Ready Steady Go!” magazine That is the publication produced by the charity Women In Prison. This article explains how PAS can assist women prisoners to obtain supported accommodation on release, particularly women who have physical or mental disabilities or a debilitating illness.

Case Study: Representing a Woman Prisoner with Mental Health Difficulties at a Parole Board hearing:

We represented a woman serving a life sentence, who had been in prison for 12 years beyond her tariff (minimum custodial period) and who was applying to the Parole Board to be transferred to an open prison. She had a history of suffering from severe anxiety prior to Parole Board hearings but had worked very hard at addressing her mental health difficulties over the last two years. By attending one-to-one psychology appointments on a regular basis, she had become better able to manage her stress levels. Due to the relationship we had established with her, we were also able to provide her with support and reassurance throughout the process, particularly leading up to the hearing. We represented her at the hearing and assisted her to satisfy the panel that she could be safely managed in an open setting. As a result, she has now been transferred to an open prison.

Disabled Prisoners

During this reporting period, your donations have supported our Community Care Caseworker to deliver several advice clinics within 4 prisons: HMP Pentonville, HMP Thameside, HMP Wandsworth (all in London), and HMP Leyhill (in Gloucestershire), giving advice to prisoners in person. You have also supported our Caseworker to deal with hundreds of telephone and letter enquiries, and to work on a number of ongoing cases advising disabled prisoners.

Case Study: Ensuring improved facilities for a disabled prisoner:

A disabled prisoner had been transferred to a prison that did not have modified cells, in-cell sinks, or single showers available. The prisoner is doubly incontinent. At his previous prisons, where the facilities were better, he had been able to clean himself up in his cell and officers would unlock him to go to take a shower. In his new prison, all the showers were communal, and officers would not unlock him to allow him out of his cell to wash. He remained at this prison, enduring these conditions, for one month until he contacted us. We made representations to the Governor and Head of Healthcare at the prison that such conditions risked breaching Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights which concerns ‘inhuman and degrading treatment’. After our intervention, the prisoner was promptly transferred to a suitable prison that can meet his disability needs.

Other News:

PAS Panel Discussion – 18th May

Thanks very much to everyone who came to our annual panel discussion last week. We hope you enjoyed the evening and found the discussion informative. We would also like to thank all the speakers for their excellent contributions and Linklaters for kindly hosting the event.

New Outreach clinics in HMP Styal and HMP Lewes

We recently opened a new legal advice outreach clinic at HMP Styal and it is scheduled to run every six weeks. We are also introducing our peer adviser-led sessions there, in which prisoners trained by us give basic advice and information to their fellow prisoners. We have also started a new clinic in HMP Lewes (in East Sussex) - which is further extending our outreach service in men’s prisons.

PAS participated in seminar organised by Zahid Mubarak Trust

In January 2016 we participated in a seminar at the House of Lords, organised by the Zahid Mubarak Trust (ZMT) and hosted by our patron Lord David Ramsbotham. Zahid Mubarak was murdered by his cellmate in Feltham young offenders’ institute in 2000. Subsequent campaigning by his family resulted in the commissioning of a public inquiry into his death. The Commission for Racial Equality also carried out an inquiry into wider issues of institutional racism in the prison system, which reported in 2003 and found systemic failings. The remit of the seminar on this occasion was to consider what progress, if any, had been made since the 2006 Keith Report of the public inquiry. We have worked with ZMT since it was set up in 2009 and have been involved in a number of initiatives designed to monitor the extent to which prisons have adopted recommendations coming out of the Keith Report. We will continue to do this in the future. However, unfortunately, we had to report to the recent seminar that our current experience is not positive. We reported that our telephone advice line continues to receive a high number of calls from prisoners who have suffered racist treatment and whose complaints have not been properly investigated.

PAS volunteer runs Kingston Half Marathon

One of our dedicated volunteers, Catherine Shannon, ran the Kingston Half Marathon at the end of February (in 1 hour and 52 minutes) to raise funds for our work with prisoners.

Mar 1, 2016

Update Report and 50% Matched Funding Offer

Campaign Results So Far

A big Thank You from PAS! Through your generosity, we have raised £19,494 so far for our project giving free legal advice to women prisoners and disabled prisoners on their rights. We hope you enjoy reading this report on the past few months of the project.

 

Update Report

 

Women Prisoners

Over the past few months, your donations have enabled us to deliver 23 legal advice clinics in 6 women’s prisons: HMP Send (in Surrey), HMP Holloway (in London), HMP New Hall (in West Yorkshire), HMP Eastwood Park (in Gloucestershire) and our recently added delivery sites: HMP Bronzefield (in Surrey) and HMP Styal (in Cheshire). We have helped 203 women prisoners in the past few months through the clinics alone, and hundreds more through telephone calls, letters and casework.

 

One of our Caseworkers has written an article which will be published in a women prisoners’ magazine (upcoming edition). This article explains how PAS can assist women prisoners to obtain supported accommodation on release, particularly women who have physical or mental disabilities or a debilitating illness.

 

Success story: securing release on parole for a disabled woman

A disabled female prisoner’s release on parole had been delayed twice for over a year because no suitable supported accommodation had been identified. We acted for her in her recent parole case. We sent a pre-action letter to the Local Authority threatening judicial review regarding the accommodation and then liaised / negotiated with the Local Authority / National Health Service teams. They then offered her a place in a therapeutic care home with 24-hour support for the first 18 months, before potentially moving on to more independent living. The parole board deemed this accommodation was suitable to meet her complex needs and directed her release.

 

Disabled Prisoners

During this reporting period, your donations have supported our Community Care Caseworker to deliver several advice clinics within 4 prisons: HMP Pentonville, HMP Thameside, HMP Wandsworth (all in London), and HMP Leyhill (in Gloucestershire), giving advice to prisoners in person. Having recently started running clinics at Leyhill prison, we have been able to reach the sizeable group of prisoners there who are elderly and are experiencing age-related healthcare complications. You have also supported our Caseworker to deal with hundreds of telephone and letter enquiries, and to work on a number of ongoing cases advising disabled prisoners.

 

PAS's work was mentioned in an article in The Guardian newspaper in January 2016, entitled “How one prisoner’s letter led to a jail reading scheme” for helping a client to obtain release on parole. The article can be read here. This client was an infirm, elderly prisoner suffering from a heart condition, reduced mobility and significant cognitive decline.

 

Other PAS news

 

Lecture by John Samuels

In November 2015, our newest Patron, His Honour John Samuels QC, delivered the annual PAS Lecture in the offices of CMS Cameron McKenna. His thought-provoking speech was entitled “Rehabilitation: Starry-Eyed Idealism, or a Realistic Aspiration?” and was attended by 90 guests. The lecture was preceded by a moving testimony from Kevin Pilgrim, an ex-prisoner and a PAS volunteer.

 

PAS pub quiz

Thank you to everyone who came to the PAS pub quiz in November 2015 during National Pro Bono Week. We hope you enjoyed the evening. We are pleased to report that we raised over £400 in donations through the event, all of which will support our legal advice work with prisoners in advocating for their rights. We would like to congratulate all who attended, especially the prize-winning teams. It was great to have teams present from Doughty Street Chambers, Field Fisher, Herbert Smith Freehills, Kings College London, Leigh Day, Mayer Brown, and The Legal Services Board, as well as teams of PAS staff and volunteers.

 

Great Legal Bake

We participated in the “Great Legal Bake” in February 2016. Our staff and volunteers baked many cakes and sold them to local solicitors firms and barristers chambers. We raised £729 through this initiative – which was the highest amount raised among the 180 organisations participating nationwide! All of the proceeds will support our work.

 

Top 20% ranking for PAS

We are pleased to announce that PAS has been ranked in the top 20% of charities listed on the Global Giving platform in 2015. Thank you for helping us to receive this award.

 

Thank you!

Thank you again for your important support which is making it possible for us to provide free legal advice to women prisoners and disabled prisoners on their rights. We will continue to update you on our progress on this project in the months to come.

 

50% Matched Funding Opportunity! (7th March to 14th March)

Starting at 2pm on Monday 7th March and continuing until Monday 14th March (or when the funds run out), our fundraising campaign on Global Giving will receive 50% matched funding on any new donations (of up to £500 in value)! This means that a donation of £10 will receive an additional £5 in matched funding (plus a subsequent £2.50 coming from Gift Aid if applicable). So any donation of up to £500 to us during that week plus Gift Aid will in fact be nearly doubled!  So, if you are inspired by this report above on our recent activities, please take advantage of this fantastic 50% matched funding opportunity to support our work further. Thank you.

 

Many thanks for your help,

PAS

Links:


Attachments:
Nov 24, 2015

Invitation to Lecture on Rehabilitation: 24th November (7-9pm)

His Honour John Samuels QC
His Honour John Samuels QC

Dear PAS donor,

There are currently a few spaces left for our annual lecture taking place on Tuesday (24th November). If you would like to attend and have not yet reserved a ticket, please email events@prisonersadvice.org.uk to register your place. Please see below for further details.
Prisoners’ Advice Service invites you to the 2015 PAS Lecture:
“Rehabilitation: Starry-Eyed Idealism,or a Realistic Aspiration?”
by His Honour John Samuels QC

WhenTuesday 24th November 2015, 7pm – 9pm.  Drinks will be served during the evening.

Where: CMS Cameron McKenna, Cannon Place, 78 Cannon Street, London EC4N 6AF

Who:

  • The Prisoners’ Advice Service (PAS) (www.prisonersadvice.org.uk) is an independent registered charity providing free legal advice and information to prisoners in England & Wales regarding their rights, conditions of imprisonment and the application of the Prison Rules. We do this through our telephone advice line, letters service, outreach advice clinics inside prisons, and quarterly Bulletin.
  • His Honour John Samuels QC is a Patron of PAS. He was previously a Circuit Judge; and had been Chairman of the Criminal Committee of the Council of Circuit Judges, where he pioneered liaison between the Council, Ministers and their officials. A long-time proponent of alternatives to custody, he was a founder member of  the National Sentencer Probation Forum until March 2012, when he also retired from the London Probation Forum, of which he had been a member for 10 years. He is the Chair of the Criminal Justice Alliance, and a Trustee of the Howard League for Penal Reform. He is the Board member for England & Wales of the International Association of Drug Treatment Courts; is Vice President of UNLOCK, the National Association of Reformed Offenders; and of AMIMB, the Association of Members of Independent Monitoring Boards. He was, until September 2015, a judicial member of the Parole Board for over 10 years. Having been a Trustee of Prisoners' Education Trust for 13 years, and its Chairman for 6, he is now its first President. In 2012 he was appointed a Visiting Professor at Nottingham Law School, focusing on sentencing and criminal justice issues.  

RSVP: Please e-mail events@prisonersadvice.org.uk to book your place. Tickets are free. 

Thanks: This event is kindly supported by CMS Cameron McKenna. We are most grateful for their generous support.

Kind regards,

PAS

 
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