Working with Women Prisoners May to August 2020
PAS continues to assist women prisoners in England and Wales, despite ongoing restrictions to prison access which has meant the suspension of our Outreach Clinic service. Our core telephone advice line remains open however, with the number of calls received from women prisoners continuing to increase. Currently 7% of our callers are women, and 4% of the letters we receive are from women. During the last quarter, our website has had over 22,200 views, with our self help toolkits proving popular to visitors.
Case Study: Judicial Review of Independent Adjudication
PAS represented a female prisoner at HMP Downview who was found guilty by an Independent Adjudicator of possession of an unlawful article. A personal letter from the prisoner’s cell had tested positive for traces of cocaine. The prisoner had no legal representation at the adjudication, no witnesses were called and the prisoner denied knowledge of the presence of cocaine on the letter. The Independent Adjudicator found the prisoner guilty and sentenced her to 21 additional days in prison.
PAS issued Judicial Review proceedings challenging the decision. PAS advanced submissions that the Independent Adjudicator had failed to establish beyond reasonable doubt that the prisoner had knowledge of the presence of cocaine. The Government Legal Department agreed a consent order quashing the finding of guilt and the award of additional days.
Prisoners’ Advice Service remains most grateful to GlobalGiving for helping to support our work with women prisoners in England and Wales. It is especially helpful at the present time, with women prisoner's facing a range of issues whilst being isolated from their families as a result of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. The donations we receive from individuals such as yourself are crucial to enable us to continue providing this vital support.