Emma recently acted for a post-tariff IPP prisoner who fell afoul of the Secretary of State’s open conditions ban. This is the policy whereby anyone who escapes or absconds or attempts to escape or abscond is banned from transfer to open conditions.
The client in question had finished a significant amount of time in therapeutic community and had strong support for a transfer to open conditions and wished to pursue this in order to develop a strong release plan. Like many IPPs the client had often felt hopeless due to his seemingly endless sentence and the frustrations of trying to navigate the prison system. He had therefore previously received adjudications for protesting behaviour including climbing to height whilst in closed conditions.
At his Parole Hearing, where he was represented by Emma, the Panel were very impressed with the work that the client had done since that time and whilst he had still had ongoing relapse issues the Panel recommended that the client transfer to open conditions.
However following this decision the Secretary of State retrospectively removed open conditions as an option in the case as they had classed the incident at height as an escape attempt. This left the client stuck in closed and made his parole review effectively null and void.
Emma immediately sent a letter before action threatening judicial review proceedings if this decision was not overturned to allow the client to progress. Emma argued that this narrow decision was unfair due to the timing and the failure to take in account the views of the Parole Board.
Following receipt of this letter the Secretary of State reversed the refusal and endorsed the Parole Board’s open recommendations without the need to take the matter to Court. The client has now been able to transfer to open conditions with minimal delay.
If you think that you have had open conditions unfairly removed as an option for your parole review contact Swain and Co today on 02392483322.