Posts Tagged ‘ Parole Board ’


A Stranger Danger

Written by admin
December 21st, 2018

Crown Courts will regularly have to consider whether a client is “dangerous”. In essence, the issue is whether they are somebody who has committed an offence of a particular gravity, either now or in the past, or an offence that has attracted a particular sort of sentence. Faced with their current charge, the court has to consider whether they impose a real threat of particularly unpleasant sorts of harm to individuals in the future.

In general, when found dangerous, defendants have to serve two thirds, rather than half of the sentence set down by the court and they can only be released with the consent of the Parole Board. Many people also face an extended period of licence supervision to ensure that they are closely monitored by the National Offender Management Service.

It ought to be remembered, however, that there are certain offenders who can be found to be “dangerous” but who can still be released at the halfway period without the involvement of the Parole Board, and who needn’t be subject to the extended licence provisions. The finding of “dangerousness” is entered on the defendant’s record, but no other step is taken. This flags up their position to a subsequent sentencing court, dealing with either a new offence or a breach, but ensures their return to the community at the earliest and most appropriate time.

As times goes by, it seems apparent that fewer and fewer sentencing tribunals are aware of this power, or have it at the forefront of their minds when passing sentence. This may be something that many defence advocates needed to consider bringing to attention of a court that may be passing a very significant sentence on a client who deserves better.

At present the Parole Board has 240 members. None of the Parole Board’s members are black. 13 of the Parole Board’s members are from the BAME community, but still none of them are black. The B in BAME might as well just not be there.

To achieve an absolute absence of black members of the Parole Board is a considerable achievement. It is not an accident. It is not a mistake. It is not something that could have happened without anybody noticing. It is a diabolical demonstration of the worst forms of institutional racism in practice.

To have a process that fails to appoint, attract, or appeal to members of the black community is utterly unconscionable. Who knows where the fault lies, but there must be a strong argument to say that one of the people responsible is Nick Hardwick, the former head of the Parole Board who resigned with much sympathy and support after the overturning of the parole decision in the John Worboys case.

Whatever Nick Hardwick’s credentials in terms of reform, restructuring, improvements in through put and the like, there can be no doubting that as a fighter of institutional racism he was nothing more than an abject failure.

PRISON LAW FOR ALL

Written by Sian Hall
October 20th, 2017

After months of consideration, The Johnson Partnership now have a freshly printed leaflet containing advice and guidance for newly incarcerated prisoners.

 

Any Johnson Partnership client who finds themselves remanded into custody on a new charge, or sentenced to a term of custody, will immediately be provided with the Prison Law Guide.

 

Lovingly crafted by Euan Edwards and Devon Broome, the new leaflet sets out to answer questions that would trouble many prisoners facing an adjudication, or a review of many sorts. Our objective is to ensure that all clients know who to ask and where to find them within the firm if they have any questions that require an answer, whether or not the particular issuecomes within the scope of the current legal aid regime.

 

Many congratulations to Euan and Devon for their hard work!

NEW BROOME SWEEPS CLEAN!

Written by Will Bolam
September 22nd, 2016

The arrival in the ranks of assistant solicitors at The Johnson Partnership of Devon Broome has brought a fresh injection of enthusiastic youth to our Nottingham Magistrates’ Court team as well as to the prison law department.

Having agreed to stay with the firm on qualification, Devon is to split her time between prison law and blue collar work.

Over the past four years Devon has built up a real expertise in representing detainees at adjudications and before the Parole Board. She is persuasive both as a written and oral advocate on behalf of her many prison law clients.

Since June, Devon has been demonstrating the same skill on a daily basis in the Magistrates’ Courts of the East Midlands. When asked about her time as a trainee, she said “it’s amazing how much you can absorb when you are working alongside people who are in the Magistrates’ Court day in and day out”.

The speed, skill and understanding with which Devon’s approach to her new challenges is a testimony to her own ability and how successful the firm’s shared works based policy has been. By listening to the experiences of others and asking questions along the way, Devon was able to make the most of her Magistrates’ Court training seat. Some early complex sentencing hearings might have been expected to challenge most new recruits, but Devon took them in her stride.

We have all been swept along by Devon’s whirlwind personality and look forward to watching her blow the opposition away.

People arrested and asking for The Johnson Partnership can now rest-assured that they will be receiving an even prompter service whatever the time of day or night.  The Johnson Partnership’s new Night Owl rota, covering the Nottingham, Derby, Chesterfield, Mansfield, Doncaster, Scunthorpe and Barnsley solicitors’ offices will ensure that double the number of people are on call throughout night times, weekends and Bank Holidays to advise clients in person wherever they are arrested.

In addition, clients required to answer police bail at anti-social times can rely on a police station advisor from The Johnson Partnership to be available come what may.

The Night Owl rota will be staffed by police station advisors, new solicitors and time-served duty solicitors alike.  However major or minor the matter you must feel free to ask for The Johnson Partnership.  Clients will be able to say to the police with confidence that Johnsons will be there in a jiffy!

A NEW START FOR A BIG HEART

Written by Editor
October 7th, 2015

Claire Greenhalgh, who originally started with The Johnson Partnership, as a Call Centre advisor back in 2007 is now to become a semi-detached Prison Law consultant. Having started working in the firm’s CDS Direct Call Centre, Claire went on to become a permanent member of the firm’s Prison Law team, securing a training contract and then staying on after the qualification as a Prison Law expert and duty solicitor.

Claire now wants to divide her time between Prison Law and her growing foster care commitments. Providing a loving supportive environment for children and young people who are at a precarious point in their lives calls for the involvement of a very special person. Those of us who have known and worked with Claire over the past eight years have no doubt that she is just that sort of person.

Claire will be maintaining her duty solicitor engagement with The Johnson Partnership, but will now be able to work both for ourselves and other firms as a Prison Law consultant, as and when her other commitments allow.

We wish Claire all the best and look forward to a long and happy continued association with a well-respected and much loved colleague.

In the meantime, it goes without saying that the firm’s Prison Law Department goes from strength to strength with a potential two new recruits joining the team during the next month or so. Jess, Devon, Euan, Alastair, and Rob remain at your service as ever.

The Prison Law section of The Johnson Partnership is based in Nottingham but provides assistance to clients nationwide.  Families and friends of clients can be seen at our Derby, Chesterfield and Mansfield offices as well as the Nottingham home base.

As of 1st March 2012 the Department has a new Prison Law solicitor available to help clients, wherever they may be!

Euan Edwards first joined the Firm in 2005, since when he has gained substantial experience in The Johnson Partnership’s Crown Court Department as well as assisting on the out-of-hours police station rota.

Euan’s interest in Prison Law has seen him assume a substantial caseload of Parole, Adjudications, Re-categorisation, advice and assistance and judicial review work.

He augments an already strong team of specialist Prison Law advisors who have received national recognition for their pioneering work.

Cutting Parole Board Red-Tape

Written by Editor
February 28th, 2011

Jessica Rogers, who joined The Johnson Partnership in March 2010, has had the unprecedented accolade of having an article published in “Inside Time”, the national newspaper for prisoners.  Jessica has been successful in short circuiting the customary process for moving IPP prisoners to open prison conditions.  By making representations directly to the Ministry of Justice, rather than pursuing the usual cumbersome Parole Board process, she has met with speedy and spectacular success.

By researching and capitalising on decisions in previous appeal cases, Jess Rogers persuaded the Ministry of Justice that, in certain circumstances, it was not necessary for prisoners to wait for a lengthy evaluation of their position before they could be moved to Category D conditions.

In short, the Ministry were authorising a move where:

1.   The prisoners dossier shows that they have made significant progress in addressing all identified risk factors.

2.   There is a consensus amongst report writers that the prisoner is suitable and safe to be transferred.

3.   There are no areas of concern identified by report writers that would benefit from exploration by an oral hearing of the Parole Board.

4.   The prisoner can demonstrate that there are core benefits to be transferred to open conditions straightaway.

By actively pursuing the Ministry of Justice route, Jess has been able to achieve the best results in the shortest possible time.  The expensive, lengthy, frustrating bureaucratic Parole Board process could become a thing of the past for model prisoners with positive future plans.

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