Posts Tagged ‘ Prisoners ’


PRISON LAW PRICING

Written by admin
September 1st, 2018

As of February of this year some new areas of Prison Law work are again covered by legal aid.  Regrettably, there are still a great many problems that prisoners experience for which legal aid is simply not available.

Prisoners are a particularly vulnerable group.  The pressures that they feel are acute and can lead to depression, mental health problems and, in the worst cases, extra punishment.

Prisoners and their families are often keen to do everything they can to improve their own, or a loved one’s situation.  This means of course that they may be prepared to dig deep into cash reserves, or even borrow to pay for help from solicitors.

There can be no doubting that the number of solicitors exploit this vulnerability.  Some solicitors prey on the notion that good work must cost a lot and therefore clients will only think that a job has been done properly if they are paying through the nose for it.  Some solicitors will suggest they only have one or two clients in a particular prison and therefore will have to make special journeys to see people which will mean that they have to charge clients more.  Some solicitors will suggest that they have to charge a particularly inflated hourly rate to cover the overheads involved in Prison Law work.

At The Johnson Partnership we don’t believe in exploiting any sort of client.  Vulnerable clients, detained in custody for long periods of time, are not there to be exploited.  To ensure that clients and their families know exactly where they stand we aim, wherever possible, to offer a fixed rate for each particular area of Prison Law work.  This means that everybody knows where they stand from the start.  A client, or a client’s friend or family member, can make a hard-nosed decision as to whether or not they want to have a particular piece of work done.

In rare cases, where it is just impossible to know how much work will be involved in looking after a particular prisoner, we not only provide a hourly rate but also regular costs updates.  If the goalposts look as though they are going to move, we ask for our client’s permission, before proceeding to the next stage of the job, rather than just assuming they want to continue paying, paying, paying.

If you feel that you have been exploited, misled, or ripped off by someone claiming to look after either your interests or those of a loved one, try The Johnson Partnership’s transparent pricing system and let us know how well it has worked for you.

POSTAL REQUISITIONS FROM HELL

Written by Sian Hall
February 25th, 2018

The idea of people being posted and goods or services being requisitioned immediately brings back memories of old World War II movies on black and white Sunday afternoons.

In their wisdom, the Ministry of Justice and Her Majesty’s Courts & Tribunal Service decided some little time ago to replace the time served summons with a new postal requisition. The postal requisition requires somebody to attend court at a particular time on a particular date and is posted to the last known address of the would-be recipient.

With voluntary interviews away from custody suites becoming more and more common, and with defendants being called to attend at court long after they have been allegedly released under investigation, the postal requisition is now in its heyday.

Having somebody back at the police station in order to charge them and give them a new date face to face, on which they were required to attend at court, obviously had a level of direct drive certainty about it. The postal requisition has introduced endless vagaries and uncertainties into a previously quick and efficient process.

Perhaps the weirdest and wackiest use of the postal requisition is to commence proceedings against someone who is still known to be a serving prisoner. A document is posted to the individual at the prison, but it is rarely sent out along with an order calling on the prison to produce that person to court. The prisoner sits in his cell, the court wants to know where they are, and the connective tissue of the production order has never been put in place.

Now that the West Yorkshire Police are rolling out trial mobile fingerprint scanners, perhaps the day of the mobile custody suite, with all the certainty and clarity that that entails, may not be far hence and the days of the postal requisition may yet be numbered.

INCREASE IN THE SCOPE OF LEGAL AID “SURELY SOME MISTAKE”

Written by Sian Hall
February 10th, 2018

As of late February this year legal aid will again be available for prisoners facing certain types of adjudications and applications from which it had previously been withdrawn.

Life sentence prisoners and IPP prisoners facing pre-tariff review hearings will again be entitled to fully prepared representation at oral hearings. These are essential in assisting prisoners in working towards release and ensuring, for example, that they are moved to open conditions at the earliest opportunity. There is much to be considered, reports and other evidence to be obtained and representations not only to be put forward but argued most strenuously.

Legal aid will also be available to prisoners held in Category A conditions, who have the chance of re-categorisation. The extreme restriction on liberty involved in being a Cat A prisoner is now understood to be something that ought to be capable of challenge with the benefit of assistance in preparation and representation at any relevant hearings.

Finally, legal aid will also be available to those wishing to challenge detention in a closed supervision centre. These “prisons within prisons” are often used to house prisoners convicted of terrorist offences. The conditions within CSC’s and the general circumstances of the regime are thought now to be ones which should be capable of challenge with the benefit of a fully prepared representation.

The thought of any these categories of prisoners being dealt with without representation is startling abhorrent. It has to be good news that all of those, in these particular circumstances, can now be dealt with in a fair, just, and acceptable way. We are delighted to say that our Prison Law Department now has seven keen members, all are fully committed to embracing the challenges that the new legal aid regulations will inevitably bring.

Do not hesitate to contact us at any time on (0115) 941 9141 and ask either for Digby Johnson or the Prison Law Team.

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!

FROM BOYS TO MEN

Written by Will Bolam
October 28th, 2016

2016 has seen a dramatic change in the makeup of the East Midlands prison estate. Glen Parva Young Offenders Institution, which has held under 21 year old detainees for well over 30 years, has now become a mixed youth and adult facility.

For years, young East Midlands miscreants have had to listen to their older relatives telling them about the time they spent at the nearby barracks during their own younger days. Tigers Road and Saffron Road have been come synonymous with high walls and strict regimes.

The arrival of older prisoners at Glen Parva has meant that there has been a significant sea change in the character of the custodial facility.

A former governor of Glen Parva was heard to declare that “Young offenders are nothing more than animals”. This comment was made after a month of particularly exuberant behaviour by warring factions from different local cities.

The calming influence of more experienced time served detainees is said to have introduced an area of relative tranquillity to the leafy back waters of South Wigston.

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 CRIMINAL DEFENCE SOLICITORS FOR DONCASTER

Written by Editor
April 15th, 2014

The Johnson Partnership Criminal Defence Solicitors are pleased to announce that we have recently acquired the Practice of GV Hale & Company, who until November 2013 were owned by a company by the name of Northern Briefs.

We intend to provide a comprehensive 24 hour advice and assistance service for clients detained in police stations as well as experienced, thorough and discreet representation for those appearing before Magistrates’ Courts near and far. 

The Johnson Partnership’s Prison Law team will be able to reach out from the Doncaster office with particular ease to clients detained at Doncaster, Hull, The Wolds, Everthorpe, Lindholme, Moorlands, Leeds, New Hall, Askham Grange and Wetherby. 

With a new South Yorkshire office The Johnson Partnership’s Fraud team will be able to service Doncaster and Yorkshire based clients experiencing difficulties with Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs, as well as all manner of other statutory investigatory bodies, on their own doorstep. 

A close network of experienced counsel and a team of in-house advocates are already providing day-to-day representation before Crown Courts in Sheffield, Leeds, Bradford, York, Hull and Grimsby. 

Visit our offices at 70 Waterdale, Doncaster, DN1 3BU for help and assistance.  We are happy to offer same day appointments or home visits for those who have mobility, health or child difficulties.

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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