April 2, 2020

Should I Draw You A Picture?

April 18, 2016 | By Andrew Sperling

Parole, learning disability, autism and fair hearings

In To Kill A Mockingbird, a black man, Tom Robinson, is accused and convicted of raping a white woman.  He is represented by a fearless and principled la...

May 27, 2019

Andrew Sperling on why the Conservative leadership contender’s “cheap attempt to whip up hatred’ on a prisoner’s temporary release – a case he will know nothing about – is dangerous.

One of the few pleasures of working in the criminal justice system is that it has been,...

March 1, 2019

The Ministry of Justice has announced that there will be a new review process to challenge Parole Board decisions termed the Reconsideration Mechanism. This is a worrying development for prisoners serving indeterminate and extended sentences. When it comes into effect...

May 25, 2018

Members of the public will be able to request summaries of Parole Board decisions made after 22nd May 2018. Here is a quick guide:

1. Who is entitled to a summary of the decision?

A victim can request a summary of a Parole Board decision letter.  A “victim” is defined...

February 2, 2018

Every month hundreds of parole hearings take place up and down the country. Almost all of them take place out of the glare of the public eye. Parole hearings have been held in private in England and Wales ever since the Parole Board was established fifty years ago. Tha...

November 29, 2017

Still waiting for guidance from MoJ and Parole Board

The fourth Lord Chancellor in four years, David Lidington, has withdrawn an appeal to the Supreme Court against the Court of Appeal’s ruling that several cuts to legal aid for prisoners were unlawful.  It has taken ov...

July 31, 2017

When I studied law at university 30 years ago I found reading court judgments an odd experience. They were almost always written by men. It struck me that women seemed to be barred from being judges and I didn't understand why. 

They were often very long. They were obv...

July 27, 2017

Large numbers of prisoners in limbo waiting for ‘SOTP mess’ to be cleared up

Anyone who has served a prison sentence for a sexual offence over the last 25 years will have heard of the SOTP. Thousands of prisoners have completed at least one version of the programme. Man...

May 2, 2017

Prison reform has been one of the casualties of Brexit and the decision by Theresa May to call another general election. The Prisons and Courts Bill was quietly shelved after the election was announced and there is no guarantee that it will be resurrected.  

The electi...

April 3, 2017

Kevin is serving a life sentence at a prison in the South of England. He is on the autistic spectrum and has significant learning disabilities. He has a parole hearing coming up next month. The hearing will be over two years late.  

Kevin was convicted of an extremely...

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