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IPP prisoner released Direct From Closed Conditions, Emma McClure

Emma has recently acted for an IPP prisoner who had been in custody for around 18 years, despite having a tariff (minimum term) of just two years.

This client bounced between closed and open conditions a number of times including during the course of his current parole review. The client had to deal with a number of significant failures of the prison system. This included failures by multiple prisons to deal with his serious health needs in addition to the frustrations of the IPP sentence and delays in the parole process.

These failures had understandably led to this client expressing his frustrations. This led to him receiving adjudications for threatening behaviour prior to parole hearings and even an attempted prosecution for an alleged staff assault during the course of the review.

There was a prison psychological report which recommended that the client should remain in closed conditions to complete further work, arguing that his behaviour in custody demonstrated that he was not able to control his risk of violent behaviour. The client understandably found this evidence upsetting and stressful. Emma ensured that regular breaks took place during the hearing to assist her client to manage his frustrations.

Emma sought an independent psychological assessment to challenge the evidence presented by the prison psychologist. She also ensured the attendance at the hearing of witnesses who could speak to the client’s general demeanour and who could add context to the written records relating to adjudications and security concerns.

With this evidence, Emma was able to make powerful submissions that this client’s behaviour in custody was context-specific and that outside of prison his risk was manageable. The Parole Board Panel accepted these arguments and directed his release.

Her client finally has the chance of freedom after many years in which he almost lost all hope.


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