Author Archives: prisonsorguk

PAROLE BOARD: Review ‘A Priority’ After Worboys Case Says New Justice Secretary

davidgaukeThe Parole Board followed “the correct procedures” when informing the victims of “black cab rapist” John Worboys of his release.

However, Justice Secretary David Gauke told MPs the fact that some of the women learned of the decision from the media meant there was a need to review procedures.

Mr Gauke, speaking in the Commons, confirmed that as a “priority” there would be a review of the procedures and transparency of the Parole Board.

The newly appointed Justice Secretary told MPs that the review would report back before Easter.

The decision to free Worboys nine years after he was jailed has prompted dismay from victims, as well as questions around why not all of the 102 complainants had seen their cases brought to trial.

Mr Gauke said: “I express my unreserved sympathy to all of the victims; they will never erase the emotional trauma of his crimes and the Parole Board’s decision to order his release must have brought back painful memories.

“On the basis of the information I’ve received since arriving in the department yesterday, it appears, in relation to these victims, those who opted to remain in contact with the VCS (Victim Contact Scheme) were informed of the parole hearing.

“Of the victims currently in contact with the scheme, those who chose to be informed of the Parole Board decision by phone or email were contacted immediately on January 3rd.”

He added: “However, while it appears that the correct procedures were followed, the fact that some victims learned of the decision from the media suggests that there is a need to review these procedures and examine whether lessons can be learned and improvements can be made.

“There is a strong case to review case for transparency in the process for parole decisions and how victims are appropriately engaged in that process and consider the case for changes in policy, practice or the Parole Board rules or other guidance or procedures including the Victims’ Code.”

Shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon said the Worboys case “underlined once and for all” the need for more transparency.

“It’s all too clear that victims of the vile crimes committed by John Worboys feel that this process has failed to do so and such failings risk undermining public trust in our wider justice system,” he said.

“Many women, both the victims and others more widely, will be very anxious indeed about Mr Worboys being freed, and the current legal restrictions on the Parole Board mean that we do not know why this decision was taken.

“I would say, with respect, we don’t need actually to debate whether there is a case for greater transparency; the Worboys case has underlined once and for all that there is a need for greater transparency.”

Richard Scorer, a specialist abuse lawyer from Slater and Gordon, which represented 11 of Worboys’ victims, echoed the concerns of Tory former minister Anna Soubry who on Monday sought assurances that women would be safe upon his release.

Mr Scorer said: “Our clients are becoming more concerned by the day about Worboys’ imminent release.

“The terrifying fact is that their attacker knows where they live after he dropped them home and wrote some of their addresses down in a notebook.

“They are living in fear that he will come after them once he gets out.”

He added: “Our clients want to be told what restrictions are being put on his movement as part of his licence and how the authorities are aiming to ensure this serial rapist does not attack again.

“Unfortunately, after the past few days our clients now have little faith that the criminal justice system will keep them safe.”

HMYOI Cookham Wood: Violence and self-harm have increased at a youth jail

In the year since the last inspection of HMYOI Cookham Wood in September 2016, when a total of 54 recommendations were made (below), 16 had been implemented by the time of this inspection. An Implementation rate of 30%. Safety: 15 recommendations made, 7 implemented. Respect: 20 recommendations made, 4 implemented. Purposeful Activity: 8 recommendations made, 2 implemented.… Continue Reading

New Police Watchdog Starts Work Today

A major overhaul of the police complaints system in England and Wales begins on Monday with the launch of a new watchdog. The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is being replaced by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) as part of a shake-up announced by Theresa May as home secretary. Ministers say the changes… Continue Reading

HMP SWANSEA: “Grudging acceptance of change or passive resistance will not suffice” to address complacency and inexcusable safer custody failures, says Chief Inspector

Background: In the three years since the last inspection of HMP Swansea in October 2014, when a total of 58 recommendations were made, just 8 had been implemented by the time of this inspection. An Implementation rate of just 14%. Safety: 17 recommendations made, 2 implemented. Respect: 20 recommendations made, 5 implemented. Purposeful Activity: 11… Continue Reading

Number of female prisoners released into homelessness soars

The number of women released from prison into homelessness has more than doubled over the past year, new figures have revealed. Information obtained by Labour showed that 227 female offenders were recorded as being homeless by the Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC) in the second quarter of 2017, compared with 103 a year earlier. In total, almost a… Continue Reading

£200,000 Paid Out In 2016-2017 Prison Lost Property Claims

Prisoners have received hundreds of thousands of pounds in compensation for lost or damaged property, new figures reveal. More than 10,000 taxpayer-funded payouts have been made since 2013 for items including a dressing gown, hair clippers and trainers. In total, more than £850,000 was awarded over the last four years, statistics obtained by the Press… Continue Reading

Unwise Men Fall For Police Force’s Christmas Con

A cunning Christmas ruse by police that tricked wanted criminals into handing themselves in with the false promise of a free Christmas hamper has been hailed a success. Detectives from South Yorkshire Police launched covert Operation Holly in a bid to put people facing charges for offences, some serious, before the courts. The team sent… Continue Reading

Royal Met Cop Avoids Jail After Posing Online As 17 year Old Girl

A shamed royal police officer has avoided jail after he stole a dead woman’s pictures to pose online as a 17-year-old girl “for kicks”. Pc Adam Cox, 31, was working in Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection when he created an alter ego called Emily Whitehouse to exchange explicit chat with three men online. After being asked… Continue Reading

Winchester Prison: “Teetering on The Edge of Major Incident” Warns Watchdog

The situation at a prison is “fragile” with a prevailing sense that it is “teetering on the edge of a major incident”, a report has warned. It said a lack of staff at HMP Winchester has resulted in a “steady deterioration” of the environment and a “noticeable rise in tension”. There has been an increase in self-harm,… Continue Reading