Miscarriages of justice happen. Even in the best legal systems. Most people believe that there are systems in place to put things right. The Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) was set up following the notorious cases of the Guilford 4 and the Birmingham 6 to do just that.
But it doesn’t work like that in reality. The CCRC is often unable to help victims of wrongful conviction. The prisoner has been found guilty by a court and therefore remains guilty in the eyes of the public as well as the Criminal Justice System; and it does not stop there…
To challenge the policy and practice in the current system through which prisoners who maintain their innocence are reviewed and progressed.
News and Views
Annual Public meeting: Our annual public meeting, last July, was a great success. John Podmore, author of “Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Why Britain’s Prisons are Failing” gave an excellent and informative talk and a number of people expressed an interest in joining PPMI.
New courses for those convicted of sex offences will be open to those maintaining innocence: The new courses (Horizon and Kaizen) that replace the earlier Sex Offender Treatment programmes do not require an individual to discuss their offences. A person who is maintaining innocence of a sexual offence will be able to take the programme without compromising their stance.
The Henriques Report on the Met’s handling of historic sex abuse allegations is extremely critical of methods that were biased against the accused It seems that, until now, none of his recommendations has been accepted!
Risk assessment and offending behaviour programmes. Dean Kingham (Parole Board lead for the Association of Prison Lawyers) writes: “Over the years accredited offending behaviour programmes have been seen as the holy grail of risk reduction. Whether a prisoner has completed an accredited programme has been seen as central to whether risk has been reduced. Arguments to parole boards that accredited offending behaviour programmes are not necessary for release/progression have regularly fallen on deaf ears. This despite the well known judgement of Justice Cranston in Gill v the Secretary of State for Justice confirming they are not and that the 7 pathways can reduce risk.
“…For those maintaining their innocence this can be a particular problem, particularly given maintaining innocence or the favoured term ‘in denial’ has been seen to be a significant risk factor. Within the last 12 months there has been a breakthrough as psychological research studies have shown this is not the case and maintaining innocence can actually be a protective factor…. In documents released by the MoJ to explain the removal of the SOTP programmes it has confirmed that the men who did the Core had a 2% higher rate of sexual re-offending than those who did not…
“Simply saying a programme is accredited does not fit with obvious risk reduction given the failure of the SOTP’s …”
If you would like a copy of Dean Kingham’s paper, please write to PPMI enclosing a stamped addressed envelope.