“The inspectorate canary sings merrily away in the face of indifference and sometimes hostility from the corporate machine” Ian Acheson, former prison governor. See Inside Time, July 2018.
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…The Problem
To challenge the policy and practice in the current system through which prisoners who maintain their innocence are reviewed and progressed.Objectives
- Inside Time article published: an article summarising the results of 200 replies to our questionnaire has been published in Inside Time. You can find it on their website, August edition, p.22.
- Innocence Project success: Johny Tallbear an American Indian, has been acquitted and released after 26 years in prison for murder. The USA innocence project took the case relying on new DNA evidence. The original conviction was based on “erroneous evidence of an alleged eye-witness.. who later expressed doubts about his ID.” See innocenceproject.org.
- A useful article: Dean Kingham (Parole Board lead for the Association of Prison Lawyers) has written about how Offending Behaviour Programmes play an over dominant role in assessing a prisoner’s level of risk:
“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… 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….” If you would like a copy of Dean Kingham’s paper, please write to PPMI enclosing a stamped addressed envelope.