Reeds Solicitors successfully secure a release recommendation for a prison law client. This case highlighted the importance of representation from a Prison Law specialist. Leaving errors unnoticed and unchallenged may have a detrimental effect on the outcome of a parole review.
Parole Review Case
Our client Mr K, who is an IPP sentence prisoner, was recently recalled for a second time on suspicion of further offences during his sentence. But this is not the first time that Mr K has been accused of further offences.
When Mr K was first recalled, Reeds were able to challenge the circumstances of recall and provide evidence to support Mr K’s version of events. Mr K became the first Prisoner to be released from HMP Elmley, where he was recalled to, on the papers.
During Mr K’s recent recall, the Probation Officer was recommending further work. The risk management plan also proposed that Mr K be released to an Approved Premise. However, they were not supporting a re-release.
The Prison Law team at Reeds Solicitors were able to determine that Mr K’s report contained many errors. Amongst the errors were misinformation, as well as a personal opinion given by his Community Offender Manager. The team at Reeds raised these contradictions with the Parole Board. Subsequently, Mr K’s matter was directed to be heard at an Oral Hearing.
During the Oral Hearing, Reeds provided oral evidence challenging the misinformation noted in Mr K’s report. In addition, Reeds challenged the Probation Officer’s recommendation that there was a need for further work. They also disputed the proposal for a release to an Approved Premises.
Reeds Solicitors were able to secure a release recommendation for Mr K. This was a huge success for Mr K and the team at Reeds as this was received within one day of the hearing. Furthermore, it was also agreed that a release to an Approved Premises was not necessary in Mr K’s case.
Mr K has expressed his gratitude to the team at Reeds for the help that was provided. Mr K was insistent in having his case used as an example of how important it is to seek experienced and specialist legal representation.
Mr K has also taken to the time write to Reeds to express his thanks. “Reeds Solicitors are a lifeline to IPP prisoners lost in the system. They operate with a genuine passion” said Mr K.
Mr K went on to add that “IPP’s and lifers are not asking to be given special treatment, but do expect to be treated fairly, within the boundaries of the criminal justice system. There [is] reasonable expectation that the information contained within the [report] is accurate.”
The Parole Review Process and Representation
At Reeds Solicitors, we serve many clients in different circumstances. Some clients may be serving a sentence that requires a Parole Board direction for release. Others have perhaps been recalled back to custody for an alleged breach of licence. In both of these examples, Prisoners are entitled to serve written representations to the Parole Board in support of release. These will be added to the report and considered at an initial paper review, which is carried out by a single member of the Parole Board. At this stage, the Parole Board have the power to make one of several decisions:
- They can direct release on the papers,
- Conclude that you should remain in custody,
- Defer/adjourn the review for further reports,
- Or direct an Oral Hearing.
Once the recall reports have been completed, it is very important to act quickly. This is because there are time limits involved in serving representations. The best way to secure a timely decision is to seek release on the papers.
At this stage, it is crucial that a Prison Law specialist is instructed to work on these representations. A specialist will update the board on progress, challenge any errors in the report and provide any evidence (that is not included in the report) that the client wishes to rely on.
If Prisoners do not seek representation at the initial review, then they should look for an expert if an oral hearing is directed. This is so that witnesses can be cross-examined on the Prisoners behalf.
At Reeds, our team of Prison Law advisors are experienced in working with clients to obtain necessary information about their case in order to prepare representations regardless of sentence type. We have advisors all over the country, and so can assist our clients no matter their location.
Contact us today to speak to one of our experts and find out how we can help.