Sunday, July 10, 2011

Get off my back

When I discovered that this prison had made a challenge to the recommendation of the Parole Board, I made an application to the prison authorities asking the nature of the challenge.

On June 24th I wrote in the application:

I understand from Gov's App G20/11 that Long Lartin is challenging the Parole Board decision to recommend that I be sent to Open Prison. I would like to know the nature of the challenge please.
The response arrived yesterday, 29th June (but dated 28th) from the Head of the Offender Management Unit (OMU). He states:
Thank you for your application. We have challenged the decision by the Parole Board that you are transferred to open conditions. It was the recommendation at your Sentence Planning Board and the recategorisation board that you should be transferred out of the High Security Estate to a Cat 'B' prison. HSE prisons offer the highest levels of staff/prisoner levels/ratios and therefore supervision, it is therefore appropriate that you are tested in conditions which offer less supervision and therefore test for compliance. This should be a relatively short period of time and would allow you to adjust to lower levels of supervision and to take more responsibility for certain actions and progression.
I have now submitted yet another application to [the Head of OMU] - this time direct - in which I have pointed out that this matter was extensively examined by the Parole Board and in his recommendation letter the Judge made several references to the same.

I will quote some of the things he has said in that letter but let me begin by stating that the prison (OMU) submitted a dossier consisting of 168 pages and so had every opportunity to submit anything and everything they cared to.
(Page 3) 

Immediately prior to the hearing the panel were given the report of a review of your categorisation...there are no features set out in that report which would appear to justify the decision made by the review body not to recategorise you to a Category C...The panel can see no logic in the report or the conclusion made in the review.
(Page 4)
You had, rather, presented in a reasoned way, your objections to [your Offender Supervisor's] scoring of your OASys assessment. [The prison psychologist] has considered those objections and agrees they are actually justified and points out that your O[ffender] S[upervisor] had not received formal training in personal assessment tools and is not competent to assess change in offenders...We therefore prefer the other evidence we have read and heard to the lone dissenting voice of [your Offender Supervisor] do not now require any specific programme of work. [The prison psychologist] can see no benefit to you in remaining in closed conditions and says that the next logical step is for you to be transferred to less stringent conditions in the prison estate...
(Page 5)
Your Offender Manager] could see no benefit in the recommended allocation to a Category B establishment outside the High Security Estate and she did not consider that would in fact assist in enabling resettlement plans to be made. The panel agrees with that latter view...she supported a move to open conditions...She was confident that you could manage the move from High Security to open conditions despite the unusual nature of the move and that your risk was manageable there.
(Page 6)
[The prison psychologist] was asked by the panel whether, if you were moved to open, she had any concerns, including concerns about your failure to adhere to rules or constraints and she said she had none...your risk was low enough to be managed safely in open conditions...
(Page 7 - Panel's assessment etc.)
You can be safely managed in open conditions...the panel is satisfied that the overwhelming weight of reliable evidence is in favour of your transfer to open conditions...The panel (which included a specialist psychologist member) conclude, without hesitation, that you have established that your risk is low enough to be managed in open...there is no benefit to be gained nor any likelihood of any further reduction in risk by your being kept in closed conditions...What is now necessary is that you are tested in open conditions.
The panel decided on "weighty evidence" to recommend that I should be transferred to open conditions - no ambiguous language, no caveats.

There we have the two cases set out succinctly. Okay, I'm a vested interest - can't argue with that - but what does occur to me is that, for some reason, the Lazy L are reluctant to face facts, bite the bullet, give in with a good grace and simply act in a decent fashion.

It brings to mind the words of Leo Tolstoy:

I sit on a man's back, choking him and making him carry me, and yet assure myself and others that I am very sorry for him and wish to ease his lot by all possible means - except by getting off his back.
The Voice In The Wilderness

No comments: