Trapped: The IPP Prisoner Scandal

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  • 9. Set up to Fail

    Nicole and Madison were both in prison on Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) sentences. Now out on licence, Sam met these two women in Parliament, whilst trying to lobby their MPs. She sits down with them to hear about life inside female prisons as an IPP serving prisoner and how they are both doing now. As of December 2022, there were 40 women in custody serving IPP sentences. This includes 12 women who have never been released and a further 28 women who had been recalled. It’s rare to hear their stories, so we are keen to bring them to light.Sam also talks to two lawyers, Emma McClure and Andrew Sperling, who’s firm had been representing, Matthew Price, who was another IPP prisoner on licence when he took his own life in May 2023. Emma was the last person to speak to him. Andrew and Emma describe the terror that Matthew faced knowing he could be recalled back to prison at any time by his probation officer. A situation that is not unique for IPP serving prisoners on licence. To date, 19 people serving IPP sentences in the community have taken their own lives since 2020.Read Matthew Price’s email and Andrew Spurling’s further response here: Get in touch on X, TikTok, Facebook or Instagram @Trapped_PodFor more info on the campaign for justice for IPPs: visit UNGRIPP: / @UNGRIPPand IPP Committee in Action / @ActionIPPContributors in order of appearance:Madison, IPP prisoner on licenceNicole, IPP prisoner on licenceEmma McClure, Consultant Solicitor with SL5 Legal @Parole_Lawyer@mastadon.worldAndrew Sperling, Solicitor-Advocate and Managing Director of SL5 Legal / @AndrewSperlingProduction credits:Reporter: Samantha Asumadu @SamanthaAsumaduExecutive Producer: Melissa FitzGerald @melissafitzgProducer: Steve Langridge @SMLANGERSConsultant: Hank RossiA Zinc Media Production for the Institute of Now

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  • 8. Walking on Eggshells

    What is life like for people on licence from their IPP sentence? Mark Conway and Andrew Morris both describe it as ‘walking on eggshells’. Today they meet Sam to tell her their stories.Mark Conway tells how the parole process for IPPs starts from the very first day that you walk into prison. In 2019 he intervened in the terror attack at London Bridge, tackling Usman Khan who was subsequently shot dead by armed police. Mark's first call was to his parole officer because he was worried he might get recalled to prison for breaching his licence conditions. Andrew Morris says he is frustrated at the lack of will to finally bring change and the needless deaths of IPP, one being ‘Danny’ whom he knew in prison and whose death Andrew describes as "inexcusable and unforgivable that his life has been lost as a result of a system that chooses not to correct itself because it wants to be defiant to the end." Both Mark and Andrew are resilient and articulate about the IPP sentence and its effects, they say they are some of the 'lucky ones' as they have survived a sentence which has broken so many others.  Sam also speaks to criminologist Sophie Ellis who worked for the prison service for 10 years about the prisoner / psychologist relationship and her complicated feelings about having been part of administering the IPP sentence. Outside of prison, the relationship between a patient and therapist is built on trust. But as Sophie highlights, IPPs serving prisoners know that any trust they have with their therapist is more conditional, as ultimately the psychologists are there to do risk assessments and act as an arm of the prison service, a system which is built to contain them. When explaining the IPP sentence to members of the public. Sophie finds that people struggle to "psychologically comprehend that it exists" and that it "interferes with people's sense of natural justice". We also get an update on the political situation and Secretary of State for Justice, Alex Chalk's current thinking on IPPs.Get in touch on X, TikTok, Facebook or Instagram @Trapped_PodFor more info about UNGRIPP visit: / @UNGRIPPContributors in order of appearance:Mark Conway, IPP prisoner on licence Andrew Morris, IPP prisoner on licenceSophie Ellis, Criminologist and Ph.D. researcher at Cambridge University @Psych_SEllisLord Daniel Moylan @danielmgmoylan Voices in Archive:Alex Chalk KC MPSir Bob Neill MPABC News - Citizens take down terrorist on London BridgeCredits:Reporter: Samantha Asumadu @SamanthaAsumaduExecutive Producer: Melissa FitzGerald @melissafitzgProducer: Steve Langridge @SMLANGERSConsultant: Hank RossiA Zinc Media Production for the Institute of Now
  • 7. Appealing the Sentence: IH’s Story

    IH is one of the few prisoners who has successfully appealed against his draconian DPP sentence. DPP stands for ‘Detention for Public Protection’, it works just like IPPs, but it was given to people who were under the age of 18 at the time of their conviction. IH served a DPP sentence for 16 years. The Court of Appeal ruled he should have been given an extended sentence, not a DPP, so IH is now finally out of prison and free of this type of sentence. It was the Conservative Peer Lord Moylan, who has long been an active campaigner to end IPP sentences, who put Sam onto IH’s story. Lord Moylan suggests to Sam that legal appeals by IPP prisoners is an alternative to resentencing, if political change is not forthcoming, however he acknowledges that getting nearly 3000 prisoners through the appeal courts is going to be a challenge. IH was represented by Farrhat Arshad at Doughty Street Chambers. Sam meets Farrhat to talk about fighting and winning IH’s appeal, and the growing impediments that prison lawyers are facing in doing this kind of work. Whilst legal appeals may be a route to releasing individual prisoners, a UK Association prison lawyers report from August 2023 said that prison law legal aid work is ‘no longer sustainable’ due to the exhausting and poorly paid work undertaken by lawyers. So while this has been a successful case for her, Farrhat doesn't think we can get to zero IPP prisoners solely thorough legal appeals.Meanwhile, following an initiative run by IPP campaigners to gain support for their cause from the UN, in September 2023 Dr Alice Edwards, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture released a statement saying she had written to the UK government unequivocally condemning the IPP sentence, saying "for many, these sentences have become cruel, inhuman and degrading." The knock-on effect has seen mainstream news outlets like ITV, Sky and Channel 4 news report on what they are now calling 'torture sentences'. With rising awareness of this miscarriage of justice, pressure is growing on the government to take further action on IPPs. Get in touch with the Trapped team on X, TikTok, Facebook or Instagram @Trapped_PodFor more info about the campaign for IPP justice, visit: | @UNGRIPPContributors in order of appearance:'IH', former DPP PrisonerLord Daniel Moylan, Conservative Peer @danielmoylan.comFarrhat Arshad, Barrister, Doughty Street Chambers | @DoughtyStCrime | Team:Reporter: Samantha Asumadu @SamanthaAsumaduExecutive Producer: Melissa FitzGerald @melissafitzgProducer: Steve Langridge @SMLANGERSConsultant: Hank RossiArtwork: The BrightsideA Zinc Media production for the Institute of Now
  • 6. Bogus Diagnosis

    Today Sam reports on Bernadette and Abdulahi's story, which highlights the shortcomings with prisoner mental health treatment and how the recall system is failing IPP prisoners.  Sam travels to Cardiff to meet Bernadette, whose husband Abdulahi received an IPP sentence in 2005. His original tariff was two years and he has been recalled back to prison four times. Abdulahi was born in Somalia and moved to the UK as a child. He is diagnosed with bipolar disorder and his mental health has deteriorated since being in prison and because of the anxiety-inducing uncertainty of his IPP sentence. The number of people serving IPP sentences who have been recalled to prison despite not being charged with a further offence has soared in recent years. It is up almost a third since 2015. Sam also gets a call from an IPP serving prisoner we are calling Mitch. He was released in 2018 after 11 years and was recalled back to prison the same year for breaching licence conditions. The recall has had a profound impact upon his mental health. We also hear from James Daly MP, who is on the Justice Select Committee which conducted a year long enquiry into imprisonment for public protection sentences in 2022 which concluded ‘the psychological harm of the IPP sentence on individuals is profound, and many IPP prisoners have subsequently developed mental health needs’.Prison and parole solicitor, Dean Kingham and Senior Lecturer in law at the University of York, Ailbe O’Louhglin explain the history of the controversial Offender Personality Disorder (OPD) pathway, which is now considered controversial amongst many psychologists and psychiatrists.Get in touch with the team on X, TikTok, Facebook or Instagram @Trapped_PodFor more info about the campaign to end IPP sentences visit UNGRIPP: / @UNGRIPPContributors in order of appearance:Bernadette Emmerson, wife of Abdulahi, an IPP serving prisoner 'Mitch', IPP serving prisoner James Daly MPDean Kingham, Prison and Parole SolicitorGraham Towl, Professor of forensic psychology at Durham UniversityAilbe O’Louhglin, Senior Lecturer in law at the University of YorkDr Jo Shingler, Forensic Psychologist Shirley Debono, IPP Committee in ActionVoices in Archive:Alex Chalk KC MPCredits:Reporter: Samantha Asumadu @SamanthaAsumaduExecutive Producer: Melissa FitzGerald @melissafitzgProducer: Steve Langridge @SMLANGERSConsultant: Hank RossiArtwork: The BrightsideA Zinc Media production for the Institute of Now
  • 5. 'Dear Tommy': The Inquest

    Tommy Nicol was serving an IPP sentence for robbery and when his tariff expired and he still wasn’t released from prison, he took his own life. Tommy is just one of many: the total number of IPP serving prisoners who had taken their own lives by the end of 2022 was 81. It’s likely that IPPs are the highest prison cohort for suicides, and we know that the self-harm rate for IPP prisoners is double that of other life sentenced prisoners, and almost double that of determinately sentenced prisoners. In this episode, Sam investigates the human stories behind these stark statistics. Sam visits the ‘SoulsINQUEST’ exhibition in Brixton’s 198 Gallery to speak to INQUEST’s Director, Deborah Coles and look at their exhibition highlighting state violence, death, grief and resistance. It includes a tribute to Tommy, written by his sister Donna Mooney, and a photograph of a bike which signifies ‘the wheel of pain’. Every week people die of preventable deaths in mental health settings, in immigration detention, following police contact or in prisons. INQUEST was founded in 1981 by bereaved families and campaigners to provide specialist advice on contentious state related deaths and their investigation, in England and Wales. After Tommy's death, Donna became involved in setting up the campaigning organisation UNGRIPP, the ‘United Group for the Reform of IPPs'. Like INQUEST it was also founded by families and campaigners, to raise the issue of the plight of IPP serving prisoners and to advocate for policy change in parliament.Sam meets Sir Bob Neil to talk about the evidence gathered by the Justice Select Committee’s IPP report on self-harm and suicide. And we hear Labour’s John McDonnell raise the issue in parliament: they both highlight how the IPP sentence creates a sense of hopelessness, pushing many serving them over the edge. Lord David Blunkett, the architect of the IPP sentence, is posed a hard-hitting question by a former IPP prisoner. This episode is dedicated to the memory of the men and women serving IPP sentences who have died whilst in prison. Get in touch on Twitter, TikTok, Facebook or Instagram @Trapped_Pod For more info about UNGRIPP visit: / @UNGRIPP For more information about INQUEST visit: / @INQUEST_ORG Contributors in order of appearance: Donna Mooney, IPP campaigner and sister of Tommy NicolDeborah Coles, Director of Inquest @DebatINQUESTSir Bob Neil MP @neill_bobGraham Towl @ProfGrahamTowlLord David Blunkett @LordBlunkett  Voices in archive:John McDonnell MP Reporter: Samantha Asumadu @SamanthaAsumaduExecutive Producer: Melissa FitzGerald @melissafitzgProducer: Steve Langridge @SMLANGERSConsultant: Hank Rossi
  • 4. A Catch-22

    Roddy Russell first found out what an IPP sentence was in 2011 when his brother, Robert didn't come home after serving 2-and-a-half-year tariff for a threat to kill. The brothers grew up in the Forest of Dean – a place that Roddy left as soon as he was old enough, to pursue his dream of a career in the RAF, whilst Robert went down a different path and has been in prison for the last 14 years, serving an indefinite imprisonment for public protection (IPP) sentence. Today Roddy travels back to the Forest of Dean to meet Robert's friends and former co-workers as he takes on his latest battle to help get his brother released. Over the years Robert's mental health has declined. This has been a big barrier to him getting parole.To understand why IPPs are finding it so hard to get released by the parole board, Sam meets the lawyer and parole specialist, Andrew Sperling and former prison officer Sam Samworth. Samworth explains what prison life can be like for people serving IPP sentences and how vulnerable they are to other prisoners who don't have the uncertainty of indeterminate sentences hanging over them. Prisoners are all subject to a system of adjudications. Any rule infringement or outburst could be held against them when they come to parole. Sperling describes the constraints that the parole board have, whilst Hank Rossi of the Institute of Now and Richard Garside, Director of the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, discuss the barriers that prisoners may face when approaching a parole review. It’s a Catch-22 says Garside, the problems IPPs face get reproduced over time with no obvious way out.Finally, Sam and Hank travel to Bristol to meet Stafford Lightman, a Professor of Medicine. He describes how the brain responds to stress and how indefinite detention exacerbates its effects for both IPP prisoners and their family members. Get in touch on Twitter, Tik Tok or Instagram @Trapped_Pod Contributors in order of appearance:Roddy Russell, IPP campaigner and brother of serving IPP prisoner, Robert @1roddyRussellAndrew Sperling, Lawyer and parole specialist, director of SL5 Legal. @AndrewSperlingGraham Towl, Professor of forensic psychology at Durham University, former Chief Psychologist at the Ministry of Justice @ProfGrahamTowlBryn Williams, former employer of Robert RussellHank Rossi, The Institute of NowAndrew Mapps, friend of Robert RussellNick Ballard, friend of Robert RussellDan Nelmes, friend of Robert RussellSam Samworth, former prison officer and Author @NeilSamworthClara White, sister of IPP serving prisoner Thomas WhiteRichard Garside, Centre for Crime and Justice Studies @RichardJGarsideStafford Lightman, Professor of Medicine, University of BristolReporter: Samantha Asumadu @SamanthaAsumaduExecutive Producer: Melissa FitzGerald @melissafitzgProducer: Steve Langridge @SMLANGERSConsultant: Hank RossiArtwork: BrightsideA Zinc Media Production for The Institute of Now
  • 3. Tough on Crime

    Shirley Debono has been campaigning against IPPs (Imprisonment for Public Protection) for many years. Her son Shaun Lloyd received an IPP sentence in 2005 for a street robbery of a mobile phone. He is one of the first people to receive an indeterminate IPP sentence and he’s been trapped in a cycle of recalls to prison ever since. We join Shirley as she travels to the HQ of the parole board in London to try and confront the CEO, Martin Jones, about delays to her son’s parole review. Shirley fears for Shaun's mental health: it’s a hopeless situation serving time with no release date in sight.To understand where IPPs came from, Sam digs into the history of the sentence, which came into existence in 2005, and the mechanics which made it such a failure. She puts her questions to its architect, the Labour peer, Lord Blunkett. He regrets introducing the IPP sentence under New Labour’s conviction to be ‘tough on crime’ and he now campaigns against it. Sam also meets the Conservative Peer, Lord Clark who abolished the sentence in 2012, but not retrospectively, leaving thousands still trapped in British prisons on an historic and dysfunctional sentence. Lord Blunkett implicates the judges for misapplying this legislation, so Sam seeks out a response from two former judges, Nick Cooke who sentenced people to IPPs, and Lord Simon Brown, a former Supreme Court judge, who has become an icon in the fight for IPP justice.Get in touch on Twitter, TikTok or Instagram @Trapped_Pod For more info about the Campaign for Justice for IPPs prisoners: UNGRIPP Twitter @UNGRIPPContributors in order of appearance:Shirley Debono, mother of Shaun Lloyd and IPP campaignerLord David Blunkett, Labour PeerHarry Annison, Criminologist, Southampton Law SchoolLord Ken Clark, Conservative Peer.Nick Cooke, retired JudgeLord Simon Brown, Former Law Lord and Justice of the Supreme Court 2009 - 2012Milo Boyd, JournalistRichard Garside, Centre for Crime and Justice Studies @CrimeandJusticeVoices in Archive:Sir Tony BlairProduction Team:Reporter: Samantha Asumadu @SamanthaAsumaduExecutive Producer: Melissa FitzGerald @melissafitzgProducer: Steve Langridge @SMLANGERSConsultant: Hank RossiArtwork: BrightsideListen to our BBC Radio 4 doc on the IPP Sentence 'Tapped in the System' here: A Zinc Media Production for The Institute of Now