Miscarriages of JusticeUK

Older Prisoners JSC Call for Evidence - But Not From Older Prisoners

[Bollocks to the Justice Select Committee, MOJUK gives *Keith Rose his say]

The Justice Select Committee, chaired by Sir Alan Beith MP, is launching a call for written evidence for its new inquiry into older prisoners. Specifically, the Committee will seek to explore:

- Whether responsibilities for the mental and physical health and social care of older prisoners are clearly defined.

- The effectiveness with which the particular needs of older prisoners including health and social care, are met; and examples of good practice.

- What environment and prison regime is most appropriate for older prisoners and what barriers there are to achieving this.

- The effectiveness of training given to prison staff to deal with the particular needs of older prisoners, including mental illness and palliative care.

- The role of the voluntary and community sector and private sector in the provision of care for older people in leaving prison.

- The effectiveness of arrangements for resettlement of older prisoners.

- Whether the treatment of older prisoners complies with equality and human rights legislation.

- Whether a national strategy for the treatment of older prisoners should be established; and if so what it should contain.

Please be aware that the justice committee is unable to investigate individual cases.

[Why the fuck not? After all it is what the older prisoners experience should be the criteria for the inquiry. Not the academic wankers, excessively concerned with their intellectual opinions, who have never done a single minute of prison time and will be crawling over on another to vomit, copious amounts of bollocks on a matter, they have no experience of.

Keith Rose, an older prisoner, will not get to give evidence before the Committee, so MOJUK present his first hand evidence on the treatment of older prisoners.]

*Category OAP

A couple of weeks ago, I was dragged kicking and screaming onto an over 50s wing. After admiring the deep furrows my fingernails had left in the concrete floor, I picked myself up, dusted myself off and entered the spur.

Making my way through a forest of Zimmer frames, past a row of very smelly old men in bath chairs drooling onto the tartan rugs covering their knees ••• but that's enough about the staff ••• what about the prisoners?

The first thing that struck me was the number of over 50, over 60 and yes, over 70 year old, Category A prisoners. What utter nonsense! Whitemoor, like all Dispersal prisons was built to prevent the escape of IRA prisoners, and professional criminals, typically armed robbers. Category A prisoners were, without exception, serious terrorists or young, professional, big time criminals, not a bunch of pensioners who couldn't get over a wall, unless it was fitted with a Stannah stair lift.

How has the farce of old men, often infirm, being designated Category A, clogging up High Security prisons when others with 30, 35, 40 year sentences or whole life tariffs housed in Category B establishments, come about?

At one time, when governors had an influence on Category ratings, a typical prisoner would spend so much time as say, 'High Risk Category A, then after a period of prolonged assessment, (usually around a quarter of sentence or tariff), by staff and management having daily contact, the prisoner might progress to Standard Risk Category A. After further periods of risk assessment, the prisoner could potentially progress through the Category system to release.

The above system was easily understood and managed by staff who knew most about the prisoners in their charge, by having daily contact with them.

Over the past 20 years the prison population has doubled from around 43,000 to 91,521 on the 1st January 2013. There have been many changes, one of which is the introduction of the Incentive & Earned Privileges (IEP) system.

The IEP system was at introduction, quite easy to understand. Prisoners were awarded points, depending on their behaviour, by staff in daily contact with them. Points were awarded (or deducted) for.a variety of reasons ranging from cell tidiness to participation in education etc. A prisoner's conduct would place him into one of 3 self explanatory classes, Basic, Standard or Enhanced. Like the Category system above, the IEP scheme was simple and managed by staff having daily contact with each prisoner.

So what went wrong? Why do High Security, Dispersal prisons have to make provision for elderly, often very infirm prisoners in their 50s, 60s, 70s and believe it or not even 80s, who remain classified Category A?

The villains of the piece are obvious to any prisoner, the psycho-babes. Trainee psychologists who are given powers far beyond their intellect or ability by an even bigger bunch of fools who have let them usurp all decision making powers from governors and staff who, incredibly, have actually met the prisoners about whom they are writing Category A reports.

There is also a sinister, nasty, vindictive side to psycho-babes who are thwarted by prisoners who will not jump through hoops like performing dogs, or participate in their worthless courses, which have been proven, and re-proven to be dismal failures in reducing re-offending rates.

The following reports on individual prisoners are factual events experienced by prisoners at Whitemoor who are being kept artificially Category A, in spite of their age and/or infirmities by the Interventions (psychology) department here. The spiteful & vindictive acts recorded are the retaliation measures taken against each non-conforming prisoner by a psychologist.

In the first case, the lifer concerned was asked to create a poster promoting educational courses. He duly produced a poster which was entered in a competition. He was therefore astonished to read a LAP (Local Advisory Panel) report into his Category A status in which a psychologist described the poster as having cannibalistic & paedophiliac overtones. The prisoner has neither tendency, so now refuses to speak to the psychologist concerned whom he refers to as "the creature". As a result of this refusal, he remains an Incentives and Earned Privileges (IEP) Standard prisoner with psychology recommendations that he should be reduced to Basic for 'failing to engage with psychology'. He is nearly 60.

Another prisoner, over 60, has had 3 massive heart attacks, suffers from severe osteoarthritis, acute angina and has just suffered a cancer scare. He does not engage with psychology, so remains Category A, in spite of having spent nearly 5 years on bail, answering every condition, even when he knew bail was to be revoked. How is his Category A status justified?

The third case prisoner is over 60, and has steadfastly maintained his innocence since his conviction 12 years ago. He arrived at Whitemoor an Enhanced prisoner, a level he has enjoyed for the bulk of his time inside. At his induction, he made it clear he was an innocent man and would not speak to psychology. The psychology response was to reduce him to standard, and when he still refused to speak to the psychologist, she demanded he be reduced to basic. Staff to their credit refused to comply with this vindictive act. Foiled by the staff reaction, the psychologist then stated that he was a danger to children as in the house where his alleged crime was committed there lived two boys, 17 & 19 years old.

The psychologist then called him to the office to "discuss his danger to children". He with great dignity said, "You should be thoroughly ashamed of yourself", and walked away. He remains Category A & Standard IEP in spite of being a model prisoner, and suffering 2 strokes in the last year.

The final example is that of a prisoner, over 60, who suffered a stroke in 2008 and thus was able to alert the prisoner above to his second stroke. This prisoner has spent 23 years as Category A, due to an escape in 1995, but in 2004, a Senior Forensic Psychologist stated there were no courses he met the criteria for and should be progressed. 4 months later, a trainee psychologist, he has yet to meet, disagreed, and recommended him for every course she could think of. He was then assessed for all, but met the criteria for none. The psychologist involved in all these cases recently opposed Whitemoor's LAP recommendation that he should be downgraded to Category B as "he needs to have insight into his crime". As this prisoner has maintained his innocence for the past 23 years, he is hardly likely to change his stance now. As a side issue, in her report notes, the psychologist demonstrated her incredible incompetence by casually killing off the prisoners daughter & father, to his and their great surprise.

Chris Grayling has stated that he is going to promote Restorative Justice programmes in the prison estate as they are proven to work. Psychology courses are very expensive failures. Induction prisoners at Whitemoor were recently told by psychologists that Restorative Justice courses like Sycamore Tree were not accredited. When this lie was challenged, psychology stated they were not accredited by psychology. Of course not, they work!

When did psychology take over all management decisions regarding Category, progression & IEP status? Who decided that trainee psychologists could blackmail, harass and bully prisoners and overrule management decisions?
Why are their often childish opinions taken seriously by Prison Service HQ?

If something is a complete failure, any sensible organisation dispenses with it. Who is promoting the psychology myth of infallibility? How much longer can this bankrupt country afford psycho-babes, swelling the prison population?

Keith Rose   
HMP Whitemoor
Longhill Road
PE15 0PR