West Midlands Against Injustice (WMAI)

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Parole board - Decision of the panel - HMP Frankland 27th November 2009

Parole board
Grenadier House 99-105 Horseferry Road London
General enquiries: 0845 251 2220 Fax: 0207 217 0344

Automatic Life Imprisonment Prisoner - HMP Frankland

Mr J Smith - AT9496

HMP Frankland 27th November 2009

25 November 2009

Decision of the panel
1.  The Parole Board is empowered to direct your release if it is satisfied that it is no longer necessary for the protection of the public that you be confined. The panel of the Parole Board that considered your case on 25th November 2009 was not so satisfied and therefore has not directed your release. The panel was further invited by the Secretary of State to advise, if it did not consider release appropriate, whether you should be transferred to open conditions and if so the degree of risk involved. The panel advises that you should not be transferred to open conditions.

Evidence considered by the panel
2.  The panel has considered all the documents put before It in the dossier delivered to the panel, the sentence planning and review meeting notes dated 30th September 2009, the evidence of Ms Thornton, your offender supervisor, your written submissions and oral evidence and oral submissions on your behalf by Ms Kidd your legal representative. The Secretary of State's view was that he considered that you did not meet the test for release or transfer to open conditions; he was represented by Mr Wilkinson.

3.  The panel notes that you are described in the dossier as a discretionary life sentence prisoner whereas in fact you are an automatic life sentence prisoner.

Analysis of offending
4.  On 19th April 1998, when you were aged 32, you abducted your victim, a former girlfriend. You assaulted her, kept her prisoner, raped her, robbed her and threatened to kill her. You were convicted of rape at Wolverhampton Crown Court and you were sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of three and a half years which expired on 15th October 2002. You received concurrent sentences for false imprisonment, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and robbery. You also received sentences of imprisonment for offences relating to firearms on a separate indictment.

5.  You have a number of previous convictions for offences which include burglary, possession of offensive weapons and a bladed article and wounding with intent. In 1998 you were convicted of assaulting a previous partner

Factors which increase or decrease risk of re-offending and harm
6.  Your risk factors were identified earlier in your sentence as use of violence, entrenched criminal lifestyle, sexual offending and poor cognitive problem solving.

7.  You admit the offence of assault occasioning bodily harm and the firearms offences to all of which you pleaded guilty but you maintain your denial of the other offences for which you were convicted.

8.  You have declined to do any offence related work during your sentence. While at HMP Full Sutton you indicated that you were prepared to be considered for Enhanced Thinking Skills (ETS) and Controlling Anger and Learning to Manage It (CALM) but only if you were transferred to another prison.

9.  In 2007 you were assessed as unsuitable for Sex Offender Treatment Programmes (SOTP) because of your denial of having committed a sexual offence.

10.  You have had no proven adjudications since 2007.

11.  In 2007 you expressed an interest in undertaking ETS There was a delay in response from the Psychology Department, and upon its eventual arrival you objected to being asked whether you remained interested in undertaking it and you then failed to return the application form that was sent to you; you then refused to undertake the programme because of what you regarded as the unacceptable delay in assessing you. You can not undertake CALM until you have completed ETS.

12.  You informed your offender manager in June 2009 that you were willing to undertake victim awareness and domestic violence programmes and Enhanced Thinking Skills (ETS) but not while you remained in HMP Frankland.

13.  The panel accepted that you had been subjected to additional stress by the prison department's ambivalent attitude to whether you should be referred for assessment for Dangerous and Severe Personality Disorder (DSPD).

Evidence of changed during sentence
14. An Offender Assessment System (OASys) dated September 2008 assessed you as presenting a high risk of reconviction with a score of 118/168 and a high risk of harm to the public and known adults. The OASYs recommended that you undertake ETS, SOTP, CALM and Cognitive Self Change Programme (CSCP).

15. A further OASys dated August 2009 assessed you as presenting a high risk of reconviction with a score of 104/168 and a high risk of harm to the public and known adults. The change in score reveals more about the subjective nature of OASys assessments rather than any change in your circumstances.

Panel's assessment of current risk of re-offending and serious harm

16. You told the panel that you had at all times been willing to do ETS and CALM but were not willing to do them at HMP Frankland. You considered you have not been given a fair chance to do the work because the prison service were constantly moving the goalposts and not allowing you to do the work.

17. The panel noted the development of your knowledge and skills during your sentence and your calm approach to your actual and perceived conflicts with administrative procedures. The panel also noted your tendency to focus your energy on such matters rather than on your risk factors and what you need to do to attempt to reduce them,

18.   The panel took the view that the true position was that you were constantly
inventing excuses for not undertaking the necessary courses and that you had no real intention of doing the necessary work.

Conclusion: Level of risk and suitability for release or open conditions
19.   There is no support in the reports about you for release or transfer to open

20.   The panel considers that there has been minimal reduction during your sentence
in the risk of serious harm you present. It remains high as does your prospect of reconviction and that your risk is unmanageable in the community or in open conditions.

21.   The decision not to release you is binding under Secretary of State.
22.   A copy of this letter is being sent to the Secretary of State, the governor of HMP
Frankland and your legal representative.

Parole Board

Panel's assessment of current risk of re-offending and serious harm