John Bowden: Parole Hearing was Positive - Waiting for MOJ to Sign it Off!


 The parole hearing Friday 14th February 2020, was surprisingly positive and very different from my previous parole hearings when the panels were openly hostile and totally obsessed with my prison history and "difficult relationship" with the prison system.

This time the panel were very polite and made it clear that their only priority was establishing that my risk to the community was minimal and that I could be "safely managed" in the outside community and the probation service assured them that on both issues I was safe to be released", 


 The hearing was relatively brief, and only passing reference was made to my "political associations", something that, was a "major concern" for previous panels. I'm sure that my legal action against the previous parole decision represented a shot across the bow for the parole board, and so on this occasion, they were keen to at least be seen to behave legally appropriately.


 Following this last hearing, I was reasonably hopeful about the outcome, although a positive decision will have to be made by the Ministry of Justice, and that is what concerns me. 


The current very negative political climate regarding "violent offenders" and "ideologically radicalised" prisoners, and of course Boris Johnson's handing over the Justice Ministry and Home Office to far-right "Hang em and Flog em" zealots, might well impact negatively on the ultimate decision regarding my fate.

Only time will tell I suppose, and of course, I'll keep everyone updated on what happens.


John Bowden
HMP Warren Hill
IP12 3BF