One Day in a London Prison

Written 24th May 2016 by Olliers Solicitors

Andrew Sperling, Specialist Prison Lawyer, provides a snapshot of one day inside prison

I was at a London prison yesterday for a parole hearing. A little microcosm of what is going on in prisons at the moment:

  1. Client described prison as filthy (cockroaches all over his cell) and very violent – he had witnessed someone being stabbed in the exercise yard and someone else stabbed on a landing.
  2. He had been recalled over a year ago and the review of his recall has still not been completed.
  3. The re-release plan for him is sketchy because the support he needs in the community is very hard to come by. There is a serious shortage of suitable accommodation in the community. He has a learning disability – local authorities are not prepared to assess him in custody so it is not clear what support he will get in the community.
  4. The Parole Board has no power to direct local authorities or other service providers to do anything – so choice is:
    1.  release and hope things come together;
    2. adjourn and hope something comes together by the time of the next hearing;
    3. refuse to release.

Why is Prison Reform not Working?

Multiply this scenario lots of times and you have a good insight into why prisons are so crowded and why meaningful prison reform is so elusive.

Olliers Solicitors – Specialist Prison Lawyers

Written by Andrew Sperling. Andrew is a specialist prison law solicitor who has recently joined Olliers. He specialises in public law, Parole Board advocacy and human rights. He was a founder member of the Association of Prison Lawyers (APL) which was established in 2008 and Chairman of APL between 2011 and 2013.

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