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Six Failures in Open Conditions No Bar to Direct Release.

A lifer who had served double his tariff and returned from open conditions 6 times has been released thanks to the work of Emma McClure of Swain & Co. 

The prisoner whose tariff expired over 10 years ago had bounced back and forth from the open and closed estate during the last decade due to drug suspicions. The witnesses at his Parole hearing were of the view that he could only be released after being successfully tested in open prison and that these returns to closed estate showed that his risk was too high for release. This was despite the fact that there had been no concrete evidence of substance misuse for a significant period and no evidence of violence. 

Emma was able to successfully argue that further time in the open estate was not necessary given that the prisoner’s previous returns were likely to be held against him and he had not been violent for the whole of his sentence. Unfortunately security reports, even if they are unproven or spurious, can follow a prisoner for years afterwards. This certainly seemed to be what had happened in this prisoner’s case. 

Many prisoners can find that the witnesses at their parole review are overly rigid in their thinking when it comes to progression and release. Often wanting a spotless record before progression is supported. Whilst a transfer to open conditions may be appropriate in many cases there are some where it will not be of benefit or could be actively harmful in terms of risk reduction. It is important to have an experienced advocate who is able to cut through the noise of security reports and focus the panel on the question of risk. 

Happily the Parole Board were live to the issues in the case and agreed that a 7th transfer to open conditions would be of no benefit in terms of risk management. They directed that the client should be released direct from closed conditions as soon as an approved premises place is available.

If you are on the merry-go-round of open to closed contact Swain & Co today!

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