After PAS’ and The Howard League for Penal Reform‘s ground-breaking victory in the courts last year, Legal Aid has today (Wednesday 21 February) been reinstated for three key areas of prison law. Read today’s press release from PAS and The Howard League here: Press release 21 February 2018.
The three important areas are:
- Pre-tariff reviews before the Parole Board where the Board advises the Secretary of State for Justice on whether a prisoner would be suitable for a move to open conditions;
- Categorisation reviews for Category A prisoners;
- Placement in CSCs (close supervision centres).
PAS’ Joint Managing Solicitor, Deborah Russo, said of the success: “This is an unprecedented and ground-breaking legal victory for PAS, in which the vulnerability of the prison population is fully recognised as a key factor in its limited ability to access justice.”
After the cuts came into force in December 2013, violence and self-injury in prisons rose to record levels. Almost 300 people lost their lives through suicide during this period and calls to our Advice Line increased from 14,000 to 25,000 per annum.
This successful action – the first occasion that PAS undertook a legal challenge in our own name – is of national significance. From February 2018, and for many years to come, adult prisoners across England and Wales will once again have access to pockets of Legal Aid, which had unlawfully been taken from them.