PAS Annual Lecture 2022 Audio

PAS’ Annual Lecture series returned this July, when  Matthew Evans, Director of The AIRE Centre, delivered a talk on Human Rights.   The audio of the event is available to listen to below.

Thank you to Reed Smith for generously supporting this event.

PAS Boycotts Parole Board User Group

The Association of Prison Lawyers, along with PAS, The Howard League for Penal Reform and the Legal Aid Practitioners’ Group, are boycotting the next Parole Board Users’ Group (PBUG).

As part of the recent Ministry of Justice (MoJ) Criminal Legal Aid Review, Sir Christopher Bellamy concluded that the sector needed a minimum of £135m every year to reverse what he described as ‘years of neglect’. Sir Bellamy specifically addressed the importance of prison law in his review and recommended that the proposed increase should also apply to this area of work. Criminal law barristers are currently undertaking action as a result of the Government’s failure to properly implement the recommendations.  But prison lawyers who undertake many thousands of parole hearings each year will not receive any increase at all in rates of pay, not even the increases being applied to all other areas of work that fall under the Legal Aid Agency’s crime contract. The exclusion of prison work from the planned increases in legal aid rates demonstrates at best, a total lack of understanding of the work itself and at worst, a deliberate decision to underfund this vital part of the criminal justice system.

We are seeking a meeting with the Justice Secretary in the absence of a current legal aid Minister.

Read the letter sent to PBUG by the four organisations here.

PAS Annual Lecture, Wednesday 20th July

PAS’ Annual Lecture series returns with an person event on Wednesday, 20th July.

Matthew Evans, Director of The AIRE Centre, will deliver the lecture, which will take as its topic Human Rights. Drinks will be served before and after the event.

When: Wednesday 20th July, 6pm-9pm
Where: Reed Smith, Broadgate Tower, 20 Primrose Street, London, EC2A 2RS
RSVP: If you would like to attend please email list@prisonersadvice.org.uk to reserve a place.

The lecture will also be available on Zoom, if you would like to attend via Zoom please email list@prisonersadvice.org.uk and we will send the joining instructions.

Thank you to Reed Smith for generously supporting this event.

End of COVID-19 Restrictions in Prisons

On 9th May, Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) announced that COVID-19 restrictions would end immediately forthwith in all prisons, which will move towards a more normalised approach to the virus.  We await further announcements on a new approach to testing within prisons and any other infection control measures. Read the letter from Phil Copple, Director General of Prisons, here.

PAS Submits Evidence to IPP Sentences Inquiry by Justice Select Committee

On Tuesday 23 November, the Justice Committee will begin taking oral evidence for its inquiry into Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) sentences, with a session focused on the experiences of prisoners serving the sentences and their mental health. Though IPP sentences were abolished in 2012, there are still more than 3,000 people currently in prison serving the sentence. The indeterminate nature of the sentence means prisoners do not know when they will be released.

PAS has, today, submitted written evidence to the Select Committee. Read PAS’ submission here.

Job Vacancy at PAS – Community Care Caseworker

PAS is recruiting for a Community Care Caseworker.

PAS’s caseworkers provide legal advice and advocacy to prisoners throughout England and Wales. The Director at PAS supervises the post, which is self-servicing.

This role offers excellent opportunities for the right candidate, who will be able to take responsibility for and develop a full caseload. Knowledge of the main issues affecting prisoners is essential.

The post is 3 days a week. A 4 day week will be considered for the right candidate. 

The entry pay level will be £33,856 – £34,741 pro-rata including London weighting.  

PAS currently offers hybrid working.  The post holder would be expected to attend the office for at least one day a week.

Further details can be found on our vacancy page.

PAS Supports BID and Liberty As They Call for an End to Intrusive GPS Monitoring

Today, PAS joins the more than 40 human rights organisations that have sent a letter to the Home Office, protesting its introduction of 24-hour GPS monitoring of people on immigration bail in an expansion of surveillance powers without consultation.

Read the letter here.

The letter is covered in an article in the Guardian here.

Fathers Guide Launch a Fascinating Success

Last night saw the online launch of PAS’ new guide for imprisoned fathers, Fathers in Prison: Contact with Children. Although attendance figures were not high, the early evening event was a fascinating and much needed discussion of the importance of maintaining a connection with children for those in prison. Watch the recording of the discussion below.

PAS is most grateful to all involved in creating and publishing the guide, and to those who took part in the discussion last night: Rose Harvey-Sullivan (Barrister at 7BR and author of the guide), Chris Atkins (best-selling author of  A Bit of a Stretch: The Diary of a Prisoner), Charlie Weinberg (Safe Ground), Amanda Emerson (PACT), funders Matrix Causes Fund and 7BR and Cooley LLP for hosting the event.

PAS to Launch New Guide for Fathers in Prison

PAS is delighted to announce the launch of a new addition to our range of Self Help Toolkits, aimed at imprisoned fathers.

Our toolkits are designed to help prisoners understand and undertake some of the simpler legal processes themselves.  Fathers in Prison: Contact with Children is our response to the number of queries we routinely receive from male prisoners who are unable to access assistance in understanding their options when they want to have contact with their children and/or remain involved in their children’s lives.

Written by Rose Harvey-Sullivan, Barrister at 7BR, to whom PAS is most grateful, the new guide is made possible through the kind support of Matrix Causes Fund and 7BR

PAS will launch the toolkit at an online panel discussion, to take place at 5pm on Thursday 10 June. As well as the author, the event will feature contributions from BAFTA nominated film-maker and writer, Chris Atkins, Director of prison relationship charity, Safe Ground, Charlie Weinberg and Amanda Emerson, family engagement manager with PACT.

Register to attend the event here

New Report on the Impact of Prison Lockdown on Physical Health

EP:IC Consultants has published the second in a series of reports on prisoner health during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The document, The Impact of Prison Lockdown on Physical Health, examines issues around the physical health of people in prison during lockdown, from the perspective of patients. It utilises a variety of sources, including responses from over 2,000 prisoners, across 19 prisons.

Confinement to their cells for the vast majority of every day played an immense role in forming prisoners’ views on their physical health, the report concludes, with a significant number of patients feeling that their physical health has declined since the start of the pandemic.

The report also finds that women and people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities are more likely to feel that their physical health has declined.

Read a full summary of the report here

PAS Launches Freephone Number for Women Prisoners

PAS has launched a new freephone telephone number to encourage women prisoners to call while our Outreach Clinics remain suspended.

The service will be available on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 10am to 12.30pm, between now and the end of April, as a pilot project.

A new PAS poster, below, has been designed and distributed across the women’s estate.

The freephone number is: 0800 0246 205.

Read more about PAS’ work with women here.

New HMPPS Guidance Note for HMCTS Operations

Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) has published updated guidance regarding how prisons should manage the production of prisoners for court hearings.

Read / download the guidelines here.