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Parole and probation procedures

(10 Posts)
dontquotem3 Wed 19-Oct-11 11:15:59

Hi there.
Does anyone know who an inmate in an open prison can complain to with regard to how they are being treated.
This person is in a catch 22 kind of situation they are "towing the line" but at every turn they are being treated in a discriminatory fashion and they fear if they complain to the prison direct or through their solicitor it will only make matters worse.

If there is any of you that can then I can be a bit more detailed.

Thanks in advance

pingulingo Wed 19-Oct-11 11:28:25

Not an expert but I know a little. Depends on what the issue is - he could talk to his prison/wing representative - which is another prisoner elected by prisoners who can take issues to the governor. He can speak to his solicitor if his rights arent being honoured or procedures aren't being followed. He can complain (I think they are called) to the board of visitors - independent group who monitor conditions in prison and can go in unannounced.

Can you be more specific about problem he's having? Also just out of interest is it a hmp or Private prison - in my limited experience I found there were more problems with hmp staff being more vindictive and was more likely to involve solicitors etc as found them to be a lot more 'jobsworth' than the private staff - but that is just my bias opinion!

dontquotem3 Wed 19-Oct-11 11:52:58

You're right on the money Pingulingo He's in a HMP. No one is helping and they're all covering each others arses.

First off his SO took him (we'll call him Fred) on escorted town visit. Fred wrote a list of things that he would like to get done, buy, and generally sort out like visiting the hostel he would stay once home leaves were approved.
At the end of this Fred was accused of intimidating staff in an outlet (because he asked for a discount on a damaged item) and taking control of the day with his list FGS. Took the SO FIVE weeks to write this shit report.
As a result of this Fred then had to see the psychologist (who I presume to be an impartial body) who says that Fred's boss thinks the sun shines out of Fred's arse and then creates problems for Fred with his prison job.
Same visit was rearranged and Fred just did what his SO wanted and SO was happy with that.

Lately Fred has had his first home leave which he spent with his girlfriend. She hired a car and Fred was named driver. There was nothing on Fred's licence to say that he could not be in control of a vehicle on the out (forgive that expression). On Fred's return to prison a female staff member was going through his things and comments on the fact that he did not use issued condoms by saying "didn't get any use out of these then?"

There were some minor 'problems' and she told Fred that he should expect to hear from the offender management unit.

Yesterday Fred, along with his SO, was summoned to a meeting with the governor. Gov questioned Fred with regard to hiring car saying "who told you your allowed to hire a car?" Fred says I didn't my girlfriend did. Gov has a minor conniption, "girlfriend, girlfriend, how long has this been going on" etc. Fred tells Gov that he has already informed his probation officer (a waste of space) about this development in his life to which Gov seemed shocked. Gov also had a problem with Fred 'controlling' things because Fred sorted out subsequent home leave dates at the hostel on the advice of his SO. When the SO was asked if this was true had he in fact told Fred to do that SO replied yes.

This is just a small window, is there anything I as a family member can do. And, what the hell can Fred do.

If you've got this far, thanks so much

dontquotem3 Wed 19-Oct-11 16:18:47

no advice available...at all?

pingulingo Wed 19-Oct-11 17:00:43

How long does your friend have left to serve? I'm guessing not too long as has a probation officer and home leave visits have started.

What you have described - day to day pettyness and obstruction from the staff sounds familiar and not something its easy to do anything about. It's probably not what you want to hear but unless your friend wants to really go all out to address the staff problems (and poentially make things more difficult for himself) then he might be better to just try and ignore as much of it as possible. Unfortunately it is a separate world inside and normal rules don't apply.

My own experience is staff (esp hmp staff) expect their inmates to be a certain type and behave a certain way, and inmates that don't are penalised - I had a friend in prison who was v educated and that seemed to get some officers back up. My friend got himself elected as wing rep and started making the governors lives more difficult - and some of the pettiness he was experiencing stopped.

I don't know the specifics of prison law / procedure too well. If your friend does want to try and address some of the issues he is having, my friend found that in most prisons there's usually some old boy who has been in a while and knows procedure/law inside out and can help. Your friend needs to be clued up on all that side if he wants to start lodging complaints etc.

Other than that you could write an anonymous letter to the board of visitors - like I mentioned they can do unannounced visits and are an independent group. But if it's your word against the prisons - they'll take the prisons side.

Sorry it's not more helpful advice, but the priority is your friend getting parole and causing waves whilst he is still inside could potentially delay that (not fair I know)

pingulingo Wed 19-Oct-11 17:11:25

Sorry have just re-read what you put. Sounds like a lot of the problem is with his SO - could he apply to have his changed perhaps?

dontquotem3 Thu 20-Oct-11 09:26:35

You are absolutely right in that Fred just has to suck it up. It is almost as if they want to see him really lose it so they then can say see see Fred is not a suitable candidate for release. Fred has been in this system a long time and is used to this kind of stuff. I just find it difficult to hear about it and know that there is not much that I can do.

Spoke to Fred last night who told me to chillax blush, so thank you for your advice, appreciate that.

RedHelenB Sun 23-Oct-11 18:00:32

TBH, Fred needs to work to develop a good relationship with his probation officer as their job is to entail an smooth return to society. Fred also needs to be aware that if he wants a job & a future he needs to accept that he can't always have control.

dontquotem3 Mon 24-Oct-11 16:41:01

Control of what RedHelen. He is following all their procedures to the letter. The probation officer does not keep in contact with Fred, isn't it them who needs to develop a good working relationship with their clients. Isn't probation a service provided?

Are you in this field or know someone who is, need a PM with some advice pronto.

ZillionChocolate Wed 26-Oct-11 08:44:31

There is a charity supporting families of prisoners, maybe try speaking to them? Can't remember the name but expect you could google it.

I don't think of Probation as being a service with clients. Whilst they try to assist people, they're also there to monitor offenders. If you don't co-operate with them, you go to prison - can't think of any other service which is so compulsory!

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