The time spent in prison can be distressing and worrying. To lower the hardships, prisoners are awarded some rights under the rules mentioned in Prison Law. Irrespective of the fact whether a prisoner has been just detained or serving a long-term sentence, he can avail some rights and privileges as a prisoner.
At TMC Solicitors, we do understand that how distressful it is for the prisoners and their families. In this situation, choosing the best solicitor could be the wisest decisions.
If unfortunately, you and your family have been passing through such times, we are here to help you. We offer a wide range of legal services related to Prison Law.
- IPP Prisoners
- Life Sentenced Prisoners
- Judicial Review
- Pre Tariff Reviews
- Parole Board Hearings
- Home Detention Curfew
- Sentence Planning
- Mental Health
- Foreign National Prisoners
The sentences under Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) are meant to protect the public from serious offenders. These are the offenders whose crimes don’t merit a life sentence. Prisoners under IPP sentence have to spend a minimum term (commonly referred to as ‘tariff”) in the prison.
Once the tariff period is over, prisoners can apply to the Parole Board for their release. Upon satisfaction, Parole Board will release the offender. However, it is necessary to convince the Parole Board that the confinement of such an offender is no longer required for public protection.
Once released on parole, an offender will be on a supervised licence for not less than 10 years. In case the parole grant application meets refusal, the offender can’t apply again for one year. Therefore, to enhance the chances of getting released on parole, make sure to consult a prison law expert.
Our Prison Law solicitors offer legal advice and provide representation to IPP prisoners. We have successfully conducted a wide array of appeals to set aside IPP sentences. The focus of our team is to help our clients to progress towards a release.
We assist our clients to steer through their sentence progression matters. With our guidance, offenders can also join the offending behaviour courses. In this way, offenders can reduce the risk of parole refusal. Our legal team that deals with Parole Board hearings is experienced in handling such matters.
Life Sentenced Prisoners
Imprisonment for life is awarded against the offences that are most serious. There are two of the most common instances where judges consider the imposition of life imprisonment.
- If a dangerous offender commits a serious offence that justifies a life sentence
- If the defendant was previously convicted of a serious offence and again commits the same offence
The custody period of life sentence prisoners isn’t fixed. The duration of an overall serving period might depend on any of these factors:
- Giving maximum punishment to the offender
- Deter other individuals from committing the same offence
- Prevent general public from future threat
The tariff period is the least amount of time that a convict must spend in prison. After that, the Parole Commissioners might consider releasing the offender. After released on parole, the prisoners under life sentence are on licence for life. They might be returned to prison if considered a threat to public safety.
If you need a specialist and comprehensive prison law services, we can provide you with the same. Apart from initial criminal defence, you can also seek legal support to protect your rights while in the prison.
The Judicial Review is a way to challenge the decisions in the High Court that were made by a public body. The Court reviews the legality of such a decision or action. Unlike an appeal, the merits of the decision are not under question. On the contrary, it’s the process of making a decision that is under review.
The Judicial Review (JR) has numerous potential applications to matters associated with prison law. It permits to challenge the decisions against prisoners. These include decisions made regarding prison rules, discipline, transfers, parole board hearing, and categorization decisions.
Judicial Review isn’t a readily accessible or the easiest remedy to avail. Therefore, you need to seek the assistance of an experienced lawyer who can handle the matters linked with a Judicial Review. This is the area where we can help you. Our seasoned JR lawyers are always there to assist you to steer through tough times.
Pre Tariff Reviews
The identification of the prisoners that are suitable to be moved to open conditions is performed through a “Sorting” procedure referred to as ‘Pre-tariff Sift’. This process helps the prison staff to short-list the eligible prisoners who can undergo a Pre-tariff Review.
The Pre-tariff Sift is a procedural stage of the “Sentence Planning and Review Meeting” (SPRM). Once a prisoner is considered for Pre-tariff Sift, he/she can submit representations to the Parole Board. As a result, Parole Board can review their case in light of the findings of SPRM.
However, it is imperative to seek legal advice while preparing for the SPRM. This allows enhancing the chances of success. Here at TMC Solicitors, our prison law solicitors have the experience of representing the clients during Pre-tariff Sift. We can also provide help during the SPRM by preparing the written representations.
Parole Board Hearings
Being an independent body, the Parole Board performs the risk assessments with reference to the prisoners. It helps to determine whether it would be appropriate and safe to release a prisoner within the community.
However, you have to go to the Parole Board hearing to get a decision. You will be eligible for the hearing in the following circumstances.
- The board members require more evidence from you
- If there is a realistic prospect of releasing you or moving you to open conditions
- A Parole Board meeting can be arranged for giving you a chance to an oral hearing
However, before going to such hearing, make sure to consult with a prison law solicitor. This can be beneficial, as an experienced lawyer can prepare you for the process of an oral hearing. You will receive necessary guidance regarding the type of questions you may be asked at the parole board hearing.
Home Detention Curfew
Home Detention Curfew (HDC) is a way to detain fixed-term offenders (3 months to 4 Years sentence). These offenders might be released slightly earlier than the actual release date (Usually 15 days or 4½ months earlier).
Generally, prisoners/offenders under HDC are only allowed to remain in their designated home during the night (7 p.m. and 7 a.m.). To ensure that these prisoners don’t violate the curfew, an electronic monitoring tag is attached to them. This ensures that they can interact with society and start living a normal life without causing any trouble.
Nevertheless, HDC isn’t granted to those offenders who are serving sentences for serious offences. Prior to their release, prisoners are assessed for risk. The factors associated with the grant of HDC are as under:
- Sentence length
- Previous and current offences
- Behaviour of the Offended during previous and current sentence
If you are eligible for HDC, we can help you while being released earlier than the actual release date. Our prison law experts have wealth of experience dealing with such matters. So, for initial advice and legal representation, you can trust our team of committed lawyers.
The prisoners released on parole or licence can be sent back to prison if found guilty of violating the rules or probation. This particular way of sending back to the prison is known as ‘Recall’. After recall, the licence or parole of a prisoner stands revoked.
There are three types of recalls:
- Fixed-term Recalls
- Standard Recalls
- Indeterminate sentence recalls
The prisoner will be sent back to prison for 14 days if the original sentence is under 12 months. The recall period could extend to 28 days if the original sentence is 12 months or over.
Under the standard recall, a prisoner will be sent back to prison until the actual sentence end. However, it’s the prerogative of the Secretary of State for Justice or Parole Board to release the prisoner on licence or parole. Normally, the case is sent to the Parole Board after 28 days.
The offender is released immediately or a date is set for his/her release within 1 year. An offender manager can review the case of a prisoner at any time and send recommendations to the Secretary of State for his/her release.
Indeterminate sentence recalls
The recalled prisoner would be sent to the parole board after 28 days of recall. However, this can take up to 12 months if you have been sent previously for a parole board review. The parole board can pass any of the following orders.
- Immediately release a prisoner on licence
- Set a date for such release
- Refuse the release on licence
- Send you for a hearing
- Delay the release until provided with additional information
Usually, recall matters aren’t that complex, yet there are certain circumstances where the Parole Board requires a prisoner to be a part of oral hearings. In this situation, you need the assistance of a seasoned prison lawyer. To assist you, we can help you prepare for the Parole Board. You can take advantage of the expertise of our team of lawyers while taking care of your recall matters.
Prisoners have been categorised depending on their risk. There are four basic categories including A, B, C and D. For each category, there is a specific prison where the prisoners of a similar category are detained. The category of a prisoner can be changed through the Re-Categorisation procedure.
This involves revision of the category status once the initial assessment is done. The review takes place annually during the Sentence Planning Board meeting. However, the category revision takes place every 6 months for prisoners having two years of their sentence remaining.
If you face adverse category change, you need the help of a Prison Law solicitor. We can challenge the decision of awarding a lower category status on your behalf. However, it is essential to talk to our lawyer as early as possible.
When a prisoner allegedly breaches a Prison Rule, it triggers adjudication procedure. It is also commonly known as “nicking”. Adjudication proceeding comprises of mini court hearings. These are the prison-bound hearings. If proved guilty the prisoner would be punished after completion of the adjudication process.
The punishment under adjudication can impact the outcome of applications for Parole, Re-Categorisation, and Home Detention Curfew. Normally, if a prisoner is found guilty of a disciplinary offence, a charge would be brought against such prisoner within 48 hours.
If facing adjudication proceedings, notifying your lawyer is crucial. We have a team of prison law solicitors who can present your case against independent adjudication. You can seek our expert legal advice on different aspects linked with independent adjudication.
Once your release date is close by, it’s time to think about the resettlement. You must have a clear idea of what type of support you would need to restart your life and interact with the community. To help prisoners overcome the general issues, resettlement services are offered to them at the prison.
You can seek help regarding different matters like employment, housing, and benefits. However, you can’t claim such rights if not aware of them. This is the area where you need the help of a prison lawyer. We are capable of providing required assistance to a prisoner during the resettlement procedure.
It’s essential to contact a prison lawyer for securing the rights provided under resettlement rules. So, make sure to contact us before your release date. We can arrange better resettlement for you depending on your needs and circumstances.
Once sentenced with a punishment, all Prisoners must receive a Sentence Plan. This particular plan involves a variety of goals and courses for the prisoner. If a prisoner completes these courses and achieves the goals, it can help to lower his/her risk status.
This also helps prisoners after they have completed their sentence and are going back to the community. However, there are numerous instances where prisoners dispute the Sentence Plan or some of its contents. There are cases where some prisoners don’t receive a sentence plan.
In any of these situations, you need to contact a professional prison lawyer. We regularly deal with these types of cases. This allows us to offer authentic advice on the sentence plan and its contents. Our Prison Law solicitors have enormous experience of helping prisoners to understand their Sentence Plan.
We understand the importance of Sentence Planning. Therefore, we offer a range of services related to this crucial aspect of the prison system.
- Helping prisoners gaining access to the Offending Behaviour Courses
- Recommending the Psychiatrists and Psychologists to challenge the damaging reports
- Helping our clients while challenging the Sentence Planning reviews
There are numerous factors, which cast a negative impact on the mental health of prisoners. These include overcrowding, lack of privacy, isolation, no meaningful activity, or insecurity about the future. Addressing the mental health issues of the prisoners is critical. This can help to promote prisoner’s mental health and quality of life.
It’s the right of prisoners serving their sentences in any kind of prison to avail themselves of medical care services. This also includes mental health services. By taking care of the mental health of prisoners, it is possible to help them adjust to the community upon their release. If you aren’t aware of the health-related rights available to prisoners, just speak to a Prison Law solicitor.
We are experienced lawyers who have been serving in the field of Prison Law for quite some time. Our team can help prisoners to receive proper care and medical aid to improve their mental health. So, you are not alone, we are always there to assist you.
Foreign National Prisoners
A foreign national convicted for committing an offence in the UK who is serving a sentence in prison is referred to as a foreign national prisoner. Every case that relates to a foreign national is sent to the Home Office Immigration Enforcement (HOIE).
Liability to deportation might not impact the procedure for release instituted at Parole Board. However, it does affect that how the Parole Board will deal with this case. The foreign nationals can apply for their early release under the following schemes.
- The Early Removal Scheme (ERS)
- The Tariff Expired Removal Scheme (TERS)
Being seasoned Prison Law solicitors, we are capable of handling matters related to foreign national prisoners. We can guide foreign national prisoners about the rights available to them. Furthermore, we can also help them to deal with their deportation proceedings.
If you need legal assistance regarding any of the above-mentioned matters, you can contact us. Our dedicated team of lawyers is available 24/7. We are committed to offer immediate assistance, advice, and representation throughout legal proceedings. Here at TMC Solicitors, we strive to ensure the best possible outcome for you.
Why Choose Us?
No case is the same as another, and we do not take a ‘one size fits all approach’ to our clients. We prepare and undertake a tailored strategy based on our client’s individual’s needs and circumstances. Our experienced team is able to provide advice and assistance in various legal areas.
Our team will undertake a formal review of your case documents and advise you on the suggested next steps. Our expertise in this area means that care and consideration will be used when reviewing your file. We understand that matters can be time sensitive and you will receive our advice promptly following our instructions.
We are experts in advising and dealing with complex matters on behalf of vulnerable clients. Our team is committed to fighting for justice and providing a high quality service for all of our clients.