Saturday, 12 December 2015

Serious Further Offence

From The Herald, Plymouth:-

TWO men have been jailed for life – with a minimum term of 23 years – for the murder of Tanis Bhandari on New Year's Day. Donald Pemberton was found guilty of jointly murdering the 27-year-old builder and injuring four other men. The jury at Plymouth Crown Court appeared to have reached deadlock after deliberating for 13 hours and 55 minutes since they were sent out on Tuesday morning by Mr Justice Nigel Teare.

At 11.34am yesterday he informed the jury of seven women and five men he would accept majority verdicts if they were unable to return a unanimous ones.A little over an hour later they returned to seal Pemberton's fate. He was found guilty on the count of murder, three counts of wounding with intent and one count of actual bodily harm, each with an 11 to 1 majority.

Despite being asked by the judge to remain silent during the verdicts being read out, stifled gasps and crying could be heard from the public gallery, which has remained full for nearly every day of the 16-day trial. Pemberton, aged 21, gave no great reaction as the verdicts were read out. He appeared to look around the court room, place his hands on his hips and behind his back, occasionally rubbing his face with the back of his hands.

Pemberton, of Victoria Road, St Budeaux, and his co-defendant, Ryan Williams, of Haydon Grove, St Budeaux – who pleaded guilty to all five charges on the fourth day of the trial – were brought back to the dock in the afternoon where their respective advocates offered mitigation in their defence. Pemberton, who throughout the trial had been dressed in a dark grey shirt and black tie, had changed into a black and grey sweat-top, while 22-year-old Williams, appeared in a light blue shirt and dark tie.

Paul Dunkels, QC, said his client Ryan Williams had shown “absolute cowardice" in attacking unarmed strangers and was “undoubtedly an immature young man." He said Williams had never set out to kill, but accepted that they did set out to cause serious injury – in itself enough to make him guilty of the offence. He noted their “escalating behaviour" on the way down the hill to Tamerton Foliot green.

He said Williams was “relishing the reaction which their behaviour was achieving, their sense of power over others and the people who backed away. “The final group stood up for themselves as they were entitled to do. It was a situation entirely of Donald Pemberton's and Ryan Williams' making." Mr Dunkels said that Williams wanted to posture with the weapons and verbally abuse those men he had targeted from Facebook. He said it was a “small step" from carrying a knife to using it. He stressed the defendant's age and immaturity but said he had seen the need to plead guilty on the fourth day of the trial.

Mr Dunkels said: “To paraphrase, he said he saw the family and friends of Tanis Bhandari in court and what they were having to go through. He saw their pain and upset. “He then indicated to us that he wanted to be no part of prolonging their ordeal in having to observe the trial. “He realises that the hurt caused goes far wider than just those victims but embraces their families and friends and to some extent his own family. “He understands how much his actions have affected the lives of others.

“He is sorry for what he did that night. He has remorse. He realises that none of that will bring comfort to those grieving. “His actions of January 1 were those of absolute cowardice but he is a young man who, knowing the consequence was a very long time in prison, has shown some courage in taking the decision to plead guilty."

Pemberton's advocate, Martin Meeke, QC, said his client suffered “significant mental health difficulties" and revealed his suicide attempt just four weeks before the incident on the Tamerton Foliot green. Mr Meeke said a psychiatrist who has assessed Pemberton suspected developing schizophrenia, although the court also heard his symptoms may have been caused by his regular mephedrone abuse. The barrister said he still suffered those symptoms even after going to prison and withdrawing from the drug.

Mr Meeke said that Pemberton's suicide attempt had taken place on December 2, and that he was on the lowest possible measure on the Glasgow Coma scale – the measure of a casualty's consciousness. Mr Meeke said it showed it was a “serious attempt".

He speculated that the events of New Year's Day may have had their roots back to 2007 when Pemberton himself was the victim of a street attack. Mr Meeke said his mother had reported that he suffered a fractured cheekbone, but 13-year-old Pemberton did not give evidence against the main offender. The court heard that he nevertheless was branded a “grass" or informer at his school.

Mr Meeke said he had started off confidently at secondary school but underwent a “significant change" after the attack. The barrister said the defendant came to believe that others were “out to get him" and thought that he needed to carry weapons as a result. He added that Pemberton showed empathy for Mr Bhandari's family when he read a statement from her mother. Mr Meeke said: “He observed: 'I have written letters to his mum but ripped them up because I did not want her to feel awkward'."

He added he could not recall the events of the night of the affray in Anstis Street when he had brandished meat cleavers at a group of Polish men, because he had been drinking. But Mr Meeke said that when shown the dramatic CCTV footage Pemberton branded his own behaviour as “disgusting". He could not recall where he had picked up the weapons. Mr Meeke urged Mr Justice Teare to pass a minimum term “so as not to crush utterly the hope in this young man".

Mr Justice Teare described how the two men had confronted the “happy and carefree" group of young men and women who had left The Kings Arms public house shortly after 1.30am. He said there was “no doubt" Pemberton had the axe and Williams had a large kitchen knife and that one of them had a smaller knife.

He said both defendants were in “an aggressive mood", aiming to take the weapons to a confrontation “with someone who had angered Pemberton". The mixture of verbal insults, threats, aggressive behaviour led to Williams getting out the large knife and putting it to the neck of a young man “no doubt causing extreme fear".

Mr Justice Teare told the court Pemberton pulled out the axe and “lunged" at Tanis's group. He added: “One or more of the group reacted with courage by jumping on him, in – as described by one witness – 'a mission' to get the axe off him.

“They succeeded, but Williams joined in and stabbed Tanis Bhandari in the back with the large knife." He said Williams also stabbed Jamie Healy. Sean Cordon was also stabbed in the back and Mr Justice Teare said this could have been by Pemberton, “but I cannot be sure." He said: “The result of this unnecessary and unprovoked action was that Tanis Bhandari lost his life. Jamie Healy suffered very serious injuries. his life was saved by doctors. Fortunately the injuries of Sean Cordon, George Walker and Matthew Daw were less serious." The judge noted the victim impact statements he had received, noting one from Tanis's mother.

He said Tanis died aged just 27, leaving a mother, father, stepfather, grandfather, seven brothers and sisters together with nieces and nephews. He said Tanis was a “much loved member of the community of Tamerton Foliot as the memorial on the green shows." He added: “His unexpected and unnecessary death and what happened on a night of celebration and optimism for the future has changed his family's lives forever."

After passing sentence the two men were led away by the eight dock officers who had remained with them. As they turned towards the door a member of Pemberton's family called out “love you Don, always".


--oo00oo--

From The Herald, Plymouth:-

COULD the murder of Tanis Bhandari have been avoided? That question is now being asked after The Herald learned how his murder Donald Pemberton’s arrest on December 16, 2014 could have seen him returned to prison for failing to comply with his licence. We can today reveal this footage as Pemberton was found guilty of murdering Tanis on New Year's Day.

Following his conviction for assaulting a man on Christmas Eve, 2013, Pemberton was handed a 12 month community order on January 12, 2014. On June 13, he was arrested after he was found to be in possession of a machete in public. As a result, on September 2, 2014, Pemberton was handed a four month jail sentence by district judge Kevin Gray at Plymouth Magistrates’ Court.

He was released from prison after serving two months, but his arrest on December 16 – having been spotted the previous night on CCTV brandishing two meat cleavers in Anstis Street, Stonehouse – saw him interviewed by police. It is believed he was not charged at the time and released on police bail pending further inquiries.

According to court reports seen by The Herald, Pemberton appeared at Plymouth Magistrates Court on January 16, 2015 – just over two week after the murder of Tanis Bhandari. The case, brought by Devon and Cornwall Probation, related to the Anstis Street incident.

The court document states that Pemberton: “being a person under supervision, under section 65 of the Criminal Justice Act 1991, failed to comply with a requirement specified in a notice from the Secretary of State in that failed to comply with a licence condition; to be well behaved, not commit any offence and not do anything which could undermine the purpose of your supervision, which is to protect the public, prevent you from reoffending and help you to resettle successfully into the community.”

The matter was adjourned until January 23, 2015 “at request of the prosecution to consider if proceeding”. However, on January 23, the charged was “withdrawn”. Court papers stated that the reason was “at the request of probation.”

The Herald has learned that a Serious Further Offence review has been carried out by the Ministry of Justice to determine the decision-making around Pemberton by the probation service following his arrest on December 16. However, a spokesman for the Ministry of Justice said the findings of reviews were not made public but that the families of victims were entitled to a summary of the review.

Sources have told The Herald the review has examined decisions made by probation officers at the time of his arrest in mid December. It is understood options that may have been available was Pemberton could have been given a condition, such as an electronic tag, a curfew or returned to prison to complete his four-month sentence.

It is not known whether the Crown Prosecution Service considered approving a charge of affray on December 16 2014 following his arrest, which may have also resulted in him being brought to court.

69 comments:

  1. It's already emerging that financial factors are the priority factor in breach decisions,presumably things won't be much different where recall is concerned? Why on earth would any one seriously believe that privatisation of any kind is appropriate within the criminal justice system. It leads to a distorted process. Money over lives. It has let down so many professionals who have worked so tirelessly and selflessly to help keep communities safe. It lets down communities, victims and potential victims. It's a complete and utter nonsense where the insane pressure to get the perfect tick in the perfect box has overtaken time to think, consider and reflect on the right procedure for the right reason. I can't believe that grown adults actually buy into this farce that individuals motivated by profit are the right kind of people to have power and control over how potentially dangerous people are managed in the community. The majority of SFOs arise out of the low to medium risk groups.

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    1. I want NAPO to tell where individual practitioner stands if an SFO occurs after being told by employer not to breach due to profit.

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    2. Napo's advice should be to get any such instruction in writing.

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  2. Was he supervised by the NPS or CRC?

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    1. My guess CRC, but all breaches are put to the court through NPS?

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  3. Terrible but TR has nothing to do with this

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    1. Of course the ultimate responsibility lies with those who commit offences, however are you saying that the measures taken to manage risk, whether to self or others, and the motive underlying such decisions are of no relevance or consequence?

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  4. Over the past few months either at oral hearings or when trying to instigate a recall I have noticed a new narrative being pushed...by the parole board there seems to be a concerted effort to bypass open conditions and go straight to release and a significant reluctance by senior managers in NPS to recall cases which 18 months ago would have been guaranteed .....of course this is just anecdotal but as the hearings that I have attended being all over the country it is strange that this approach seems common.......

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  5. Terrible for the victims families.
    Working Links Way in BGSW at the moment is to reduce recalls and breaches as it impacts on the bottom line. Money trumps risk?

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  6. Exactly. And 18 months ago if I had told managers that I really could do a psr on a sex offender because it really does fall under my job description,they would have laughed in my face.

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  7. It seems Donald Pemberton was on a notice of supervision last year when he was arrested on 16/12/14, the article says he is 21 now. He was released from a 4 month prison sentence earlier that month, before the Offender Rehabilitation Act came into force in February this year.

    He couldn't have been recalled to prison. Any breach of the notice of supervision would have been dealt with by the Courts and it seems unlikely to have concluded before the murder on 01/01/15, if dealt with straight away.

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  8. That's a very good point regarding the specific behaviour, although there isn't an indication about compliance with terms of any NoS in general, and how compliance in similar cases is being managed in General under TR, although a theme seems to be emerging that a more lax regime being imposed.

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  9. Pemberton, having previously been convicted of an assault, is then imprisoned for being in possession of a machete. He comes out under supervision and is then captured on CCTV brandishing two meat cleavers. Despite this evidence he is not charged by the police.

    We don't know if his risk status was reviewed of whether there was a Mappa. There are clear signs of escalating risk in his behaviour and a propensity for axes, which in a public setting is a disturbing weapon.

    These serious case reviews, which are not independent, should be published in full. Even less would I trust a filtered summary of the findings. Serious case reviews are published when relating to police, hospital, and safeguarding failings and they get published when undertaken by the probation inspectorate, so not clear why this one is being reduced to a summary, or why given its seriousness it has apparently not been undertaken by the probation inspectorate. The victims' families should press for full disclosure and then press for more investigation if they remain dissatisfied. And I would not put too much faith in even the probation inspectorate as they notoriously confused the human rights of the offender and victim in a landmark case in 2005.

    https://www.liberty-human-rights.org.uk/news/blog/how-human-rights-act-delivered-justice-bryant-family

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    1. It looks as though enforcement action was taken, prior to the murder, although the report doesn't specify whether this was for the arrest on 16th Dec or some other non-compliance. As Anon 09:58 points out, Pemberton was subject to a Notice of Supervision so could not have been recalled. The penultimate sentence about "options that may have been available" is a red herring - these could only have been applied after a breach hearing was concluded. I would suggest more attention should be paid to any police/CPS decision not to charge or to grant bail.

      The withdrawal of the breach is also a red herring - looking at the dates in the report, my guess is that his notice of supervision had either expired or was due to expire, and if he was remanded in custody on a murder charge there would be little point pursuing the breach.

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  10. Probation Officer12 December 2015 at 11:08

    Anon 9:33 I disagree. I think TR has a lot to do with this. Since the govt sold off half of probation standards have fallen, info sharing has suffered, partnerships have been lost.

    Was he supervised by NPS or CRC is the question? Depending which side of the divide in some areas the level of supervision and support is not what it once was. It seems as if was supervised by a Community Rehabilitation Company and we know this is where risk levels are being down graded, risk escalations to the NPS are being refused, enforcement and compliance failures being ignored and supervision is being contracted out to third parties. We also know staffing levels and resources are a problem in both NPS and CRC. We also know the Offender Rehabilitation Act is badly designed, as are the Notices Of Supervision it brought into force.

    In my book any and every SFO following TR is a direct result of the governments selling off probation. The CRC directors are fools if they continue to cut staffing levels and downgrade practice standards. The NPS is foolhardy if it continues to follow CRC downgrading of practice with its E3 nonsense and replacing qualified probation officers with untrained new recruits and those with no experience.

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  11. "TR Had nothing to do with this. TR gives you the tools to do your job"

    I repeat once again that unsubstantiated, inflammatory comments like this, devoid of any explanation or evidence will routinely be deleted.

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    1. Why is this blog called probation blog when the idiot author deletes comments not allowing debate. Clearly something has been deleted above as I've only got wind of part of this thread. Surely this blog should just been called "anti TR blog"

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    2. Jim's blog, Jim's rules. If you don't like it, set up your own and leave this one alone.

      I saw the original comments, and I can assure you that they added nothing by way of 'debate'.

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    3. Pre TR - joined up service, good communication, helpful reports, adequate resources, streamlined procedures. Post TR - disjointed service, conflicting aims, stretched resources, unhappy colleagues, email in box full of relentless queries on sentencing, transfers, missing information, mushrooming bureaucracy, time consuming tasks previously non existent, pointless complaints, target worshipping culture. Feel trapped and fearful of what's ahead.

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  12. TR has not given me the tools to do my job. It's made my job 10 times harder and I am managing cases I should not be managing.

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    1. Well said, Anon 12:06. I had the tools to do my job before TR, and the only thing the CRCs and NPS have brought to the table is a bunch of useless bureaucracy and management speak that make everything more difficult.

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    2. It's premature to make assumptions either way about TR in the absence of evidence. As we all know there were serious further offfences before TR. And I have never known these tragedies to be the product of a single agency. Probation is supposed to be evidence based and scapegoating TR before we know all the facts is an ideological indulgence.

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    3. how long will it be before SFO investigations get quietly sidelined?

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    4. @Netnipper: Anon 12:06 and 12:08 are reporting their subjective experiences of TR, I fail to see what is "an ideological indulgence" about that.

      Unless your comment was in reply to Probation Officer at 11:08; but even in that case, we know that TR was imposed out of right-wing ideological fanaticism and in the absence of any evidence - and evidence-based challenges failed to halt it - so why shouldn't we attack it on the same grounds? TR caused massive upheaval for tens of thousands of people - staff and clients - right around the time of this tragic incident, and continues to cause problems nationwide.

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    5. TR would not have been imposed without enthusiastic Liberal democratic support in Government and votes in both Houses of Parliament - so do you consider, Anon at 14:30, the Lib Dems are "right-wing ideological fanatics"?

      I consider them more power hungry fools used as 'useful idiots' by Cameron, Osborne and Grayling and others in their efforts to shrink the UK state.

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    6. I was thinking primarily of 11.08 as to blame TR for a serious further offence, the subject of this blog, is putting ideas about TR before knowing how this case in question was actually managed by probation, police and CPS, is jumping the gun: putting the TR ideology/opinions before the evidence is known – hence a ideological indulgence, just as TR was an ideological indugence of the Tories. If posters want share their subjective experiences of TR, that's their choice but there is a risk of a probation mindset taking root which reduces all that goes wrong to TR when in fact probation got quite a few things wrong prior to TR. There is no shortage of evidence to inform diatribes against TR, but on serious further offences, at this stage anyway, there is no evidence to lay the fault at the TR door and to do so is putting expectation before evidence. After all, in this case it may have been police inaction that was the cardinal failure - and that has nothing to do with TR.

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  13. We are evidenced-based (well before TR we were) but we also make decisions on the 'balance of probability' rather than 'beyond all reasonable doubt'. I think on the balance of probability it's safe to say that TR has been detrimental to probation (NPS and CRC). Any SFO, therefore, will have been affected to some extent by the current state of probation under the govts TR (scorched earth) policy.

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  14. I disagree. In my area quality and focus on reducing ROR is strong. We're doing a good job. Better than the former trust

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    1. If that's for both NPS and CRC, and there's no redundancies on the horizon, please state where this is so I can transfer. Thanks

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    2. Yes, please don't keep the good news to yourself - let us know where you are!

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    3. Hey Anon 12th Dec 13:40, don't be shy - we all want to know where the good work is being done! Share share share!

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  15. as a member of the CRC I cannot believe we are not allowed to use address searches as 'intelligence' there's a few long roads in our area and some have several offenders living in them. A couple of years ago you could key in an address and all offenders known to have lived or live there would come up. We're blind to this now.

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  16. just a note to mention, I am unsure if MOJ are getting nervous because I have had 2 recalls recently that I could justify to be 28 days but I've been over-ruled on both. Seems safer to just lock 'em up but is justice being served because whilst one of these only has a relatively short period until SED one is now in until 2022.

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    1. Your argument was weak. That's why your report didn't hold up. There is no conspiracy.

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  17. the chances of being identified by stating your area are, zilch. Please lets have some geography. We are self imposing a divide which allows manipulation.
    It would be helpful to know where all these brilliant structures that have involved band 3 doing band 4 work, without training nor pay, have been happening. You know, the ones identified in the E3 programme ;)

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  18. I am PO in NPS and live in dread of an SFO. Pre TR I was a competent officer now I have to sometimes rely on step by step crib sheets to just use the IT system. This level of working is soul destroying and takes time from other necessary duties. In my office we are recording RAR days in 3 different ways, we are reviewing OASys at different times and any sense of cohesive work to known systems is long gone. We are muddling through as best we can with a manager so stressed she read an email from me last week about a case being transferred in and thought I was referring to SDR I was writing. It is just staggering...but guess what we hit all of our targets!
    Now with the focus being about targets above all, what is getting missed? ISPs are sometimes being pulled through just to hit the deadline with existing info pulled through and no information from court to accurately base the assessment on and with luck you'll have met the offender once after the duty officer does the initial appointment 'cos the case has not been allocated at that point.....So targets are being met...but not meaningfully. OASys assessments are so compromised by this "just pull it through then update when you can" mentality. This is the world of The Emperors New Clothes...the pretence that this is working is dishonest, sickening and bloody dangerous.

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    1. +4 and I can count many more in my office who agree

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    2. This describes my NPS experience too. In addition, having records up to date seems to be a thing of distant memory for everyone in my team...and, in the new paperless office, so much time hunting down scanned in information that 'can't be saved in delius' (child protection/mappa stuff etc) that one just gives up looking in the end.

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  19. Such a disappointing blog. Lets find an individual or an agency or a system to blame when all goes traumatically wrong. No doubt this will result in the appointment of an eminent judge paid a ridiculous amount of money to yet again conclude that agencies have to work together and communicate better with 15 recommendations on top of the previous 100 made from reports in similar tragic situations. I am no advocate of TR but to attribute this to latest developements is not appropriate. CJS has been in chaos for years.

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    1. "CJS has been in chaos for years". Well, perhaps - but TR has demonstrably made this worse by creating additional CJ agencies and layers of bureaucracy which inevitably makes communication more difficult. Whether or not TR was a factor in the above case is beside the point - it is clear that TR has made things more difficult rather than easier.

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  20. No really, it has never been this bad. We have, as practitioners always had to deal with change but in the main they were at least thought out and planned for some purpose. There is also the feeling that as practitioners there is absolutely no respect for us from NOMS and in particular Michael Spurr and they have lost the hearts and minds of probation staff. Somehow we have always wanted to make it work now many just feel the need to tick the boxes because what is measured is what matters to NOMS.

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  21. All that matters are the service levels and reducing Re offending. Anyone heard this before and from which area?

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  22. A cell is no place for people who need help

    Rachel Sylvester and Alice Thomson
    Published at 12:01AM, December 11 2015

    © Times Newspapers Limited 2015

    “Prison is full of the mad, the bad and the sad,” a senior Whitehall source says. “We want to punish the bad, treat the mad and help the sad do better in their lives.”
    Michael Gove does not want to be seen as “soft on crime”. He recently overruled the Parole Board to ensure that the road rage killer Kenneth Noye was not moved to an open prison. An ally said: “That showed that the narrative that he is a soppy liberal who is going to let everyone out is wrong. He thinks serious criminals who have done terrible things should be locked up.”
    The justice secretary is convinced, however, that he can significantly reduce the prison population by separating the “mad” and the “sad” — who need treatment — from the truly “bad”, who must be incarcerated.
    “We need to think hard about how we treat different types who go to prison,” he told us. “There are people who have mental illness, women, those with personality disorders. We need to think, how can we help them? You’ve got to have a clear line when people break the law . . . but you’ve also got to ask yourself, why was the law broken in the first place? And what can we do to prevent law-breaking?”
    The idea of creating “problem-solving courts” — which aim to address the underlying problems that drive crime rather than simply sending people to jail — is gaining ground at the Ministry of Justice. Increasingly popular in the US, they look like traditional courts but defendants are referred to as “clients” and judges can sanction them with drug or alcohol treatment, psychotherapy or community service rather than a prison sentence.
    Peter McParlin, national chairman of the Prison Officers Association, says: “The scandal of our age is that we are dumping people in prison who have mental health problems, with hardly any training for officers.”

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    1. CONTINUED

      According to the chief inspector’s annual report, 58 per cent of women entering prison and 35 per cent of men have mental health problems. Almost half of female prisoners have attempted suicide at some point in their lives and governors see a link between increases in self-harm and violence in jails and the rise in mental illness. Addiction is also an issue for many inmates. Two thirds of prisoners were drug users before being sent to jail and more than a third of men and two thirds of women committed crimes to feed their addiction.
      Mr Gove is talking to colleagues in the Department of Health and the Home Office about alternatives to prison for the “mad” and the “sad”. By moving even a relatively small proportion of mentally ill prisoners and addicts out of jails, he could significantly reduce pressure on the system. The question is, will the justice secretary also seek to redefine what is “bad” enough to merit time in jail?
      One area that he believes is ripe for reform is the use of prison for people on remand. About 14 per cent of the prison population — almost 12,000 inmates — are on remand, awaiting trial or sentence. Last year, almost 50,000 people were sent to prison while waiting for the case to be heard in court — of these, one in ten were subsequently acquitted and a further 15 per cent went on to get non-custodial sentences.
      For prison reformers, this is an injustice that should be remedied, but Mr Gove also sees the financial cost of incarcerating thousands of people who have not been convicted. He is looking at using more tags or curfews.
      The justice secretary knows that changing sentencing guidelines would be more controversial. Average sentences have increased by a third over the past two decades. Lord Woolf, the former lord chief justice, is convinced that Mr Gove will never achieve his aims without dealing with this “sentence inflation”. In his view, sentences could also safely be reduced by a fifth across the board.
      “It shouldn’t happen overnight, but it can be a gradual process,” he says. “The judges have to keep the confidence of the public, but it shouldn’t be beyond the capabilities of a good government to explain to the public and educate them and make sure that they see the good sense of this.”
      Kenneth Clarke, the former justice secretary, insists that Mr Gove must have the political courage to stand up to the tabloids. “Politicians are affected by this 24-hour, seven-day a week campaigning mode that government is now conducted in . . . 50 years ago more judges would take the lofty view that they have a serious job of work to do administering a proper system of criminal justice and they’re not going to take any notice of the opinions of newspapers they’ve never heard of.”
      Nick Herbert, the former police and justice minister, warns that the priority must be to keep the voters on side. “If you are driven to make too big savings too quickly then you have to start looking at sentences of quite serious offenders, and that could run into trouble,” he says. “This has to be done in a way that prioritises public safety and commands public confidence.”
      According to Whitehall sources, Mr Gove is reviewing sentencing as part of his overall look at the criminal justice system. But senior Tories believe he will move cautiously, making the case that overcrowded prisons are failing to rehabilitate criminals and so putting the public at greater risk over time.
      “If you make an argument about what’s right and the evidence shows that overall this will reduce crime and contribute to greater public safety then that’s the right thing to do,” he told us.


      http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/uk/article4638200.ece

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    2. MY COMMENT

      Vastly simplistic and as Gove has demonstrated by moving Holloway women further from families he does not really understand.

      He has some interesting ideas like exile for foreigners rather than prison in UK and Sat Nav monitoring for some.

      He is allowing further disruption of probation wrecked by Cameron's appointments of Grayling and Lord McNally to MOJ and then the turncoat Simon Hughes.

      He needs to quickly create spare money by getting IPP sentenced folk who are over tariff released and then to improve training and pay of prison officers and reintegrate probation training with social work, solve the role boundary problem in probation that has unqualified people doing work that needs a proper social work training.

      Such ideas will be ridiculed by readers of Times but are what is needed.

      Having worked at the front-line of probation for thirty years I know that sorting out and splitting mad, bad and sad is is impossible, because some are all three and others are any two from three and often almost impossible to differentiate, but many are seriously damaged consequential on poor social opportunities, addiction and hidden neurological disability.

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  23. Back to the original blog item, the SFO resulting in an innocent young man being murdered by an offender on licence and under supervision. Who was responsible for this offender supervision and who decided not to recall him. Whose incompetence has ultimately lead to this SFO? This won't be revealed no doubt.

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    1. As commented above, it is likely that if under notice of supervision, recall option would not have been available - that's up to the court.

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    2. @Anon 00:06 Before going "back to the original blog item", how about reading the comments below it which explained that the offender was under a notice of supervision, not a licence, meaning that recall action was not available? This would prevent the your ignorance being the thing that is revealed.

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    3. No, sorry you are wrong. It is the responsibility of the supervising manager to initiate breach when an offender's risk increases. The officer completes paperwork and police arrest, nothing to do with the Court. This is a clear case of incompetance, and a subsequent tragedy occurring which was avoidable.

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    4. Anon 11:44 - have you not read anything above? Enforcement action was taken - but because Pemberton was under a notice of supervision, immediate recall to prison is simply not available. Any breach has to be prosecuted through the court, which inevitably takes time. Stop commenting on things which you clearly don't understand.

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  24. Gove must bang judges heads together

    Reforms will stall unless we send fewer criminals to prison

    Denis MacShane and Jonathan Aitken
    Published at 12:01AM, December 12 2015

    © Times Newspapers Limited 2015

    AERTICLE BEGINS: -


    As ex-ministers and ex-prisoners, we are rare birds in the aviary of criminal justice commentators. Despite coming from opposite ends of the political spectrum we are united in our praise for Michael Gove’s determination to reform our penal system. He knows, as we know from experience, that the clichés of yesterday’s politics such as “prison works”; “lock ’em up and throw away the key” and “tough on crime” are discredited slogans.
    Mr Gove’s agenda deserves applause, with one caveat. For we well know that a systemic weakness in senior politicians is the delusion that once they have made a speech on a problem, they have solved it. Not so in the inertia-prone, risk-averse, legalistic and bureaucratic quagmires of the criminal justice system. A bright idea floated at a Westminster think-tank can take light years before it changes bad old habits on prison wings.
    Mr Gove needs to be a mover, shaker and banger of political, administrative and judicial heads if his reforms are going to work.
    We particularly liked the aspiration he outlined at the Howard League for Penal Reform last month for a substantial reduction in the prison population, which stands at 86,500, of whom 3,900 are women. But how? We suggest that two groups should be targeted by Mr Gove — legislators and sentencers. In the first four years of the coalition, 1,073 new criminal offences were created, on top of 4,300 new crimes dreamed up in the 13 years of the Labour government. Yet despite this inflation, today’s crime rate of 67 offences per 1,000 head of population has remained virtually unchanged since 1982. We might get somewhere in reducing our prison population if our MPs would declare a moratorium on creating crimes.
    Our sentencers have become serial jail overcrowders too. They have failed to heed the advice of the President of the Supreme Court, Lord Neuberger, who in 2013 said that there was no point in sending people to prison for fewer than six months."

    http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/opinion/thunderer/article4638948.ece

    YET AGAIN - Probation is not mentioned.

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  25. Hatton is killing all conversation with these off topic blogs

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    1. @Anon 10:44 Why don't you just go away?

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  27. Interested in your responses to my articles. If anyone would like to assist me with some facts I'm on ceve@plymouthherald.co.uk - it's fair to say I'm not expecting any response, but my aim is not to scapegoat anyone, but to determine IF something was available to minimise Pemberton's risk, what was the reason it was not done, and IF something was available and not used, will we see a repeat of this scenario or will the gap (IF there is one) be filled? I'm also on 01752 293100 at the Plymouth Herald and no, I don't record the phone calls if you're wondering... Carl Eve, Crime Reporter, Plymouth Herald

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    1. I am not able to assist but this issue is likely to last some while - might you ask your local MP to find out - a question to a minister oral or written might get a more detailed response than other enquiries. It is also relevant whether your MP voted for the probation changes - Parliament as a whole, seemed not to understand the consequences of what they were doing, judging by the debates I heard.

      All the disruption in Probation, which was announced would happen in January 2013, may or may not have had a direct impact on how this man was dealt with, but from the info I have so far read, I have no idea what the exact cause of him being available to murder or what precisely might have been done to reduce any risk he presented.

      Probation, Police and Prison authorities do not determine who is at large although they can influence those who do make the crucial decisions; courts, parole board. and those Civil Servants in the MOJ delegated by Government Ministers, to order recalls to prison where the legislation allows a recall to be made.

      I may not have read everything that is available, thoroughly enough, but it is good to see a journalist taking a close interest beyond the salacious that grabs readers and raises fear.

      A very close examination by the media; of how the changes have been implemented and are still be worked through with many changes of responsibility and probation staff reductions still likely, HAS NOT HAPPENED.

      There is scope for journalists in different parts of England and Wales to compare local situations & to speak to management, employers & workers and their representatives - there are three probation Unions - Napo - Unison & GMB-SCOOP(senior managers), and also politicians especially Justice spokesman of all political parties at Westminster because ultimately the MOJ is really in charge of probation, the courts and prisons.

      Another area of enquiry is the MAPPA scheme in the local area , had Pemberton been referred to them, if not why not, what was the outcome etc.? (Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements).

      Sorry if I seem to be teaching an experienced journo - to suck eggs - but there has been so little reporting of probation and the detail of criminal justice - beyond coverage of press releases, that I wonder whether journos have had much of an opportunity to really examine, what has been happening and the complexities of it all.

      There will probably now be responses, rubbishing me - so be it!

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  28. For the past few years Andrew, every time I've asked local probation to speak to me on-record, off-record, anonymous, letter drops, smoke signals, I've been met with silence. I'm not expecting anything different, but either way, my question (and probably it's the same question on everyone's lips in Plymouth) remains - was there an opportunity by any authority (police, CPS, probation, courts) to take any legal step (curfew, return to prison, remand on police bail) following Pemberton's arrest on December 16, 2014 in light of his previous jail sentence and supervision order. If so, why wasn't it? And that's it really...

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    1. They are good questions Carl Eve and ones which the public representatives should be asking throughout England & Wales whenever such catastrophes happen, hence I suggest the media should direct such questions to the local MPs, if the respective agencies will not answer in satisfactory detail.

      Our parliamentary system requires that Ministers answer to MPs - in both Houses of Parliament - Commons & Lords, and as far as the elected MPs are concerned in my opinion if they do not ask appropriate questions they should not be re-elected.

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  29. Hatton have some integrity man!
    Eve - if your an intelligent man you would be someone who works on facts and not fiction. The fact you're using this blog as a means of research suggests to me you're more concerned with a fictional story than facts. This is merely a blog for miserable staff to vent so you can't take much on here literally!!!

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    1. Jim is this what the blog has come too? Allowing this person to drum up business. There is a whistle blowing policy for every CRC or NPS office so if something was not done correctly, there are appropriate avenues which can be pursued. Jim, the fact you're facilitating people to break codes of conducts by speaking to this journalist says to me you need to move onto another career aa your anti TR views are significantly impairing your judgement. I'm not happy

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    2. 19.45 no one cares that you're unhappy. Your happiness ranks far below public safety and proper accountability. If, by being honest, one breaks the code of conduct, so be it. We are qualified probation professionals. We owe it to our ourselves and the public to speak up.

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  30. Whatever happened to freedom of the press, and for that matter, freedom of speech. Only those who have something to hide would wish to oppress the facts from emerging in the case. The reporter cannot do any harm if there is no harm present.

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  31. 19.45 Jim is facilitating nothing so untwist your knickers. I'm assuming you recognise this blog is publicly available and thus open. The question is a fair one. MoJ said the SFO was only available in summary form 'to the family' - one assumes MoJ were unaware that in this case there are effectively five families. The family of Tanis did not know of The SFO, nor did their FLO. So far, calls to the MP have met with silence.
    19.37 All avenues are looked into for research. Even for journalists. If I assume you're in the probation business I'd expect that to be a homily you hold dear.
    ON, and another thing 19.45, regardless of your distaste for a reporter to sully your pristine enclave, if Jim wishes to use a fair chunk of my recent work, which took a lot ofresearch and digging (and I'm very very happy to see him do it by the way), to facilitate discussion, I thinks it's fair I ask just ONE F###ING QUESTION...
    Drumming up business FFS... Who do you thing I am? SERCO or Working Links!?

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  32. As a friend of the victims family and no knowledge of legal matters, the fact is someone made a fatal error and you can throw around your technical jargon back and forth but it doesnt bring back Tanis. These vile beings have served time before now and obviously not been rehabilitated. Stop throwing blame back and forth and someone take responsibility and do something so this doesnt happen again!!!

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