The Justice Gap series is an ongoing series of publications and events. The ideas behind the series are as follows:

  • to make a positive and different contribution to the debate to improve ‘access to justice’ for ordinary people;
  • to challenge received wisdoms;
  • to be thought-provoking; and
  • to raise the profile of the issues.

All titles are freely available as a digital download.

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Titles are edited by Jon Robins and published by the Justice Gap and Solicitors Journal. They are all freely available online.wrongly accused - border 2

‘We need all the constructive ideas we can get. The book makes a valuable contribution.’
Michael Zander QC on Closing the Justice Gap.

‘[An] excellent and thought-provoking collection of essays by distinguished authors from across the spectrum of involvement and interest. In my view the essays make a valuable contribution to what is a necessary, vital and current debate. I commend them to you.
Mr Justice Sweeney on Wrongly accused.

Titles so far include:

Jonathan Aitken

Jonathan Aitken and Frances Crook in the Guardian, ahead of the PAS/ Justice annual lecture

 

 

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  • Trackback: Legal aid cuts and the media agenda - The Justice Gap | The Justice Gap
  • KIM April 28, 2014 2:24 pm

    Many prisoners are treated inhumanly, being held in custody for years far after their tariff has expired. I started this petition to change the structure of IPP. It will give prisoners a final date for their release. It is important to give them, as well as family and friends a date to look forward to.

    In 2005 the then Secretary of State for Justice David Blunkett implemented an Indeterminate Sentence for Public Protection (IPP). It was intended to be meted out to the most dangerous and prolific offenders. The sentence was originally supposed to be administrated to around 900 prisoners. Instead judges over utilised the new sentence and many thousands of prisoners were handed in the IPP.

    The IPP sentence was poorly thought out, with limited resources and Offending Behaviour courses available for prisoners to demonstrate a reduction in risk. Subsequently this meant that thousands of prisoners were denied parole or progression and languished in prison many more years after their respective tariffs (minimum term a prisoner must serve). The cost of this miscalculation was and continues to be, of great expense to the tax payer. Also it has cost many prisoners years of their lives and in some cases prisoners have lost their lives through suicide (the thought of living in prison with no release date is a heavy burden for even the strongest minds to endure).

    In 2008 the new Justice Secretary Ken Clark made amendments to the IPP sentence.
    Judges were restricted to handing them out unless the prisoner was serving what would be the equivalent of 4 year determinate sentence (2 years in custody, 2 years in the community on license).
    Ken Clark believed that this would stem the flow of IPPs and clear the backlog within the system.
    In actual fact the solution was timid and had little effect on the amount of prisoners who received the IPP sentence.
    In 2012 after much debate in the House of Commons/Lords and after the sentence was deemed inhumane by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) the sentence was abolished. This meant that nobody could receive an Indeterminate Sentence for Public Protection. In spite of the ruling from ECHR and the House of Lords, the government (who stated that “IPP was a stain on the justice system”) refused to make the ruling retrospective. This means that there are still thousands of prisoners (now years over tariff) languishing in prisons without access to Offending Behaviour courses because of multiple governments ineptitude.

    In what world is it considered fair and just that a person is sent to prison for a minimum of 8months and through no fault of their own spends the most part of a decade in prison? No one is saying that the majority of these prisoners do not deserve to be in prison and face punishment for their crimes. The grievance is how it can be considered fair and just in a developed, democratic society in the 21st century to hold prisoners with such a dracoian, dictorial sentence and have the audacity to call it justice.

    The ETI movement
    The End The Injustice (ETI) movement is pushing for all IPP sentences to be made retrospective. This will allow prisoners and their families to have the peace of mind of knowing when they will be released. In addition this should also allow prisoners and their families to know when their sentences actually end and their debt to society is once and for all paid.
    Is it fair that an offender must serve what is effectively a life sentence for a crime that another offender in another court on a another day may only receive a few years in custody? We are asking for all prisoners, friends/family members of IPP prisoners or anyone who stands against injustice to sign our petition.
    We need to take our argument to those who lack compassion and integrity and who fail to right their wrongs.
    The government’s refusal to amend their mistakes is ironic and hypocritical considerings that IPP prisoners are refused freedom unless they do the same.

    By all means punish a prisoner, nobody is suggesting otherwise. The old proverb speaks volumes “don’t do the crime, if you can’t do the time”.
    All IPP prisoners and their families want to know is how long their time will be. Make IPP retrospective and give prisoners a rte lease date and an end of sentence expiry date. It is so patronising when the UK government attempts to stand above and against those who have terrible Human Rights records when they (the UK government) have a dirty little Human Right secret of their own.
    The Secretary of State for Justice continually acts unlawfully by not providing indeterminate sentenced prisoners with the means to reduce their risk.
    Solely because prisoners are deemed to be a stain on society their cries fall on deaf ears.
    Successive governments have continually ignored their plight, breaking European laws in the process.

    “Just because one has no voice
    does not mean they should not be heard”

    If you are guilty of crimes against children you are not welcome on this movement !

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