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Censorship of prisoners

(11 Posts)
Bags Wed 28-Nov-12 13:59:09

If what this person is saying is true, there is an injustice to be remedied here

absentgrana Wed 28-Nov-12 14:10:00

Indeed yes. He (Ben) also provides ammunition for those who are in favour of giving prisoners the vote.

vampirequeen Wed 28-Nov-12 14:10:52

This is appalling.

whenim64 Wed 28-Nov-12 15:39:56

A very complex story. John (Benn) Gunn is well-known, and in the middle of his wrangles with the authorities, there is some semblance of unfair treatment by the authorities regarding assessment of his risk of further serious offending. The probation service cannot give confidential information about him, and he trades on this. He uses terms like 'they said I do not present a risk of offending' which is a phase that would never be used. He would be assessed as having a lowered risk, hence open prison and subsequent release as a lifer. The hurdles he threw up are documented in the media e.g. in this linked article, and I can envisage how frustrated probation officers would be, trying to argue for his release, whilst he was clocking up adjudications in prison and getting the governor's and parole board's back up. He might claim censorship, but for probation officers, having an avenue for shooting his mouth off isn't an issue, unless he's provoking or distressing the victim's family, which doesn't appear to be the case.

whenim64 Wed 28-Nov-12 16:09:16

Here is part of The Lifer Manual for England and Wales Criminal Justice System, which life sentenced offenders and probation officers are required to abide by. There's nothing about censorship, only appropriate and reasonable behaviour, and sticking to the specific terms of the Life Licence. If censorship is not written on the licence, and he's not harming the victim's family, he can't be told to stop writing. If use of a computer is not relevant to his risk, that's not an issue, either.

whenim64 Wed 28-Nov-12 16:10:24

Sorry, didn't convert the link.

Ana Wed 28-Nov-12 16:20:31

Thanks, when. It's good to hear both sides of a story.

Greatnan Wed 28-Nov-12 16:26:16

He may well have made a bloody nuisance of himself for the prison authorities - but 32 years, for a crime committed when he was a disturbed child of 14?
He should never have been sentenced to ten years anyway - how inhumane the British system is to very young offenders.

whenim64 Wed 28-Nov-12 16:51:20

Yes, absolutely Greatnan. My guess is that, as a life sentenced prisoner, his behaviour going past the tariff date has been so extreme as to concern different parole boards. Every time parole is refused, a further statutory date is set and requirements for progress imposed on both prisoner and prison staff. The same panel will not review parole applications each time. Many different parole board members will have looked at the case, including lay members. I have no idea what would have been going on. Prisoners who don't meet parole requirements don't just get forgotten about. They are moved to other prisons where they can progress. Appeals and investigations are available in case of discrimination.

As we don't have inside information, we can only speculate what information was provided to the parole board, and what he himself would have said about his application, as he would have been seen in advance by many different professionals, prison visitors, campaigning organisations supporting his case, and even journalists who could be given a visiting order. I know one particular Guardian journalist who makes it his business to follow such cases and can be a real thorn in the side of prisons.

whenim64 Wed 28-Nov-12 17:07:03

Also, forgot to say he would be in adult prisons after the first 3 or 4 years post-conviction, and he makes veiled reference in blogs to assessment for psychopathy and Frankland prison. Don't know if he was transferred there, but they do intensive work with the country's most dangerous criminals there. The average lifer would be kept in local prisons and moved to lower categories as they progressed. If he was playing games and making the authorities think he needed to be assessed for psychopathy (he says he isn't a psychopath), that might explain things.

Greatnan Thu 29-Nov-12 07:50:47

Thanks, when, it is good to have some facts from somebody with real knowledge!