Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Bad Move

Those of you who follow the Facebook campaign would have seen the news that Ben was moving to Prescoed yesterday. A fresh start.  
Until he got there, where he was turned away at the gate!  He is now in Cardiff prison.  Apparently they did not actually have a bed for him at Prescoed, yet they allowed him to get his hopes up and even get as far as the gate. The department within the prison service that organises these things obviously has a communication problem. 
You'd think that after 30 years they could do better for him than this.  
Ed.
PS by the way, thank you for all your messages of support.

26 comments:

  1. Is the Department of Justice related to the Department for Works and Pensions?

    Bring on the cuts, the whole civil service is nothing more than an incompetent body, created to support its political clients, that steal taxes from the nation, like a blood sucking cancer.

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  2. Sorry to hear that -.-

    Probably cock up rather than malice but I suppose that's small comfort.

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  3. Does anybody really believe that this was some kind of unfortunate administration error? - because I don't.

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  4. This is appalling, nothing short of cruel infact. Even if it is an administration error then serious questions need to be asked. Surely it is simple enough to check there is a bed before moving someone to Open after 30 years in prison.

    Ed please continue to pass on our support to Ben; thinking of you too as you must be worried for him.

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  5. Ben thinking of you, and wishing you well.You deserve better, much better.
    Kate in Australia

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  6. I've been following this blog for quite a while and would just like to say how sorry I am to hear what happened.

    This is unbelievable, and cruel. After all that has happened already, I, too, find it hard to believe this was simply an administration error. One should think that when a prisoner gets moved, there is a lot of paperwork and planning involved beforehand, especially when it's a move to open prison. It's not like they can just decide "hey let's just bring him there and there tomorrow, see if they take him.....", that's ridiculous.

    I do hope they act a bit more responsible next time and keep in mind that they are dealing with a human being here, after all.

    With best wishes (and please excuse my English), Illena

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  7. Message from Ben's solicitor:
    "Nobody disputes Prescoed has places. The issue is that Ben is on a waiting list and there are other inmates who are before him on the list.

    Prescoed had not agreed places for the two inmates sent from Shepton.

    They could not go back to Shepton as they had already allocated the beds.

    The problem stems from Shepton.

    Population Management and staff at Cardiff will now try and allocate to a Cat C pending a place becoming available at Prescoed.

    Hope this clarifies."

    Incompetent or what?!

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  8. In all honesty, this is a load of bollocks. This really does show the 'them' vs 'us' rather than the 'we' working relationship that should be taking place in prisons.

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  9. What an absolute disgrace, I agree with those who have commented on this not being just a simple matter of an administrative error. One way to see if they can get him so stressed that he slips up and his move to open can be over ruled. When Is he actually going to get some justice?
    Please pass on my support and best wishes, and if there is any way you can find out who we all need to write to I for one will be posting to vent my outrage

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  10. What a bummer, as they say.

    I still remember the day I left Ben in Rye Hill Prison as I left for Sudbury open prison. As soon as I got into the room I turned on the TV, and watched the news as 2 planes crashed into the twin World Trade Towers...

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  11. My God I can't believe it, the whole thing is making me feel queasy. Words can't describe it, just hold tight and hold it down Ben. Tomorrow is another day ... and you are a brave man x

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  12. I am sitting here and I am literally speechless. I must apologise for my lack of understanding regarding the British judicial system. I'm not a very well-read person. I'm not a universtity graduate. I'm just an average, everyday, working person. The man (woman) in the street. But I know what my eyes see. If this was an administrative error then I'm the next Queen of England!! I don't know everything about this case but I know enough. They want to silence this man. They do not want him to speak about the dreadful miscarriage of justice that has been perpetrated by the British Government. This man has a lot to say and by all that's holy, they are crapping themselves about that!! I am in no way personally connected to this case. I have never met Ben or spoken to him. So I am looking at this from an outsider's point of view. And as a taxpayer and a concerned citizen of The United Kingdom, I have an absolute right to let my voice be heard!! If whoever is aiding Ben in his cause, know this!! You have an ally in me. So please contact me as I have absolutely no idea how or to whom I can make a complaint. Is there a petition out there?? If so, let me sign it now!! Is there perhaps someone I can call?? I would not be shy to voice my opinion. I will even go so far as to publicly give you my e-mail address and phone number. They are : e-mail address : pagansummer@live.co.uk My phone number is : 07519561016. Whoever is championing Ben at the moment, please contact me to tell me what it is that I can do to stop this pure insanity. I'm angry!! Yes I am!! And as a British citizen, I have the absolute RIGHT to voice my anger to whoever is in charge. And I aim to do just that!!!!

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  13. As a word of defence to the prison service (I have got a fireproof suit as I say this) allot of these issues will arise from the fact that the service is having to deal with many many more people than it has the infrastructure to handle. Evidenced by the fact that Shepton was full within a few hours.

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  14. Tallguy, I don't really rate that as an excuse for a mistake on this scale. It's not like someone just got the wrong laundry back or something - it is a dreadful way to treat a human being who has been inside so long over and above his tariff and had his hopes built up like that. All relevant checks should have been made before setting of from Shepton Mallet. Human error possibly, but it should be regarded as a very serious matter, but no doubt will be brushed aside.

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  15. I appreciate that Prescoed has a waiting list, but don't appreciate after Thirty years why Ben's not top of it!

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  16. @Jules in any bureaucratic system mistakes happen. It is a fact of life. In Ben's case they are more severe than the rest of us as the system has far greater influence over his life than it does over the rest of us.

    My point is not that such a mistake is excusable, but that it is made inevitable by the wider background problem that this is a symptom of. The staff at HMP Shepton Mallot need to get prisoners moved out as soon as possible as they are under pressure from the B and A catogery prisons keen to move their own prisoners down the line. This means they will shove hard to get people shifted to Catogery D in order to prevent them having to get people to share cells. The staff at the Catogery D, being the only ones not able to dump prisoners down the line, will fight back because they need to enforce their entry system otherwise they will be swamped, so have no choice but to reject the hastily dispatched prisoner from Shepton or find other prison governors beginning to try and jump the queue. And all this pressure is ultimately because there are more prisoners than prison space. Which leads to a situation where staff at Category C's are willing to mishear or misread statements from the D cat prisons to get their prisoners out of there, and staff at Category D's are having to play silly buggers to keep themselves from being swamped.

    And at the end of the day no-one has any opportunity to do their job properly.

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  17. Thanks Tallguy, I respect what you say and admit I have little knowledge of this side of prison bureaucracy. I guess we must all continue to campaign for prison reform and preventative work. Too many people are getting locked up unnecessarily when other methods of dealing with them would be much more effective all round in the long run.

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  18. Tallguy, I have always had great respect for you and your comments. On this occassion, whilst I admire your attempt to explain the inexcusable, I cant buy into your forgiving attitude to HMP Prison services. Jules is right when she says "we must all continue to campaign for prison reform and preventative work" In the meantime Ben is sent back to Cat C.

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  19. I spoke to Ben yesterday (he was allowed a phone call). To make matters worse, I am unable to visit! Another administrative error prevented him from being entered onto the prison's computer. So when trying to book a visit the computer said "no". He is on it now, but you cannot book visits at the weekend. I have appealed on compassionate grounds and they are trying to sort it out but are not making any promises. Meanwhile, all he can do is sit and wait, with all his belongings in store as he is moving on, he probably can't even write. But I have enough blog posts for a week or so...

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  20. I know this sounds obvious, but why didn't someone just phone up. Every one has mobiles these days, including the staff in the prison vans. I have heard those prison vans cost £1,500 a day to use. (this is info from a prisoner, who wanted an inter-prison visit with his partner)

    They would soon get their act together if the money was form their own back pocket, and not the public purse.

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  21. Allocation of prisoners is not a complicated business. Once a prisoner has been allocated to a particular prison he goes on a waiting list, when he nears the top of that list he will know that his chances of getting on the next bus are improving all the time. However, he now has to rely on the prison to do their job, which is simply to contact the receiving prison and ask how many prisoners can we send. If they say Four, and Ben is number Two on the list at his prison, then he's on his way. It all boils down to counting, not rocket science!, and I say there's no excuse acceptable. Let's see how long it takes to put things right.

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  22. To Ed - so sorry you are not able to visit, I know how important it must be to you to see Ben at this time and how disorientated he must feel in a strange place without his things. Thank-you for keeping the blog going and I do hope you get your visit booked soon.

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  23. I have to say that Cardiff are being very helpful. It's not their fault he landed there. Visits were all booked up over the weekend, no spaces to be had. I hope to see Ben early this week and will report back as to how he is. Ed.

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  24. Well done Ed, in amongst all you must be dealing with, you manage to make time to keep us up to date, much appreciated.

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  25. A mate of mine was moved to Category C today...only he at 23 was placed into a YOI...silly move by HM Prison Service

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