Friday, September 9, 2011


As every criminologist, penologist, governor and probation officer knows, the influence of our families is one of the most important factors in our re-offending rates.

The prison service recognises this in a raft of policy statements, and family engagement is one of the seven "re-settlement pathways".

So I asked that the two people closest to me be allowed to attend an upcoming sentence plan board.

The prison, highlighting the perpetual gap between policy and practice, sent me a memo insisting that I justify the presence of the two people who will be crucial in my resettlement into the community.

I replied, asking that the prison justify their exclusion.  Watch this space to discover if the prison service exists in a cesspool of hypocrisy...


  1. You're never wrong, and they're never right.

    You are, in fact, perfect.

    It seems that for you in this matter, greater pleasure derives from 'proving' that prison admin exists in a cesspool of hypocrisy, rather than your enjoying a successful board.

    Why on earth won't you behave like I would in your circumstances and provide what they not utterly completely unreasonably require of you?!?

    [Please don't tell me it's because you, unlike me, are brave courageous proud etc etc etc.]

    Do you want out, at all?

  2. holiday camp....

    At his new digs in Lowdham Grange, Kenneth Noye will be able to enjoy a string of luxuries.

    In what will surely make uncomfortable reading for the Cameron family, their son's killer will be able to stock his own fridge and kick back with a Playstation.
    He will also be able to watch television and take a shower in his en-suite cell.

    So cushy is the category B facility near Nottingham, it has been nicknamed the 'holiday camp' by prisoners.
    Noye will also be allowed his own bedding and to wear his own clothes, while cells come equipped with hobby kits.
    He'll be able to keep trim with a range of fitness classes, including volleyball and badminton.
    The prison also offers courses in arts and crafts, computer studies and creative writing to name but a few should Noye want to further his education.
    The facility is a training prison so Noye can also sign up to vocational courses including gardening and sports studies.
    According to a report from May, prisoners spent 'plenty of time' out of their cells.'


    Read more:

  3. And its absolutely true because I read it in the daily mail.

  4. please have a successful board and play the game and you my get out. Have an easier time in open prision.

    be aware that vitims also have a say in parole of lifers.

  5. “You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.”

    ~Albert Einstein

    Something to bear in mind Ben. Back chatting really doesn't get anyone very far at all.

  6. Family are allowed to attend the initial sentencing hearing of someone convicted of a crime. Given the parole board carrys out the same role (in practice, if not in technical legal theory), which should they be banned? In fact, why should it not be the norm that parole hearings are public without good reason (such as the need to protect identity), given that justice has to be public in order to be seen to be done.

  7. Pick your battles. I agree with your point, but was this one really worth going to the wall over before they'd even said "no"?

  8. It may seem to some that this is a petty fight for Ben to pick - but that’s certainly not my opinion.

    Since the ‘phone incident’, it appears that the authorities have completely abandoned any pretence of ‘working in his best interests’, and now seem (at least to me!) to be doing everything in their power to destroy his spirit, his educational aspirations, - and any realistic chance of freedom in the next three or four years.

    There are many punishments that could have been imposed, that wouldn’t have had such a devastating effect on Bens sentence plan.

    They didn’t HAVE to send him ‘backward’ to somewhere like Earlstoke – but they chose to.

    They didn’t HAVE to make any punishment affect his studies – bit they did.

    Ben will be keenly aware of the above, and as such, will I guess, - have little reluctance in rocking the corrupt boat of his keepers.

    I don’t know if you can normally request people attend sentence plan boards, but whatever the answer is, it must now be very clear to Ben that Earlestoke have no interest in helping him gain freedom.Isn’t this bound to provoke a response?

    In my opinion, (and ironically) Ben is too honest for his own good.

    He’s playing a ‘bent game’ with a ‘straight bat’

  9. For those who do not know, sentence planning is a bit like a career path for the prisoner. Targets are agreed upon and the parole board expect prisoners to endeavour to meet those targets. Ben's target was his PhD.

    The support of family and friends at his next sentencing planning board would be a good idea as outside support is a good thing. Especially as he has been unable to meet the agreed target.

    Some, illustrated by the venomous attack from the first Anon on these comments, would say that it is Ben's own fault. That he deserved to have the word processor confiscated, for example, because of the phone incident. But would it not have been unreasonable of them to allow him to retrieve his research?

    Erlestoke and Shepton Mallet are "twinned", and the move from one prison to another may well have been for convenience, juggling spaces around, overcrowding etc. The lack of communication with Ben after the move may also have been due to staff being overstretched or on holiday or whatever.

    But however charitable we are towards the situation, a man's hopes, dreams and future are in the balance. Ben was granted his move to open prison last november. An administrative error got him sent to Cardiff, after having to sit in handcuffs in the van outside the gate of the dreamed of open prison, unable to go in. He is still waiting for the promised move. As I write this, I have not heard news as to whether or not he has actually been recommended for a parole review. And now his studies, that keep going from day to day, are lost. All Ben is asking for now is a little support.

    What is wrong with that?

  10. So they set him a target of completing his PhD, then prevented him from meeting the target? Nice...

  11. "All Ben is asking for now is a little support."

    Lots of people have given him support over the last few years, he has over 800 supporters on facebook. He is not, nor has been for a long while now, short of support.

    It is not unreasonable to expect him to help himself in this situation, thereby vindicating the support he gets.

    God helps those who help themselves.

  12. @Editor 1.43pm - Why is it that anyone who doesn't agree that the sun emanates from Ben's holy anus is instantly dismissed as a troll or just plain nasty. The first anon did not mount a 'venomous attack' on anyone - hyperbole like that to describe anyone not sycophantically agreeing with everything Ben says helps nobody.

    The first anon, in common with a great deal of us, simply cannot understand why a man who professes to want to leave captivity goes out of his way at any opportunity to defy the processes that would see him released. Each time the only inevitable result is that he hinders his own progress.

    The unconditional support he gets from some commentators on this site for his actions only serves to bolster the image he has of himself as the bold and valiant crusader on a quest to topple the evil prison regime. He's only hurting himself and you're supporting him in that.

    I want him to leave prison. His pointless presence in jail is costing the taxpayer a fortune, but starting petty, stupid and futile battles against a large bureaucracy that won't even realise he's fighting it isn't going to help him nor his fellow prisoners.

    This blog entry is a perfect example of Ben sabotaging himself. The prison makes a reasonable request as to why these people are appropriate and rather than co-operating with a simple bit of paperwork, he wastes everybody's time by challenging something they haven't even said.

  13. I disagree with Will that this request was "reasonable" and I agree with Darby that those who have control of Ben have obviously decided they have it in for him and have abandoned any pretence of following the rules. But I disagree this was a good time to pick this particular fight.

    Ben always has my full support in whatever decisions he decides to make, it just strikes me that it may have been a wiser and more effective course to hold off on this one until Ben's family had been refused permission to attend. Not all battles need to be fought immediately and surely now those in control of whether Ben's nearest and dearest come or not will be annoyed and less likely to give Ben the outcome he was after?

    I don't think Ben tends to sabotage himself, but on this occasion a little bit more bend may have moved things along further.


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