Tuesday, November 8, 2011

States of Denial

There is a group of prisoners who labour under the weight of a special acronym - IDOM.  This is bureaucrat jargon for those Lifers who protest their innocence.  IDOM means "In Denial of Murder", and it is a ticket to a difficult and lengthy sentence.

Denial works both ways, and the criminal justice system has a long and disreputable history in this regard.

Consider the numbers; some 85,000 people in prison.  If the criminal justice system has achieved the improbable level of being 95% perfect that would mean there are over 4,000 innocent people in prison.

Just who is in denial here?


  1. Food for thought here - I know everyone who maintains their innocence is treated more harshly than others - but there really are some innocent people in prison. Apparently the Parole Board and prison staff are not 'allowed' to even consider that someone might be innocent.

  2. That really got me thinking, it is bad enough to be accused of doing something you haven't done but to go to prison for it is unimaganable.

  3. How to deal with it though? Murder is an incredibly serious crime, and someone pleading innocence does not make them innocent in all cases. The probation service does not have the resources to carry out a full re-trial every time a prisoner claims innocence.

    Btw, this is not a rhetorical question.

  4. Tallguy, Consider this - there are about 19,000 people in prison on remand. Les then half of these will receive a custodial sentence at the end of their trial. Not only that, many will get "time served" and walk from court anyway having served a nominal sentence.

    So lets say 10,000 of those will be released from court or better. Add this to the 4000 innocent and that's 14,000 people in prison who essentially shouldn't be.

    To put that into context, that's 10 prisons the size of Wandsworth!

    If the state has the resources to keep these 14,000 people in prison at £46,000 per prisoner per year, then maybe they'd get better results spending that *£644 MILLION* pounds on more thorough investigations to ensure that the innocent *aren't* kept in prison?

  5. I know 2 people who were stitched up by a girl purely for revenge and compensation. One got 10 years and the other 5 years. Both are innocent. If, they had pleaded guilty to a crime they didn't commit, they would have had their sentences drastically reduced and received privileges. This makes a mockery of the justice system.

  6. @Fenrir Lukoi
    Yes that is allot of money, but what about the cost of a trial? I'd be interested to see back up for the half of people on remand get released though.

    A Crown Court Judge is paid around £150 000 a year, so £650 a day for every day they work (assuming 230 working days a year). A Jury Costs £600 a day (£50 allowance each for 12 people). Then, for a murder case there will be a QC on each side, at £90 an hour before the court, so 6 hour day reaches £540 a day, or £1080 a day.

    Then each side will probably have a solicitor, if we assume £50 an hour, then that another £300 a day each, or £600 in total. Then we have the Usher and Clerk, probably at about £25 an hour, so £300 for them.



    £3230 for every day of trial. For a two week trial, it costs a staggering £32 300.

    That is before the costs of calling in investigators to give evidence (and therefore away from other work), paying for any expert witnesses, and re-investigating, the process becomes very very expensive.


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