I am sure that you will have already heard about the proposed cuts to legal aid for prisoners. It has now been announced that the Legal Aid Agency (LAA) will implement the Amended Criminal Legal Aid (General) Regulations before the end of this year. They are aiming to implement the changes by 2nd December 2013.
Whilst protests are still going on, the cuts now appear to be unavoidable.
I would imagine that most of you will have read about the recent decision of the European Court of Human
Rights involving three ‘whole lifers’. It certainly has been widely reported on and the Government have been
quick to criticise the Strasbourg judgement. I have represented a number of ‘whole lifers’ and I am delighted that this judgement finally gives some hope. In light of the recent judgement I have asked my partner, Nick Peacock who also happens to be a barrister called in 1996 and Amy Hossack, a Solicitor from our Prison Law department to write a piece on the recent developments. I’m sure you will find the following piece very informative.
In recent months, you will have all read about the Coalition Government’s proposed cuts to public spending. As part of the Government’s push to lower public spending, they are looking to halt the relentless rise in prison numbers that we have seen over the last decade and lower the prison population and propose to carry out a sentencing review. In recent weeks the Secretary of State for Justice, Ken Clarke has criticised what he has called ‘ineffectual’ and ‘absurd’ shorter sentences and has suggested that tougher community sentences would, in many cases, be more effective.
Those of you are life sentenced prisoners will be aware of the delays and difficulties in progressing towards open conditions or release; the offending behaviour work (including the delays faced by some to get on these courses) and then the time in less secure conditions to show ‘consolidation’ of all these skills.