QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
THE ADMINISTRATIVE COURT
Royal Courts of Justice
B e f o r e :
|THE QUEEN ON THE APPLICATION OF PETER GREEN||(CLAIMANT)|
|(1) THE GOVERNOR OF HMP RISLEY|
|(2) THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT||(DEFENDANTS)|
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(Official Shorthand Writers to the Court)
MISS C CALLAGHAN (instructed by Treasury Solicitior) appeared on behalf of the DEFENDANT
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"The aims of the national framework are:
. to encourage responsible behaviour by prisoners;
. to encourage hard work and other constructive activity by prisoners;
. To encourage sentenced to prisoners to progress through the prison system; and.
. to create a more disciplined, better controlled and safer environment for prisoners and staff by:
Ensuring that privileges generally are earned by prisoners through good behaviour and performance and are removable if prisoners fail to maintain acceptable standards;
1.3.2 The last aim, if achieved, will create the climate in which the other aims are much more likely to follow. However the IEP framework is not designed to be a stand alone policy. Some of these aims are furthered by other policies (eg anti-bullying, training, work activity, sentence planning). Together they contribute to the way the Service meets its Aims and Objectives."
Later in the same document at paragraph 1.9.1 there is a reference to "sentence planning compacts and the personal officer scheme". It is indicated that sentence planning must take place irrespective of the level of privileges or regime in which a prisoner is placed. For those on the basic level, it must include targets to help them progress off the basic level. There are a range of activities -- including education, training, employment and offending behaviour programmes -- set to meet sentence planning objectives which must not be treated as privileges. It is said:
"Thus a prisoner who participates in and complies with his sentence planning and any targets set should reasonably expect to advance to, or retain, higher levels of privilege. Conversely, someone failing to cooperate may reasonably be downgraded in accordance with local criteria."
"The reports were reviewed and it was agreed that he should remain on the standard level. To achieve enhanced status it would be necessary for him to comply fully with the incentive plan."
The targets for the following 12 months were for him to remain at Wakefield and to complete the sex offender treatment programme.
"The reports were reviewed and it was agreed that he would remain on the standard level. To achieve the enhanced level he needs to improve his wing score and accept full responsibility for his offending. In addition, he must fully comply with his sentence plan."
The targets for the next 12 months were to move to an appropriate category C prison and to complete the sex offender treatment programme.
". You must demonstrate that you have had no written warnings in the preceding three months.
. Have had no positive MDTs in the preceding six months.
. Are currently not on closed visits.
. Have had no guilty adjudications in the preceding three months.
. Have consistently attended work where appropriate (unless retired or classified unfit for work or where no work is available) and have worked to a satisfactory standard as specified by the work supervisor.
. Have been on Standard Level for regime for at least three months.
. Are willing to co-operate with Voluntary Testing Programme.
. Fully meet the requirements of Standard Level Regime.
. Must fully comply with the requirements of Sentence planning."
He met all of those requirements except for the last one when it came to his application for consideration of enhanced status and the decision which is under attack in this claim.
"I have considered your appeal and the information contained in your Sentence Plan. You were convicted of a serious sexual offence, and SOTP was set at a target at Sentence Planning. You have made yourself ineligible to comply with this target through the denial of your offence, therefore it is through your own actions that you are not compliant in this case. Enhanced level IEP is not suitable."
"I am aware that some confusion appears to have arisen in the correspondence between the Claimant's representatives and Wing Governor Jarvis concerning the effect on the IEPS of a prisoner's appeal to the Court of Appeal. It is correct that if a prisoner has been granted permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) he is entitled to remain on enhanced status if that is the level he has already achieved. However, if a prisoner's status under the IEPS is unaffected by an application to the Criminal Cases Review Commission, until such point as the matter is referred to the Court of Appeal."
That, no doubt, is because the referral by the CCRC to the Court of Appeal is to be treated as an appeal. It certainly suggests that the policy relates not to applications but only to appeals. However, it seems to me that the only conceivable relevance of the policy in the circumstances of this case is, as Mr Blake puts it, that it would be unfair to penalise someone who is either an appellant or, indeed, seeking leave to appeal if otherwise he ought to be eligible for enhanced level. The fact that he is appealing is indicative of the reasonableness of his denial. That, as I understand it, is essentially the way in which it is put.
"But the fundamental distinction is between those who can address their offences by attending courses despite denial and those who cannot.
An SOTP requires an admission of guilt for the reasons advanced by Miss Shingler [a witness whose statement was before him]. It is also true that even some sexual offenders who deny their offences have achieved enhanced status. No inconsistency is thereby established. The reasons they have done so is made clear in the evidence of Mr. Chapman, in paragraph 11 to which I have already referred. Statistics are disclosed by Mr. Chapman, particularly that there are some 25 of those who deny sexual offences on enhanced status at Frankland. In his first statement he reveals at paragraph 7 that some of the explanation may be due to the transitional period during which the schemes were introduced."
He then goes on to deal with alleged inconsistencies between various prisons. He went to say that he did not believe that there was anything in the inconsistency argument, and that point was dealt with by the Court of Appeal in refusing leave to appeal. The court said that it was not easy to assess the point because there was no evidence in detail about other prisoners but that it did not show irrationality or unfairness. What it suggested was that the Prison Service had been giving careful attention to individual cases and the individual circumstances of particular prisons.
"Nor is there any basis for criticising the weight attached to the single requirement to attend an SOTP ... I accept that the claimants would probably otherwise have qualified. But whether attendance on an SOTP was set as a long- or a short-term objective, the prison management was entitled only to reward those who addressed their offending behaviour. All these claimants failed on that ground. That ground was a sufficient ground for refusal of enhanced status."
Then in paragraph 59, he said:
"I conclude that there is neither anything unfair or irrational in the schemes or in their application to these prisoners in refusing enhanced status on the ground of a refusal to attend an SOTP in the face and by reason of their denial of their guilt."