Prison Law

Here at Oxley and Coward Solicitors LLP we are able to provide advice and assistance and where required, advocacy assistance to inmates within the United Kingdom.

We are one of only a few local experts within this particular field who can truly be relied upon to assist you with all prison law related matters.

Legal Aid is available for some aspects of prison law including independent adjudications and parole hearings. Please contact our prison law team to determine whether your matter will qualify for Legal Aid. All aspects of prison law are undertaken by our team and if required, can be dealt with on a private paying basis where Legal Aid is not available.

A non – exhaustive list of what our team can assist you with includes:

• Independent adjudications and adjudications before a prison governor.
• Parole oral hearings for recalled prisoners, life sentenced prisoners and those serving sentences of imprisonment for public protection.
• Advice and assistance in respect of recalls to custody.
• Home detention curfew.
• Annual categorisation reviews.

Please contact our prison law team today to find out more.

Independent adjudications

Within the prison environment, rules and regulations have to be adhered to. Failure to comply with such rules and regulations can often amount to adjudications being laid against a person (more commonly referred to by inmates as a nicking). Where an offence is suspected, an adjudication charge (DIS 1) will be laid against you within 48 hours of the discovery of the offence after consultation with the adjudication liaison officer.

Charges can be brought against an individual for possession of unauthorised items, failing drugs tests, failing to comply with rules, endangering the health and safety of yourself or others and refusing specific instructions to name a few.

The most serious of charges will be referred to the independent adjudicator which is a local district judge who will attend the prison once or twice monthly in order to hear those charges. A prisoner can receive up to an additional 42 days imprisonment in connection with each offence and therefore it is vital that you obtain legal advice for such hearings.

Our prison law specialists are often able to find technicalities in respect of these proceedings and where required are often able to present an effective and successful defence to a charge. Where necessary, our experienced advocates are able to mitigate on your behalf in order to ensure any punishments are kept as low as possible should the matter be admitted.

This area of law is governed by prison service instruction 47/2011 and our team are able to identify quickly whether or not any defences to the charge are available and whether or not a charge is likely to be successfully defended.

Recall to custody

Nowadays, prisoners will be released at the halfway point of their sentence to serve the remainder of their sentence on licence under the guidance of the Probation Service. A failure to adhere to licence conditions can result in an immediate recall to custody until the licence expiry date.

Our prison law experts are able to submit written representations to the Parole Board to try to secure your release as soon as possible from custody in the event of recall and where necessary, are able to represent you in person at any oral hearing ordered to take place by the Parole Board. Our team has a wealth of experience at appearing before the Parole Board and securing the release of individuals by persuading the Parole Board that the public can be protected from the particular individual.

Parole Board Oral Hearings

Our prison law team appear before the Parole Board in person on a regular basis throughout the UK and have successfully secured the release of individuals serving life sentences/ sentences of imprisonment for public protection for extremely serious offences. In addition to this, our team regularly appear before the Parole Board to represent determinate sentence prisoners (those prisoners who have a defined release date) in respect of their recall to custody hearings.

At the oral hearing, evidence will be heard from various professional witnesses including the offender supervisor and offender manager and often from additional professionals in the way of psychiatrists and psychologists and our experienced team are able to question those witnesses effectively on your behalf and make submissions to the board as to why a person ought to be released.

Since the judgement in the case of R v Osborn and Booth, oral hearings are much more common practice and our team are on hand to talk you through every step of the procedure.

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