Prison Law

Representing prisoners and enforcing their legal rights

  • Juveniles
  • Adults
  • IPP prisoners

WE CAN HELP WITH:

  • Appeals against convictions
  • Challenges to sentence dates & calculation
  • Adjudications
  • Extended sentences
  • Parole
  • Recall
  • Judicial review
  • Categorisation and sentence planning
  • Actions against the Police
  • Inquests
  • Prisoners’ Rights

Imprisonment can be a daunting and worrying time, both for those who have been sentenced and for their friends and family. Whether you are a juvenile or an adult, a long-term prisoner or you have just been sent to custody and are confused about your rights, we are here to offer advice and representation in a wide range of areas.

At GHP Legal we won’t just provide you with guidance and support throughout your criminal proceedings, we will also provide continuing support if you are sentenced to imprisonment.

Our specialist prison law team consists of highly skilled solicitors who are dedicated and committed to looking after your rights as a prisoner and providing comprehensive advice and assistance throughout your sentence.

The feeling of isolation, in particular, can be devastating for those who have been imprisoned. As part of our job we aim to bring hope to our clients by continuing to safeguard their best interests and helping them to see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Legal Aid

Whilst the areas of advice we can provide under the legal aid scheme may be restricted, we can assist in appeals against convictions, challenges to sentence dates and calculation, adjudications, IPP/Extended sentences and recall. We are also available to represent clients on any prison law matter under a private fee arrangement.

Appealing against a conviction

if you think you have been wrongly convicted or sentenced due to perhaps non-disclosure of evidence or the failure of a key witness to appear, you can apply for permission to appeal. You may also be able to apply for bail whilst you are pursuing your appeal. But you must act immediately, so you should contact us for advice straightaway.

Challenging a sentence date or calculation

It is wise to check that a sentence has been correctly calculated because errors can be made. Typical examples of errors being made are when remand time has not been taken into account or information has not being transferred correctly from the Court to the prison records. The same applies to checking calculations of parole eligibility dates.

What happens if you receive a notice of Adjudication?

If you have received a notice of adjudication whilst you are in prison and you later receive a disciplinary charge it will add time to your sentence. It is therefore imperative that you seek legal advice and support to ensure that your adjudication is conducted lawfully, fairly and justly. In accordance with Prison Rules any charge against you must be laid within 48 hours of the alleged offence and an adjudication hearing must be opened the following day, so seeking legal advice immediately is key. 

What is the maximum term of an extended sentence?

Extended sentences have a limit of eight years maximum and the combined total of the prison term and extension period cannot exceed the maximum sentence for the offence committed. You can apply for automatic release at the two-thirds point of your custodial sentence or you may be entitled to apply for parole at that point. If parole is refused you will remain in custody until the end of the prison term and thereafter under the supervision of the National Offender Management Service until the end date of the extended period. 

What is the procedure for parole applications?

Provided you are not serving a life sentence or are not an IPP prisoner, the process for your parole application should start six months prior to your parole eligibility date which is set by the length of your sentence. The parole process is something that happens automatically, prisoners do not apply for it. In some cases prisoners can gain information about their progression and release by registering with the Victim Notification Scheme.

Recall to Prison

If you have been recalled to prison, you will be given the reason for your recall and the opportunity to present your case to the parole board. The Parole Board will then decide whether you will be released back onto licence, released at an agreed future date, sent for an oral hearing or no action be taken at all. As your future is in the hands of the Parole Board it is essential that you take up the opportunity of having a solicitor to help you make your representation.

Can I apply for a Judicial Review?

You have the right to challenge any decision made by a public official or public body. This includes a prison governor, probation officer, Secretary of State and Parole Board. To apply for Judicial Review you must bring a civil law application to the High Court within three months of the date of the decision you are challenging. This means time is of the essence so you should get in touch with us immediately so that we can consider your case and provide you with honest advice. 

Categorisation and sentence planning

When you are sentenced you will firstly be categorised to decide which type or categorisation level of prison you will be detained in. During your time in that prison you may be able apply for a categorisation downgrade. You will also be given a Sentence Plan listing the activities you will be expected to carry out, both during your time in prison and later when you are out on licence. Embracing your sentence plan can help with getting a categorisation downgrade and also with a parole application, so getting the right legal advice about both these things at the beginning of your sentence is crucial. 

Bringing an action against the Police

Under Civil Liberty Law you have a right to bring an action against the Police if you have been assaulted by them or mistreated in any way whilst being arrested or held in custody. Bringing a Civil Action against the Police can however be challenging, emotionally draining and extremely complex. At GHP Legal our solicitors have the expertise and experience to represent you from initial complaint right through to an appeal to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

Death in Custody

Since 1990 there have been more than 4,000 deaths in prisons in England and Wales. Of these almost two thousand of the deaths have been self-inflicted. For the families of those prisoners the news of their death can be traumatic, shocking, confusing. They will often be informed of the death by a stranger and will receive little detailed information.

At GHP Legal we understand your emotional turmoil and we understand the procedure following a death in custody. We will make contact with the Prison Service, Prison and Probation Ombudsman and the Coroner to obtain all the information needed to ensure your loved one’s case is fairly heard at the inquest. 

Prisoners’ Rights?

You may be in Prison but you still have rights. You have visiting rights, disability and discrimination rights, rights to receive correct medical treatment, rights to protection from assaults by other prisoners and prison staff. You also have rights to correct sentencing, categorisation, parole and release dates and reviews. At GHP Legal our solicitors will fight for your Rights and challenge accusations made against you.

Contact
PLEASE RETURN TO THIS CONTACT US SECTION AFTER SUBMITTING FOR CONFIRMATION THAT SUBMISSION HAS BEEN SUCCESSFUL.
Emma Simoes

Emma Simoes

Partner

A Partner in our Criminal Law team in Wrexham

Stephen Edwards

Stephen Edwards

Partner

A Partner and Head of our Criminal Law team in Wrexham