Legal defence in prison

Our dedicated team of prison law solicitors have been involved in a number of high profile cases and have pursued actions all the way to the High Court to secure justice for their clients.

The team are recognised as specialists in this area with excellent connections to barrister’s chambers should your case require. They offer specialist advice, support and expertise for the most vulnerable; those in custody. They do so with sensitivity and efficiency being fully aware of the anxiety that comes with being in custody.

Experienced and supportive prison law solicitors

As well as having the legal expertise to give clients specialist advice on the best course of action for their case, the prison law team at Purcell Parker are well aware of the stress and anxiety that is part and parcel of being in custody.
We understand that prison can be particularly difficult for clients who are experiencing prison for the first time, particularly after being convicted of white-collar offences and we can provide the specialist support needed in cases like this. However, no matter what the clients’ circumstances, our prison law solicitors will keep them up to date with all aspects of their case and treat them with empathy.

Financing a prison case

As one of the few firms approved to take on publicly-funded work for the full range of custody-related issues, we can offer legal aid to qualifying prisoners. Self-financing clients, for example, those who require the services of a white collar law specialist, can be provided with a competitive fixed-fee quote in order to gauge how much the case will cost at a time when income has been lost due to being in prison.

Prison law specialists

The prison law solicitors at Purcell Parker can help with every aspect of prison law. We understand how important Parole Board hearings are and where appropriate, we will use our well-established links with highly-regarded psychologists and psychiatrists to report on a client’s behalf in instances when the prisoner has been misrepresented in prison reports in the parole dossier.

We represent clients in the following areas:

Adjudications

Adjudication is the word used to describe the formal disciplinary process for prison offences. Prisoners may be referred to an Adjudication Hearing when they are accused of breaking prison rules whilst in prison. Prison charges can have a serious impact on the length of a sentence, so it’s crucial to get professional advice from the prison solicitors at Purcell Parker.
At an Adjudication Hearing the Adjudicator must ask the prisoner if they want legal advice. More minor breaches of discipline are dealt with by a Prison Governor or Director. In those circumstances prisoners aren’t entitled to have a solicitor present to represent them at their hearing. However, they are still entitled to legal advice and it’s important to ask for it. Prison law solicitors can check whether the adjudication process has been carried out properly, advise whether a client has a viable defence to the charge and make arrangements for hearings referred to the Independent Adjudicator where prisoners are entitled to be formally legally represented.

Home Detention Curfew (Tag)

If a sentence is between 3 months and 4 years long, prisoners may be eligible for a Home Detention Curfew (HDC). Also known as a tag, this device which looks like a bulky watch is fitted around the ankle and connected to a monitoring box, enabling qualifying prisoners to be released under curfew to their home any time between 10 and 135 days before the halfway point of their sentence. Rather than being automatically given this option, prisoners need to apply for it. Purcell Parker’s prison law solicitors can guide clients through this process and advise on a possible appeal if an HDC request is denied. This includes obtaining a clear and legally sound explanation from the prison authorities as to why the application has been unsuccessful.

Recall to prison

It’s common practice for prisoners to be released on licence half-way through their sentence to serve the remainder in the community under certain strictly-enforced conditions. If a prisoner is accused of breaking the terms of their licence, for example by committing another crime or repeatedly missing visits from their supervising officer, they can be sent back to prison. Purcell Parker can help clients in situations where they feel their recall to prison is unfair and can also assist the client in persuading the parole board that any risk that may exist can be managed in the community.

Prisoner re categorisation

All prisoners are assigned a category on conviction according to their level of risk to the police, the public and national security. Categorisation is usually reviewed on a six month or annual basis, depending on the length of the sentence and how long is left to serve, with prisoners who have demonstrated good behaviour being moved to a lower category prison or even open conditions. In cases where a prisoner feels their categorisation is unfair, Purcell Parker’s prison solicitors can demonstrate any reduction in risk to the Parole Board using methods such as showing goals achieved on a sentence plan. We can also appeal against Parole Board decisions, including implementing a judicial review when the methods of arriving at the decision in question can be challenged.
To be eligible for this, the prisoner needs to meet certain conditions. Purcell Parker can advise on these issues, ensuring that transfer to open conditions happens as soon as legally possible.

Parole Board compensation claims

Prisoners whose Parole Board hearings are delayed may be entitled to financial compensation for the distress and frustration caused when delays to hearings mean that transfer to open conditions or release is delayed. We can also advise on when compensation claims may be appropriate.

Pre-tariff life sentence reviews

Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) prisoners and those serving life sentences become eligible for a pre-tariff review three years before the minimum term of their sentence is up. This Parole Board review determines whether the prisoner has earned the right to be reclassified from closed to open prison conditions.

Sentence planning and advice

All prisoners should receive a sentence plan at the beginning of their prison sentence. This is an important document because it details courses and goals to address behavioural issues and reduce the risk of committing the same crime again. If a prisoner engages with the plan, it can help their case with the Parole Board if they are applying for early release or re-categorisation. However, in these days of stretched resources, not every prisoner receives a sentence plan. Also, if an inmate is going through the appeals process, engaging with a sentence plan can be problematical as on principle, they will not agree with the terms of the plan. The prison law solicitors at Purcell Parker can help clients receive an appropriate plan and advise on what to do if they disagree with its contents.

Talk to a prison law specialist today

For empathetic expert help on all aspects of prison law, call Purcell Parker on 0121 236 9781 or send an email to info@purcellparker.co.uk.

As prison law specialists we are able to help with all aspects of the law relating to being in custody. We have been involved in a number of high profile cases, successfully pursuing actions all the way to the High Court.