Our Prison Law team are specialised practitioners who aim to deliver the highest standard of assistance. We aim to set a new bench mark for the delivery of services and representation in this area of law. We are dedicated to defending your rights.
What we offer
We hold a Legal Aid contract to provide the following services in Prison Law:
• Parole Hearings Post Tariff for release, open conditions or to comment on risk. Both Paper and oral hearings.
• Adjudications before the independent adjudicator.
• Sentence calculations.
• Licence recalls.
• Tariff reviews.
• Challenges to Parole Board decisions.
Due to Government cuts the following areas cannot be funded by Legal Aid. Reece Thomas Watson still wish to assist clients in these areas during what can be difficult and stressful times.
For an agreed fee we also can provide legal advice and representations in:
• Re-categorisation matters.
• Pre-Tariff Reviews before the Parole Board.
• Sentence planning.
• Advice on adjudications before the Governor.
• Obtaining independent assessments by medical professionals and risk assessments.
• HDC advice and appeals.
• Mother and Baby Units.
• Licence conditions.
• Healthcare issues.
Our Prison Law solicitors have extensive experience in dealing with all of these areas and have consistently achieve favourable results for our clients.
For expert legal advice, email us or call us on 0203 841 8580.
We will resolve your problems quickly and effectively.
When you are sentenced to prison your details are passed by the Criminal Courts to the Prison Service. The Prison then use the details provided to calculate your licence date, when you are eligible for Parole, HDC dates or your Release Date.
The Prison should provide you with a form which informs you of these dates. On occasions it can be that these dates have been miscalculated.
We are aware that this can often be a complicated area and one which is extremely important as it is a question of your freedom.
Reece Thomas Watson can assist you by raising such issues with the Prison, the Ministry of Justice in order to resolve any mistakes.
Parole Board Hearings
The Parole Board Review will be scheduled for you if you are a lifer or an IPP prisoner. The Parole Board will assess your risk and will decide whether you can be released into the community or progressed to open conditions. They also have the power to review a case to comment on outstanding areas of risk. If you have a Parole Board Hearing, you are entitled to legal representation.
At Reece Thomas Watson we can assist you to secure a successful outcome by speaking on your behalf and putting forward your case to the Parole Board. It is extremely important that you are professionally represented at a Parole Board Hearing as the outcome will determine your liberty or progression towards release.
You will initially be subject to a paper sift where your case will be reviewed on the papers by a Parole Board Member. They will decide if your matter should be progressed to an oral hearing. The decision will be based on your dossier and any representations that you may wish to submit. Reece Thomas Watson can assist you by drafting representations to request that your case be progressed. The team at Reece Thomas Watson have a high success rate in securing oral hearings in all cases.
We then can assist you in your Oral Parole Board Hearing. We can question witnesses and assist you in giving your evidence. The team are experienced in Parole Board Representation and we will work hard to achieve the best outcome for your case.
If you have been sentenced to a custodial sentence of one year or more then you will be released on licence. You will then spend the remainder of your sentence in the community. You will have to abide by the conditions of your licence.
Your compliance with the licence conditions is monitored by your Offender Manager and if they believe that you have breached a licence condition they can instigate your recall back to custody by revoking your licence.
If this happens you have the right to appeal this decision. Representations are initially made in writing to the Parole Board to request your release.
Reece Thomas Watson can draft these for you, putting forward your case and requesting your prompt re-release back on licence. We can appeal any refusals for re-release on licence.
We can also act for you in any oral hearings before the Parole Board to secure your re-release on licence.
Prisoners facing an independent adjudication for a disciplinary matter are entitled to Legal Aid for a solicitor to represent them at the adjudication. A member of Reece Thomas Watson’s Prison Law team can represent you at an adjudication.
An independent adjudication follows from an alleged breach of prison discipline for offences usually involving the possession of unauthorised items in prison (drugs, alcohol, mobile phones) or when the charge is deemed so serious that there is a risk to order within the prison or to the safety of others.
Adjudications are heard before a District Judge as some offences are deemed serious enough to warrant up to 42 additional days (a total of 6 weeks) being added to a sentence.
Some offences are deemed so serious that prison may refer them to the Police. In these circumstances you should still consult with a solicitor as disciplinary proceedings will still be laid and adjourned until the outcome of the police investigation.
If the matter is not referred to the Independent Adjudicator then a prisoner is not entitled to have a solicitor present at the hearing but is still entitled to request the hearing be adjourned to obtain legal advice. Reece Thomas Watson solicitors will visit you and provide advice on these occasions.
Reducing Life Sentence Term for Exemplary Behaviour
If you are a prisoner serving a life sentence, with the minimum term to be determined, either as an adult or a young offender, you may be able to apply for a reduction in your tariff based on your exemplary behaviour.
If you are an adult prisoner sentenced to mandatory life imprisonment before the 18th December 2003 you may be eligible for a reduction in the length of the minimum term due to your exceptional progress.
Your tariff could be reduced by up to 2 years.
Realistically an application should not be made until you are near the end of the minimum term allowing sufficient opportunity to display and evidence exceptional progress over a significant part of your custodial term.
The only exception to this rule concerns prisoners who are sentenced to be detained at Her Majesty's Pleasure. If you are such a serving HMP detainee, and you have served at least half of your present tariff, then you are entitled to have your case reviewed and if you meet the criteria your tariff can be considered by a High Court Judge.
The whole purpose of this application is to determine if your original tariff is still appropriate in the light of the exemplary progress you may have made whilst being in custody.
This review is not automatic. You must apply to have your tariff reviewed.
This application can cover several of areas such as: a significant change in your maturity since the offence was committed, how you have continued to develop in custody and charity work you have completed.
Reece Thomas Watson have a high success rate in securing positive results in these applications and often act for youth offenders who have been sentenced to life imprisonment prior to turning 18 and can now demonstrate why the original tariff is no longer appropriate.
Think we can help you?
Contact us to discuss your needs in more detail.