European court of human rights rules against open-ended sentences being served by 6,000 prisoners in England and Wales
Alan Travis, home affairs editor
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 18 September 2012 07.03 EDT
The European court of human rights has ruled "arbitrary and unlawful" the operation of "open-ended" indeterminate sentences for the protection of the public (IPPs) currently being served by more than 6,000 prisoners in England and Wales.
The Strasbourg judges said the prison system was "swamped" by IPP prisoners without fixed release dates after its introduction in 2005, and the inmates had "no realistic chance" of accessing the rehabilitation courses they need to qualify for release.
The new justice secretary, Chris Grayling, told MPs he was disappointed by the judgment, and intended to appeal against it. He said: "It is not an area where I welcome the court seeking to make rulings,."
The unanimous ruling by seven judges, including the British judge Nicholas Bratza, awarded up to €8,000 (£6,500) compensation to three IPP prisoners, Brett James, Nicholas Wells and Jeffrey Lee, who have been held up to two years and 10 months longer than the original recommendation of their trial judge. They were also awarded €12,000 costs each ...
Give me the courage to change what I can change, the patience to accept what I cannot change, and the wisdom to hide the bodies of people I had to kill because they pissed me off -- St Francis, Revisited