Urgent release of Matthew Thomas

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Imagine you committed a crime.

Imagine you served your time.

Twice over. 

Imagine they still won’t release you.

Petition calling for the urgent release of Matthew Thomas

 Matthew Thomas was given a recommended 3 year sentence in 2010, under the now discredited and abolished IPP legislation, and has in fact served 7 years to date.

 

IPP- (Imprisonment for Public Protection) Legislation

The IPP prisoners must serve a tariff; the period of imprisonment set by the sentencing judge as the punishment part of the sentence, but can only then be released if the Parole Board is satisfied it is no longer necessary for the protection of the public that they remain in custody.

In effect, that means that prisoners can only be released when they can prove they are no longer a risk, rather than the Parole Board having to prove that they are a risk. This has been acknowledged by then Justice Secretary, Ken Clarke, and Parole Board Chief, Prof Nick Hardwick, to be extremely difficult, if not impossible to do.

Clarke, banning IPP sentencing in 2012 called it a ‘Stain’ on the criminal justice system, as it was ‘impossible’ for prisoners to prove they were no longer a risk.

Prof Hardwick said on 26th July 2016:  "It's a real problem … if people (on IPP sentences) are in prison not because of what they have done but because of what they might do.”

Due to the IPP sentencing, Mathew Thomas has served more than double the allocated time for his crime. This is unjust, inhumane and cruel; he is one of the forgotten prisoners, stuck in the system not for what he has done, but for what he might do in the future. He has successfully attended numerous rehabilitation and reflection courses and also paid dearly in terms of devastating personal loss and health whilst in prison; Mathew deserves a fair parole hearing followed by an immediate release date.

Professor Hardwick intends to release IPP prisoners who have served over and above their minimum sentence but acknowledges that this could take up to 5 years because of the administrative nightmare which IPP sentences have proven to be.

This could mean that Mathew is not released until 2020. We cannot sit by while Mathew serves more than another full term sentence.  What system of Justice is this that allows a man to serve his sentence 3 times over?

This petition and supporting letters are asking for an urgent review of Matthew Thomas’ case by the Parole Board, with a plea to release him from prison or apply him to a release programme with immediate effect.

 

 


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