Licence Conditions On Home Leave - By Lesley Brown

Dear Prisoner's Families Voices, My partner is currently at Castle Huntly Open Estate, Longforgan and has just begun stage releases. Despite the recommendation from his Supervising Officer that he stay in a hostel at night with visits permitted at home during the day and overnights, increasing from one to two as his leaves go from 3/4 days to 7 days, the RMT board decided to ban him from our home town. This effectively means that, as I am not allowed in the hostel, we are required to spend all day in cafes and restaurants, if we want to eat or drink at great expense, on top of the mounting cost I have to bare of running to and from the city he is based in; a distance of 16mls away. I am bipolar and have regular appointments at home and so this now means that I need to run back and forth accordingly. I also have a 14yr old son, who then has to sit with us in a house, currently vacant, with no gas or electric supply, with only a tiny camping stove and a torch in the evenings and is another 16 miles away, making that a combined distance of 32mls from where we live. I wrote to Castle Huntly and received a rather condescending response from Sharanne Findlay, Deputy Governor, informing me that this was for my partner's social and domestic benefit and for the safety of the community, though despite repeated attempts to discuss this with anyone at Castle Huntly, I have failed to elicit any response or explanation of how this is to the benefit of ANYONE! I already think that these Risk Management Team board meetings are a complete disgrace, from a system that purports to be encouraging prisoners to be responsible, as they do not take into account any of their feelings or opinions. These "secret squirrel" meetings are totally unethical and must surely breach the prisoners' human rights and indeed are contrary to all common sense or decency (even children are given a right to have their views heard in front of a Reporter). I would appreciate it very much if you could highlight this issue, not only for the benefit of myself and my partner but all prisoners as I honestly believe that this system completely undermines the self esteem and/or rights of all offenders' to make responsible decisions affecting not only themselves but also their families and their futures.

Yours Faithfully

Lesley Brown