Prison Visits, Prison Law and Post Prison Issues

Potential Problems in Prison and After Release

You may be “required” by Probation to undertake a form of SOTP (Sex Offender’s Therapy Programme). This comes under various guises. At present it is known as “Good Lives” and although the name may change from time to time, it really is basically the same thing.

To undertake this type of course you will be expected to admit guilt and empathise with the victim – all well and good if the crime has been committed. If it has, then stop reading and leave this site as it is not for you.

If you are rightly and honestly protesting your innocence and you are attempting to appeal the convictions then the worst thing you can do is to accede to Probation threats of recall and undertake this course. Even if you do not take part and merely “sit in” it is likely that the Court of Appeal will deem this to be an admission of guilt and they will not entertain any appeal application, because of it.

Probation may also tell you that the course they have in mind for you is for “deniers”. These are not for deniers at all as they still will require you do discuss your alleged offences and your “victim”.

Please note the last paragraph on this link: and also here


Despite what is said on those two links you may still be recalled to prison if you refuse to undertake the course(s). You would need to instruct a good prison law solicitor to fight your corner. Conditions on your licence should be “reasonable” and any right-minded person might believe that it is not reasonable to force somebody who is denying the allegations (and therefore the convictions) to undertake a course that requires an admission of guilt.

Unfortunately many Probation officers are not particularly “right-minded” people as they are often only interested in ticking the boxes which includes getting bums on seats for SOTP/Good Lives programmes, regardless of any truthful protestations of innocence.  I have known some probation officers to lie outright to supporters as well as in some of their report.

You are stuck between a rock and a hard place. On one hand you might think it would be easier to lie, pretend you have committed the offences to keep yourself out of prison or to hopefully get a shorter sentence – but then it will be highly unlikely that you will ever have a chance to appeal your convictions because you will have wrongly admitted guilt in order to undertake the course in the hope of a shorter sentence or parole.

Further, on release you might be required to undertake a polygraph from time to time to prove you are not a risk to the public. How polygraphs can be considered accurate enough for this, but not for pre-trial does not make sense – but then neither does the way these cases are investigated and “tried” in the courts.



Prison Law Clinic opened at Sheffield University

“We were approached by Sheffield Hallam University about working in conjunction with them to set up a prison law clinic. The idea was that students would be able to put forward the client’s case to the prison and correspond with the prison to try and help them achieve their aim (essentially what we would do when there was funding available).

Cartwright King have helped with the training and will always be there to answer questions if complicated queries arise but the Clinic will run independently of Cartwright King. The work will be done by students who will be supervised by staff from the university. All this will be fully explained in correspondence from the university.

The Clinic is not restricted to clients of Cartwright King and would welcome all requests for assistance. The Clinic is currently able to assist with sentence-progression matters. From 1 February 2015, the Clinic will also be accepting requests for assistance regarding re-categorisation and HDC cases.

Many prisoners will know about the clinics that universities run to deal with Criminal Appeals but this (as far as we know) is the first clinic to deal with day to day prison law issues and we hope it will be a great success and fill the void that the cuts in funding have created. We are very proud of what our teamwork has created.

Whatever area of prison law you require assistance with please consider the following:

Recalls, Parole Board Hearings and Independent Adjudications enquiries should be directed to Rachel Baldwin, Cartwright King, 4th Floor Peel House, Sheffield, S3 8PQ

All other enquiries should be directed to Sheffield Hallam Prison Clinic, First Floor, Heart of the Campus, Collegiate Crescent, Sheffield, S10 2BQ”.

We do not, cannot and never have charged for any of the work that we undertake or advice offered be it by telephone, email or face-to-face.