An inquest into the death of a man found hanged in his prison cell – after having served six years longer in jail than his minimum tariff – opens today (June 3).
Shane Stroughton, 29, died on 13 September 2017 – the first of five inmates at HMP Nottingham to die in the space of a month.
He had been jailed for assault aged 19 and given a, now abolished and widely discredited, Indeterminate Sentence for Public Protection (IPP).
This meant he could be held for as long as a parole board saw fit and his release was conditional on him proving he no longer poses a serious risk to society.
Shane was eventually released from prison on 13 June 2017, having served six years longer than his minimum tariff. This was his first release on licence.
His inquest will hear how on 30 June, he left his bail hostel after curfew and then handed himself into police the following day.
Officers revoked his licence and sent him back to HMP Nottingham.
When Shane was found in his cell on 13 September, he could not be resuscitated. He had a long history of depression and anxiety.
HMP Nottingham: A ‘Record Of Failure’
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The prison inspectorate reviewed HMP Nottingham in January 2018 and took the unprecedented step of issuing an ‘urgent notification‘ after having found it had a “fundamental and persistent lack of safety”.
“For too long prisoners have been held in a dangerous, disrespectful, drug-ridden jail,” wrote HM Chief Inspector of Prisons Peter Clarke.
“The record of failure, as set out in this report, cannot be allowed to continue.”
What Is The Status of IPP Prisoners?
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IPPs were introduced in 2005 and enabled judges to set a minimum term, but no maximum term, to be served.
IPPs were abolished in 2012 after it was realised that they were being used too extensively, with nearly seven percent of the prison population made up of IPPs at one point.
Despite abolition, nearly 2,500 prisoners sentenced under the law remain behind bars, unsure of when they will be released.
Speaking to RightsInfo last month, The Prison Reform Trust’s head of policy Mark Day said: “Parliament should finish the job it started, and legislate to give IPP prisoners a release date with a fixed period of supervision and support in the community.”
He added: “The government could improve arrangements for the timely release of IPP prisoners by giving the parole board the power to summon witnesses and compel evidence to limit the number of hearings being adjourned or deferred.
The Ministry of Justice has been contacted for comment.