WE ARE A MAGAZINE ABOUT LAW AND JUSTICE | AND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO
May 21 2024
WE ARE A MAGAZINE ABOUT LAW AND JUSTICE | AND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO
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After 12 years on an IPP for stealing a mobile phone, a father finally meets his son

After 12 years on an IPP for stealing a mobile phone, a father finally meets his son

After 12 years in prison on an indeterminate IPP sentence, a father has been reunited with his 14-year-old son. Thomas White received an IPP sentence with a two-year minimum tariff in 2012 for stealing a mobile phone, he has been languishing in prison ever since despite the discredited sentence being abolished four months after he was sentenced and repeatedly refused access to his son for more than a decade. An intervention from the architect of the the discredited sentence, Lord David Blunkett has now enabled White to meet his son, Kayden. You can read about Thomas White on the Justice Gap here.

The former home secretary Lord David Blunkett has repeatedly acknowledged the ‘disaster’ of IPPs (see here), most recently this week when he said it was his ‘biggest regret‘. According to recent government data, there are 2,796 IPPs in prison; 1,179 never released including 705 who, like White, are 10 or more years beyond the original sentence.

From Proof #6

Lord Blunkett met with Kayden and Clara, Thomas White’s sister in the House of Lords last month and promised his support to help make a reunion happen. That meeting has now happened. White had consistently been denied access with the prison citing concerns about White’s mental health. His family describes the sentence as ‘psychological torture’ and White has recently had his diagnosis shifted from schizophrenia to paranoid schizophrenia with an independent assessment finding that the indeterminate sentence was the likely cause of the condition.

‘Today is a day my family never thought would come. Thomas and Kayden have finally been allowed to see each other after all these years. There was not a dry eye in the room,’ White.s mother, Margaret said. ‘We are over the moon that Thomas and Kayden can start to build a normal father-son relationship, but our fight for justice has to continue. My son remains locked up in prison alongside nearly 3,000 other IPP prisoners who are being psychologically tortured by a sentence that was supposedly abolished 12 years ago. I feel like I’m watching a slow suicide and I pray that authorities can please help before it’s too late.’

White has served in 16 prisons across the country and is more than 10 years over his tariff. All his bids for parole have been denied.  According to the campaign, he is being held in prison in a ‘permanently sedated state’. UNGRIPP report at least 90 IPP prisoners have taken their own lives in prison to date, with the number feared much higher due to the complexities of measuring deaths in the community.

Thomas’ family are calling for his transfer to a psychiatric hospital where he can access appropriate mental health treatment. They are supported by Lord Blunkett and James Daly MP for Bury North. Two hospitals in the Greater Manchester area have rejected a bed for Thomas in the last 6 months despite his worsening mental health.


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