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17 March, 2004

B&B at HMP

This (also here) is astonishing.

Over the past decade or so, a number of major miscarriages of justice have been re-examined, resulting in people being released from prison terms of 15 years or more.  Rather than offering apologies to the victims, the UK government sends limited financial compensation, offset against bills for food and lodging; about 3200 (nearly US$ 6,000) per year in prison.  Yes, that's the wrongly imprisoned having to pay the government, not vice versa.  Paddy Hill * was one of the 'Birmingham Six', spending 16 years in prison for the 1974 Birmingham IRA pub bombings. On being exonerated, he was sent a 50,000 (about US$ 91,000) bill by the Home Office.

The argument is that the innocent victims would have spent the money on food and accommodation anyway if they hadn't received them for free at the government's expense; the charge is described as 'saved living expenses'.

Even more astonishing is that this isn't a new proposal, it's established policy, which the Observer mentioned almost exactly a year ago.

*: That Sunday Herald article also mentions that though Hill received 960,000 in compensation, it took almost a decade to arrive. Interim payments totalling about 300,000 were provided - then reclaimed as if a loan, at 23% interest, costing Hill a further 70,000.

NP: Godspeed You Black Emperor!: Radio Sessions


Makes you feel sick to be English really. Our Justice system is totally screwed up.

Posted by Elsie at March 17, 2004 05:04 PM
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