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Prisoners’ Rights

Our Civil Liberties team are experienced in helping prisoners to resolve a wide variety of legal issues. We understand how difficult it can be for prisoners to access advice to enforce their legal rights whilst in prison. With our expert intervention, we can help ensure that issues are resolved quickly and effectively. If more robust action is needed, we will not hesitate to pursue legal action through the courts. We always aim to pursue the most appropriate and effective approach, including:

  • bringing compensation claims on behalf of prisoners, including under the Human Rights Act 1998.
  • proactively challenging unlawful prison policies and decisions through Judicial Review; or
  • assisting prisoners to make formal complaints to the Prison and Probation Ombudsman;

We have brought a number of successful civil claims for compensation on behalf of prisoners who have been mistreated or injured in prison. Compensation has also been secured for prisoners kept in custody for longer than they should have been, or those wrongly recalled when on licence. Examples include:

  • Successfully claiming that the Department for Work & Pensions had breached our client’s right to liberty, after they insisted that her (genuine) passport was fraudulent, resulting in her spending two months in prison – this included recovering compensation;
  • Suing the London Probation Trust for providing information to the prison that our client had breached his license conditions by travelling abroad, resulting in him being wrongly recalled to custody and detained for several days. The Trust had in fact given him permission to travel, but failed to record this;
  • Suing the Ministry of Justice for damages for failing to protect our client from a serious assault by another prisoner, after his co-defendant offered a reward to anyone who would assault our client and our client reported this. The co-defendant did not want him to give evidence against him in a criminal case and had threatened him repeatedly.

Our team has particular expertise in assisting prisoners who have been discriminated against in prison. For example we have challenged prison policies and practices which disadvantage disabled prisoners, securing significant changes which have benefited not only our clients, but others in the same establishment. We recently brought a case against the Ministry of Justice after a client (a homosexual prisoner) reported that prison officers had subjected him to homophobic abuse. He claimed that the prison had failed to protect him from homophobic bullying and threats from other inmates, culminating in a serious assault.

For more information on our work in the field of discrimination, please visit our Equality and Discrimination page.

Hodge Jones & Allen is also renowned for its expertise in representing families in Inquests involving deaths in prison custody.

Regrettably, recent cuts to Legal Aid have limited our ability to take on cases on behalf of prisoners. This is a significant challenge to our work in this area and we will do our best to explore all funding options with prospective clients.

Our prisoners rights specialists are part of our London based immigration detention team. We have almost four decades of experience helping clients from around the UK with a wide variety of legal matters. For expert legal advice use our contact form or call us on 0808 250 6017 today.