The plight of James Ward shows the injustice of a bungled scheme. Seven years after its abolition 3,000 remain behind bars with no release date in sight
In 1997, when Labour came to power, I was in jail, part way through a seven-year sentence. Back then, I had no thoughts of becoming a journalist, but I had more than a little interest in penal reform, so rejoiced when Blair led his party to a landslide victory.
While in opposition, Labour had talked a good fight on putting the prison system to rights. In 1993, when Blair was shadow home secretary, he said: “The purpose of any system of justice should not just be to punish and deter, but also to rehabilitate, for the good of society as well as the criminal. Which is why there are practical reasons, as well as those connected with civil liberties, for reforming our monstrous prison regime.”
As could – and should – have been forecast, the judiciary went beyond the stated remit of IPPs