Man Asks To Go Back To Prison After Being Forced To Live With Sex Offenders
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An ex-convict asked to go back to prison after being forced to live with sex offenders on release, saying he was handing himself in ‘for absolutely nothing’ as he simply had to ‘go back to jail'.
Lee Armstrong spent 18 years inside after being convicted of robbery when he stole a mobile phone from someone in a pub at the age of 23 – a final strike after committing multiple similar offences when he was younger.
But after just five weeks of freedom, Armstrong decided he wanted to go back to prison, saying on Wednesday (6 April) as he entered Clough Road Police Station in Hull: “I’m at the police station handing myself in for absolutely nothing.
“I have been housed with n****s [sex offenders]. Gotta go back to jail. I had got my life sorted out, I’ve got a good family. I’m doing well but it is still not good enough. It’s an absolute joke.”
Armstrong, 41, has not committed an offence, but believed he had no choice but to breach his license.
He had been the subject of an Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) sentence, a scheme that was introduced in 2005 but has since been scrapped.
It was designed to protect the public from serious offenders whose crimes did not merit a life sentence.
Offenders sentenced to an IPP are given a minimum term that must be spent in prison, after which they can apply to the Parole Board for release. If they are given parole, they will be placed on a supervised license for at least 10 years, or if they are refused parole they can apply again after one year.
But Armstong was housed at a Psychologically Informed Planned Environment (PIPE) Pipeline Hostel in York, which provides accommodation for lifers on their release.
As he has been living among sex offenders, he believes prison is a better choice.
Armstrong’s mum, Kay, has long campaigned for better treatment of those who have been the subject of IPPs, saying she believes they have fallen through the cracks of the justice system.
Speaking to Hull Live, she explained: “Nearly 18 years ago Lee got into some bother in a pub and snatched a mobile phone off someone and that was classed as robbery.
“He had got into trouble as a teenager including robbing someone of their bike so this was his third strike.
“He was jailed under the Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) scheme with a recommendation of three years in prison. This system was supposed to be used for horrific paedophiles and murderers, the really bad criminals, but judges started dishing them out for the three strikes rule which meant those with low level offences like Lee ended up under the scheme.
“I thought he would be out after a year and a half but here we are 18 years later. I’ll admit Lee should not have done what he did and he was wrong but this was a cruel, cruel sentence.”
The Probation Service said Armstong agreed to the placement at the PIPE premises, which it claims was the best option for him to integrate back into the community.
It confirmed that PIPE hostels do, indeed, house sex offenders as well as violent criminals. It also confirmed that Armstrong has now breached his license.
A spokesperson said: “This individual asked to be placed at this approved premises during his parole application because he agreed the specialist support they provided would help turn his back on crime.
“Despite our efforts to help him he has breached his licence conditions and been recalled to prison as a result.”
The Parole Board confirmed Lee had been released and explained how the system works, with a spokesperson saying: “We can confirm that a panel of the Parole Board has directed the release of Lee Armstrong in December following an oral hearing. Parole Board decisions are solely focused on what risk a prisoner could represent to the public if released and whether that risk is manageable in the community.
“Evidence from witnesses including probation officers, psychiatrists and psychologists, officials supervising the offender in prison as well as victim personal statements are then given at the hearing.
“The prisoner and witnesses are then questioned at length during the hearing which often lasts a full day or more. Parole reviews are undertaken thoroughly and with extreme care. Protecting the public is our number one priority.”
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Topics: UK News