Free David Ferguson

Help to right a grave miscarriage of justice....

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Blog entry 26th March 2020

It's been a couple of months since my last blog. Quite simply this is because there has been little to update on.

The CCRC have insisted that my appeal submission is submitted to the court of appeal first of all. After several months waiting I have now received the application papers from the Court of Appeal. I am now in the process of filling them out and putting together the accompanying evidence file.

I still haven't been given a date for my oral parole hearing. It should have been held in December 2019, and is now 4 months late. This isn't the Parole Boards fault either. They've tried setting hearing dates several times. Each time the prison has declared the proposed date as 'unsuitable' for them. Now with the COVID-19 pandemic I have no idea when I can hope to receive my oral hearing.

As with other prisons across the country HMP Wakefield is on COVID-19 "lock-down". As my workmate and I run our wing laundry we are out and working every day. Considering the staffing pressures that the prison is under currently it is doing an incredible job in giving prisoners here access to as many facilities as normal each day. However, the jobs of laundry staff during this crisis would have been far easier had successive Governments invested properly in prisons and modernised, instead of slashing budgets, staffing numbers and overcrowding cells. If, as has been advised by numerous independent watch bodies, every cell was single occupation with:

The likelihood of a mass COVID-19 tsunami in the prison system would have been all but eradicated.

Dormitory and cells with multi-occupancy now mean that if one occupant is diagnosed with COVID-19 it is almost certain that all occupants in that prison cell/dormitory will be infected. This in turn increases the likelihood that more prisoners and more staff will be infected. All because Government after Government has failed to invest in and modernize the prison infrastructure. This may well now come back to haunt the British political infrastructure. In the meantime I hope our politicians and public recognize the efforts that uniformed and civilian prison service staff, including NHS staff are putting in within our prisons. When this crisis is over our Government must take steps top address prison over-crowding, prison infrastructure under-funding and the failure to modernize in-cell facilities. Whilst controversial to the public and media these factors are key to solving every crisis currently faced by the prison system.