Free David Ferguson

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Blog entry 30th October 2020

Two weeks ago my former solicitor sent me the last of the document evidence requested by he Court of Appeal. The CoA now has that and everything will now be reviewed by my case administrator there. Once this review is completed she will ask the prosecution for their response to her findings. Then a decision will be made whether or not to refer my appeal application to a single CoA judge. I have been told that this will take around 6 to 8 weeks before a decision is finalised.

I have had a new parole panel hearing date of January 26th 2021 set. Unfortunately my parole solicitor already has parole hearings scheduled for that date, so he has no choice other than to request that an alternative date be set. With the country slipping further back into Covid restrictions this may well have been a good thing. The prisons' video link facilities are not the best, so a hearing of this sort could be disrupted due to technological issues. I strongly feel that a parole hearing needs to be face-to-face.

In the past couple of weeks HMP Wakefield has been beset by a small number of positive Covid tests amongst prisoners on one wing. Also a number of staff are isolating. Despite these difficulties our No. 1 Governor and deputy are doing all that is possible to maintain a consistent and fluid a regime as is possible. Considering the logistics currently involved this is no easy task. I just hope that those at the Ministry of Justice recognize the efforts being made by the prison's No. 1 and deputy governors and provide them with better support to maintain and upgrade facilities in the prison.

For over a decade HMP Wakefield has received considerably reduced budgets compared to every other prison in the long term high security (Cat-A) group of prisons. In fact, HMP Wakefield has received between £13,000 up to £36,000 less, per prisoner per year than any of the other prisons in this security group. Consequently HMP Wakefield faces a number of additional issues due to inadequate facilities and service deliveries. More so now than ever. Why funding (budget) per prisoner per year is not of a parity no matter which prison you are held at in the long term high security estate group is a question that the Ministry of Justice and the prisons minister should have to answer and justify.