Saturday, March 04, 2006



Hanson was released from prison three months before the murder Following his conviction for stabbing banker John Monckton to death, questions have been asked about the early release from prison and subsequent supervision of Damien Hanson.Hanson - as someone sentenced to four or more years in jail - was entitled to apply for release on parole - or licence - once half of his sentence had been served. The Parole Board is required to balance the risk of further offences being committed... against any benefits to the public and the offender of a longer period of resettlement in the community . In the case of Hanson, his first application to be released on parole - six years into his 12 year sentence - was refused. Under parole rules, Hanson was entitled to a review after a year.
At the second attempt, he was granted parole and was released on 27 August 2004 - three months before he murdered Mr Monckton. It emerged on Friday that Hanson had been let out of jail on licence despite an official assessment calculating that his chances of committing another violent offence were 91%.
Anything above 75% is considered high risk.
It has also emerged that, on his release, he was dealt with solely by the National Probation Service (NPS) rather than with the multi-agency approach usually used to monitor the most dangerous offenders. This was despite the fact that he has spent most of his life since the age of 14 in prison for a string of convictions including burglary, unlawful wounding, attempted burglary and attempted murder. And on Monday, it was revealed that Hanson's co-defendant Elliott White - a convicted drug dealer found guilty of the manslaughter of Mr Monckton and wounding his wife Homeyra Monckton - was also under the supervision of probation officers. He was out on bail at the time of the robbery ahead of a court appearance on heroin and cocaine charges for which he was subsequently sentenced to three years.

Early release killer given life

A teenager who stabbed a man to death hours after being freed early from detention for carrying a knife, has been given a life sentence. Brendan Reilly, 19, was told he would have to serve at least 15 years. He murdered David Wilson, 20, in their home town of Port Glasgow on the day he was released halfway through a four-month term. As he was sentenced Reilly, who claimed he had acted in self-defence, said: "Fifteen years, no bother." Reilly was told by the judge Lord Carloway: "From your demeanour during the trial I am not convinced you have any real feelings of remorse about taking the life of another human being.
"This was yet another senseless piece of violence committed by a young man who deliberately armed himself with a knife for use on the public streets. "It is clear to me you went looking for trouble with a group of youths." Lord Carloway said that because of the danger Reilly posed to the public, it would be up to the Parole Board to decide if he should ever be released.


Surely 10 years should mean 10 years. I would like to see prisoners serve their full sentence. If they behave inappropriately then their sentence should be extended. Shortened sentences for good behaviour are rewarding prisoners for behaving as they are expected to do - i.e. for nothing.
Andrew Chalkley, Fort William

For a long time I have been annoyed and angry at the length criminals serve of their sentences. An automatic early release makes no sense to me, why don't judges just say the minimum they have to serve (assuming good behaviour) in court? The worst case of confusing sentencing in law I think is the "Life" sentence, meaning of course 15 years. I consider this a misleading term that's nothing more than propaganda on the judiciaries part. These changes are not before time.
Derek, Arbroath

Prison doesn't seem to make the slightest difference to offenders anyway. Prisons are like five star hotels, cable TV, movies and even have a weekly shopping allowance. Where is the punishment in that? The "rehabilitation" scheme has done no good but allowed offenders to blag their way out of prison and back into society. Convicts in general have more rights than the citizens that our justice system should be protecting us by. If you commit the crime you do the time, no excuses.
Jo, UK

My son was killed in an unprovoked attack whilst having a quiet drink in a bar. After lying to the police, his killer pleaded guilty to manslaughter but only when presented with overwhelming evidence of his crime. The judge made an imprisonment for public protection order but the killer is eligible for parole in 1 year and 70 days. I think this is shameful and sentences for taking a life should reflect the severity of the crime. England should then follow Scotland's lead in rejecting the current automatic early release.
Maria McBride, Liverpool, Merseyside

It seems absurd to release anyone early where there is even a modest risk of the prisoner reoffending. Convicted criminals have the right to be convicted only if they are found guilty beyond all reasonable doubt; early release should not happen when there is reasonable suspicion they might re-offend.
Nic Oatridge, New York, USA

It is now time to reintroduce conscription, corporal punishment and where guilt beyond all reasonable doubt is proven capital punishment. This Labour government is far too soft an all aspects if punishment
Michael G. Marsden, Sowerby Bridge West Yorkshire

England has become a soft touch for criminals. Thanks to all the pathetic do-gooders in this country, criminals now have more rights than decent citizens. I say stop slapping their wrists, criminals are scum and should be punished as such. We did a better job at punishing criminals in the medieval period than we do now, at least then criminals were punished. Nowadays prisons are like holiday camps, they have TVs, gyms, and other luxuries. That's probably why so many reoffend. Get rid of their luxuries, bring back capital punishment, and start punishing them.
Rob Engvikson, Shropshire

Forget about rehabilitation. Prison is about retribution and punishment. So make it like that, then. So unpleasant, that no one would want to go back there.
Steve J, Reading

Prisoners should be given time-off for good behaviour (although not as much as 50% of their sentence). Where we go wrong is with concurrent terms. Prisoner's should serve a term for each offence, and the tariff should be increased, substantially, for each repeat offence (but with time-off for those who confess repeat offences). That would discourage repeat offences and ensure that repeat offenders were imprisoned for a time which reflected their repeated crimes.
Chris, UK

No comments: