Day to Day Updates from FASO HQ

Here you can view, read, and hear all our updates, latest news, and more.

Deep Crisis’ in British Prisons as Use of Force Against Inmates Doubles

Posted 06/01/2021 by FASO

The use of force against inmates has doubled over the past decade, amid continuing concern over high levels of violence and disorder in prisons. A loss of experienced prison staff, overcrowding and a subsequent growth in violence against both prisoners and staff has been blamed for force being used 49,111 times in England and Wales in the 12 months before the Covid pandemic began. According to data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, force was used 59.1 times per 100 inmates in the year from April 2019. The last such figures, published in 2011-12, showed force used about 27 times per 100 prisoners.

Experts said the findings reflected the disorder inside a UK prison system described as in “deep crisis” last year by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture, part of the Council of Europe. It said the jails it visited were “violent, unsafe and overcrowded”. Nick Davies of the Institute for Government thinktank said the use of force was further evidence of drastically declining standards: “Deep cuts to prison funding and staff numbers in the first half of the last decade were followed by big increases in incidents of assault, self-harm and poor prisoner behaviour, and reduced opportunities for rehabilitation. “Funding injections in recent years have stabilised the system but there is a long way to go to return prisons to where they were. The government’s criminal justice reforms could see the prison population reaching record levels, and it’s unclear whether planned new prisons will be ready in time to safely house additional inmates.”

Read more: Michael Savage, Guardian, 

Funding request

Posted 17/05/2021 by FASO

Due to FASO voluntary organisation not receiving funding, just small individual donations, we are looking for an entrepreneur to fund a free helpline for 5 years, to benefit those that need our services.

To the Editor of the the Daily Mail

Posted 25/02/2021 by Margaret

Dear Editor

Rape victims could be given lawyers to protect them in court Daily Mail, p19, Feb 24th 2021.

Let’s cut to the chase – to save tax payers money on both lawyers and court – The rape accuser – alleges, passes go and collects money, the accused go direct to jail without a trial – the current justice system is now called the Injustice system, and the Victims Minister will be happy and out of a job.

Is there something wrong with this system? Don’t all shout at once.

Margaret Gardener

CEO of the False Allegations Support Organisation

Legal Aid – inequality of Arms

Posted 11/02/2021 by FASO

Having been through all the elements of this system, using legal aid – I can vouch for these comments

Although only the bereaved families are spoken of, it also applies to the rest of the system for all the families/individuals who need as they say ‘equality of arms’



Running on Empty: Civil Legal Aid System

A newly published report “Running on Empty” from the Bar Council, which represents all barristers in England and Wales, reveals the severity of problems in the civil legal aid system. The report, which is based on a series of interviews with barristers and clerks, finds that the role of a barrister, in a climate of underfunding of public services, has been forced to stand in for roles that should have been done by other public services. One participant who works on inquests described the role as “you are half social worker, half handler, part counsellor and then advocate.”
Civil legal aid barristers, as outlined in the report, can feel underappreciated, but to feel attacked by government, as they recently have, is a new and worrying development.

Read More:

Short link to item: 

Child Protection System in England

Posted 11/02/2021 by FASO

It is many years since there has been a request to complete written evidence on child protection issues.

So to balance our information on support that has not changed in the intervening years.

FASO still support families on both our helpline and in e-mails.

This is another area whose FASO helpline and emails are open to support families.

FASO Statement Written Nov 2011 the same issues applies to all 4 countries ad FASO support all.

Education Committee – Children first: the child protection system in England

Written evidence submitted by False Allegations Support Organisation

Shrinking the Space for Human Rights – A Look Back on 2020

Posted 06/01/2021 by FASO

A raft of new laws, Home Office measures and government proposals attempt to restrict the legal accountability of state actors, including ministers, while removing legal protections from those who need them most. In this IRR News long read, Frances Webber examines the various threats to human rights over the last year. In the year since Boris Johnson’s Conservatives won the election with an impregnable majority, the man described by the media as a ‘libertarian by instinct’ has, under cover of the pandemic, pushed through the most authoritarian, draconian emergency powers seen in peacetime.

Meanwhile, his home secretary has overseen an immigration policy which threatens to breach the Refugee Convention as well as international obligations on rights to dignity and health and the rights and welfare of children, drawing the wrath of several senior officials, who have resigned, and the condemnation of official monitors and the courts. The government’s legislative programme has included Bills which break international law – not only the EU Withdrawal Bill but one which authorises informants and spies to commit any crime with complete impunity, and another which time-bars prosecution for murder and torture by British forces abroad.

At the same time as creating impunity for law-breaking by informants and soldiers, the government is seeking to develop its own impunity. The possibility of leaving the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and replacing the Convention (ECHR) by a British Bill of Rights is being mooted again, and moves are afoot to limit courts’ powers to hold ministers to account, through restrictions on judicial review and curtailing the powers of the Supreme Court. Critical reports from parliamentary committees, government-appointed inquiries and reviews, and even court judgments, have been ignored. And even investigative journalists have been blocked by a secretive Cabinet Office unit.

Read more: Francis Webber, Insitute of Race Relation, 

Minority Ethnic Prisoners’ Experiences of Rehabilitation and Release Planning

Posted 06/01/2021 by FASO

Black and minority ethnic (BME) groups are greatly overrepresented in the prison population: as of March 2020, 27% of prisoners were from a BME background, compared with only 13% of the general population. People who identify as ‘black’ are imprisoned at an even more disproportionate rate: they comprise only 3% of the general population but 13% of adult prisoners (UK Prison Population Statistics, 2020).

HM Inspectorate of Prisons (HMI Prisons) inspection reports consistently show that BME prisoners report worse experiences and outcomes than white prisoners across a wide range of indicators covering most areas of prison life. The Lammy Review (published in 2017 and subtitled ‘An independent review into the treatment of, and outcomes for, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic individuals in the Criminal Justice System’) drew extensively on HMI Prisons’ evidence and other sources to highlight under-identification of BME prisoners’ vulnerabilities, widespread feelings among BME prisoners of being treated less well than white prisoners and shortcomings in important systems of redress and internal assurance. People from a BME background have less trust in the criminal justice system than white people and worse perceptions of the system’s fairness, whether or not they have had any significant involvement in it (Lammy, 2017). The reasons for these perceptions are complex and under-researched, and result not just from criminal justice processes, but also from long-term patterns of social inequality and prejudice (Bhui, 2009).

Read the full report: 

New Guidelines on Disclosure and Criminal Procedure Investigations (as of 31st Dec 2020)

Posted 24/12/2020 by Margaret

Failure to disclose material promptly has led to the collapse of a number of trials and has impacted on the public’s confidence in the administration of the criminal justice system. The disclosure of unused material in criminal cases remains a crucial part of ensuring a fair trial takes place and is essential in avoiding miscarriages of justice. It is a priority for this Government to continue to encourage improvements in the disclosure process and to achieve permanent change. It is essential that we ensure there are fair trials for all and that we increase confidence in the criminal justice system.

Proposed Changes: In November 2018, the Government published a Review of the Efficiency and Effectiveness of Disclosure in the Criminal Justice System, which made a set of recommendations to improve disclosure performance and to address the key challenges of modern disclosure practice. The Review recommended that the Attorney General’s Guidelines on Disclosure required an update in order to truly reflect the challenges of today’s disclosure regime.

The Guidelines provide a set of high-level principles on the disclosure of unused material in criminal cases, aimed at assisting investigators, prosecutors and defence practitioners in England and Wales apply the disclosure regime contained in the CPIA Code of Practice.

The changes seek to provide a better representation of the challenges the modern-day investigator, prosecutor and defence practitioner faces. The updated Guidelines address the need for culture change, earlier performance of disclosure obligations, the use of technology and balancing the right to privacy with the right to a fair trial.

This is an opportunity to take a crucial step in the disclosure process, both to deal with issues that have been a long-standing concern and to provide practitioners with the tools they need to handle their disclosure obligations effectively.

Following the successful Parliamentary passage of the Statutory Instrument in relation to the Code of Practice, I can now confirm that both the Guidelines and the Code will be effective from 31st December 2020. The Lord Chancellor and I thank all of those who have engaged with us during the process and we are grateful for the role that they have played in recognising the complex challenges that affect the proper performance of the duty of disclosure.”

These Guidlines will be legally effective from 31st December 2020

Suella Braverman, Attorney General, Government Statement, 17th December 2020

Hansard, Thursday 17th December 2020, 

Download the full Guidence: 

Suella Braverman, Attorney General

Margaret FASO CEO