Update on Taylor

Taylor’s directions hearing took place on the 5th of May. The following is a summary of what happened and the injustice Taylor continues to suffer.

Despite being abolished in 2012, IPP (imprisonment for public protection) sentences were not retroactively banned, meaning thousands of people inside are still suffering the consequences, including Taylor. IPP prevents one from having a set release date, which means time inside is likely to increase immensely, due to bureaucratic delays and un-realistic rules and expectations. Due to IPP in Taylor’s case, he’s been locked up triple the amount of time he was initially sentenced for.

IPPs are meant to have hearings every two years but this was Taylor’s first hearing in over three years: even by their own unbearably cruel standards they are failing.

He was told he could sit another hearing in January 2021, where release will be on the cards. Another Christmas is going to go by without Taylor being able to experience it.

Release will be dependent on Taylor jumping through many unrealistic hoops, which don’t take into account pre-existing and continual trauma from being in prison. These were outlined at the directions hearing.

Everyone facing an IPP sentence will have inside and outside probation officers involved in what is called their “progression”. These officers are supposed to create a “care” plan to establish a network of mental health support that Taylor will need to follow after his release in the community. The development of the “care” plan is supposed to be a step in getting ready for his release. Taylor is supposed to have input into this plan. But how can we trust these people to meaningfully involve him and consider his complex needs with this plan when they’ve kept him in a cage for going on 12 years? When they talked about him as if wasn’t even there at his hearing? When prison after prison have looked on whilst he’s been abused and neglected? What mental health care provision is left after over a decade of austerity? We are worried this so-called care plan will be used coercively by probation to get him recalled, rapidly, should he be released in January 2021.

In addition, to be released, Taylor must: complete five more months of the Nexus program (for “emotional regulation”,) reduce his methadone and.... not self harm. Mental health, drug dependency and trauma should not be legitimate reasons to deny someone their freedom. Especially after they have already served their sentence.

How can the parole board sleep at night, knowing these coercive and cruel demands they have made?

This process has been traumatic for Taylor and he's still a bit devastated. He’s just taking things minute by minute, but he really is determined to get out.

We will be continuing to support and fight alongside Taylor, until he is free and in a safe home with his queer family who love him.