AS THE CORONAVIRUS QUICKLY SPREADS THROUGH BRITAIN’S JAILS THE UK GOVERNMENT HAS ASKED THE PRISON SERVICE TO DRAW UP PLANS TO RELEASE OLD AND INFIRM INMATES THEY BELIEVE POSE NO THREAT TO SOCIETY
The UK government has announced that it intends to ease pressure on prisons by increasing the number of prisoners released on home detention curfew with a tag, this comes as figures show that at least 10 per cent of prison staff are at home on leave and self-isolating.
To protect staff and inmates facing the spread of the virus, older and infirm people who pose no threat must be set free, a similar scheme in Iran saw the early release of around 70,000 from state prisons all around the country.
The UK government has already announced that it intends to ease pressure on prisons by increasing the number of prisoners released on home detention curfew with a tag. The problem is thieves are offering to do shopping for elderly people confined to their homes because of coronavirus and then keeping the money, police have warned. In the latest scam related to the deadly pandemic, people are posing as good Samaritans to prey on the vulnerable.
But the PAS is calling for those inmates who are old or infirm; or have long passed their tariffs – if they are serving a wretched imprisonment for public protection (IPP) sentence; or simply do not pose a threat, to be released immediately.
These include the more than 1,700 prisoners, mostly men, aged 70 and over – some of whom are 80 or older, with a growing number in their 90s.
How a group of elderly men carried out the biggest diamond heist in British history…
Read on and see if you think releasing thousands of ‘old and infirm’ prisoners is a good idea. Here is the story of the masterminds behind the ‘largest burglary in English legal history.’ The group of men, aged between 47 to 76, were found guilty of stealing some £14 million (€15.3 million) in jewels, gold, and cash.
Police and security were shocked at the scene of a supposedly secure underground vault in London. At the storage site in Hatton Garden, the centre of London’s jewellery trade, the vault was covered in dust and debris. Amid scattered safety deposit boxes and power tools (they bored a hole through the vault’s wall), there was little forensic evidence to identify the ‘brazen burglars’ who cleaned out the joint.
The heist captured Britain’s imagination: the ingenuity of the plan, the age of the burglars, and the reason for their eventual downfall shocked and amused the country in equal measures.
- The alleged ringleader, 76-year-old Brian Reader (nicknamed ‘The Master’) used his senior citizen’s bus pass, which gave him free travel, to get to the crime scene.
- The heist was three years in the making. The gang apparently hatched the plan in a pub in North London.
- The gang disguised themselves as workmen. A man known only as ‘Basil’ let them into the building via a fire escape. Then, they climbed down a lift shaft and spent the next two nights breaking into the vault.
- The loot was loaded into a getaway van and stashed in various hideaways, including a casserole dish and a cemetery.
- While the gang removed closed-circuit cameras from inside the building, they failed to account for video in the street. Police were able to trace the car of one of the burglars – 75-year-old John ‘Kenny’ Collins, who reportedly frustrated other gang members for falling asleep during his lookout.
- Police then set up a massive surveillance programme, tracking the suspects closely. Remember the pub they hatched the plan in? Police recorded them there admitting to, and bragging about, the raid.
- Police found a copy of Forensics for Dummies at the house of one of the gang members.
The police were able to recover some of the stolen loot, but two-thirds of it remains hidden. Most of the gang pleaded guilty to their charges, and the only one who didn’t was found guilty by a jury.
They were “analogue criminals operating in a digital world,” according to a former investigator. The heist is “probably the last of its type.”
Prisoners released in Iran to be brought back to jail.
“So far, some 85,000 prisoners have been released,” judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili said on Tuesday. “Also in the jails, we have taken precautionary measures to confront the outbreak.”
Many of the prisoners who were released most recently, “are likely to be protesters who were arrested during anti-government demonstrations in November”, adding that all prisoners are expected to be taken back into custody on April 3.