Appealing a charge when in prison

After a prisoner is found guilty

When a prisoner is charged with a further offence that has occurred whilst the prisoner was serving his prison sentence, he will either have the offence heard in prison, or an independent adjudicator will decided on the charge.

If that prisoner is then found guilty of the further offence, and is not satisfied with any part of the process or the outcome, that prisoner has the right to appeal the decision.

How to appeal a guilty verdict

The prisoner will start the appeal by submitting the form DIS8 form within six weeks of the end of the hearing. This form must be submitted to an internal adjudicator.

When the prison receives this form, they must forward this application to the Briefing and Casework Unit.

When the unit receives the application, they will go through all the relevant documents and consider the request for a review of the decision and will make recommendations on what should happen.

These recommendations will be passed on to the:

  • Deputy Director of Custody (DDC), or
  • Director of High Security (DHS)

This person will then decide the appeal.

Once a decision has been made, the Briefing and Casework unit will write to the prisoner and the Governor of the relevant prison informing both of the outcomes of the appeal.

If the prisoner does not want to fill out the DIS8 themselves, or would prefer a legal representative to complete the appeal process on his behalf, then they may consult a solicitor who will usually write directly to the Briefing and Casework Unit appealing on behalf of the prisoner.

Decision of the reviewer

There are three possible outcomes when a prisoner appeals an offence convicted of whilst serving their current prison sentence, these include:

  • To uphold the adjudicators decision from the initial hearing.
  • To reduce the punishment initially imposed by the adjudicator ( this may be reducing the length of time or the severity or the punishment).
  • To quash the conviction of guilty and the accompanying punishment (the prisoner would no longer be convicted of the additional offence and will serve no extra punishment for that charge).

Reviewing a decision : The punishment

Prisoners who wish for a decision by an independent adjudicator in relation to the punishment of a conviction to be reviewed will need to set out reasons for this in a form IA4.

This process would only effect the punishment received by an adjudicator, and any conviction passed by an adjudicator would still stand.

Punishment may be quashed or changed, but the prisoner will still be convicted of the relevant offence.

The review process

The completed IA4 must be sent to the prison Governor within 14 days of the end of the hearing.

The prison Governor will forward the documents to the Senior District Judge who will delegate all the review application they receive to the Nominated District Judges.

The Nominated District judge will then consider the review and write to the prisoner and the Governor explaining his decision within 14 days of receiving the request.

Final route to appeal

Following an unsuccessful appeal or review, a prisoner will have two final options to appeal a conviction received while in prison:

A complaint to the Prison and Probation Ombudsman within three months of the original conviction. The Ombudsman will make recommendations to the prison; however, these will not be binding of the prison but are usually accepted and enforced.

Apply for a judicial review if the decision if some aspect of the decision was unlawful. This option is only available in limited circumstances and legal advice should be obtained prior to embarking on this route.