Crime and Punishment viewers 'don't have much faith' in inmates

Man whose spent 18 of the last 20 years in prison for crimes including biting his mother’s face admits he ‘doesn’t know how to cope’ without ‘everything being done for you’ on Crime and Punishment

  • Jonathan, 37, from Hampshire, has served 19 prison sentences for 44 offences 
  • Appeared on Channel 4’s Crime and Punishment as he was released from jail
  • Had been an alcoholic since he was 14-years-old and became violent when drunk
  • Said he ‘didn’t know how to cope out of prison’ where ‘everything is done for you’
  • Viewers of Channel 4’s Crime and Punishment were left stunned by programme

A man who has spent 18 of the last 20 years in prison for crimes including biting his mother’s face admitted he ‘doesn’t know how to cope’ without ‘everything being done for you’ on Channel 4’s Crime and Punishment last night. 

Cameras followed Jonathan, 37, from Hampshire, a violent offender who admitted he had been an alcoholic since the age of 14 and had rarely lived outside of the system. 

Upon being released into the community, he said he had ‘never had a normal life’, explaining: ‘I’m so used to being here, where everything is done for you, when you get out it’s like…how do you cope?’ 

Many of those watching were left stunned and said they had little faith that he wouldn’t end up back in prison, with one writing: ‘Listening to Crime and Punishment and thinking. Well, no wonder many reoffend.

Viewers of Channel 4’s Back to Jail: Crime and Punishment were left stunned last night  Jonathan, 37, from Hampshire, confessed he ‘didn’t know how to cope outside of prison’ where ‘everything is done for you’

‘And if its about money, then out the right psychological framework in place and treat people like human beings and not stats, you might save money and more importantly, people.’ 

Jonathan had a history of violence and assault towards female family members.

He had served 19 prison sentences and was inside for breaching a restraining order. As a persistent re-offender, he was monitored by the probation service.

Steve Turner, police offender manager, said: ‘Unfortunately, he is one of those habitual people who will keep getting into trouble and keep going into prison. It’s our job to keep him in the community for as long as possible.

Prior to his release, Steve notified Jonathan’s mother that he would be back in the community because he had a history of violently attacking her 

‘Sober, he’s a nice guy, but  with alcohol in him, he can be horrible. He’s violent, horrible – I’ve never seen a change in anyone really like him.’

Because of his history of violent offender, the risks around his release were organised by MAPPA, Multi-agency public protection arrangements.

The team consists of police and probation officers, with support workers, who manage those who present an extreme risk to society.

Staff member Michelle Pilkington explained: ‘He’s had an extremely traumatic upbringing. He had alcohol issues from a very early age, he was found drunk at school. 

As he was being released, Jonathan told the camera he had spent just two years out of the last 20 out of prison 

‘He’s been seriously using alcohol from the age of 10 or 11. When he went into custody, he went cold turkey from drugs and alcohol.’

The team outlined the risk to future partners, officers and his mother – who Jonathan had attacked on several occasions, including biting her in the face.   

Meanwhile Jonathan confessed: ‘I didn’t have a normal life, didn’t have normal parents. I was a full blown alcohol at 14 years-old. The only way I know how to deal with things is break something.’

By the end of the programme, Jonathan had returned to prison after he failed to engage with the conditions of his release 

Prior to his release, Steve notified Jonathan’s mother that he would be back in the community. 

Violent inmates are MORE likely to reoffend after going through ‘rehabilitation’ programmes, reveals shock study kept secret by ministers for three years 

Britain’s most dangerous prisoners are more likely to reoffend when they leave jail if they are put on a high-profile rehabilitation programme, the Daily Mail can reveal.

A bombshell study reveals that offenders who went through the programme posed a greater risk than those who had not – and they went on to commit more crimes after their sentences ended.

Yet the Ministry of Justice, which commissioned the study, has still not published the report – nearly three years after it was finished.

And despite the findings, ministers have continued to use the programme with thousands of inmates. 

Offenders put on the Offender Personality Disorder (OPD) Pathway include killers and rapists.

The official criteria for admission says entrants must have been convicted of a serious violent or sexual offence, and ‘assessed as presenting a high likelihood of violent offence repetition and high or very high risk of serious harm to others’.

They will also have been diagnosed with ‘a severe form or personality disorder’ linked to their offending, such as psychopathy.

The OPD pathway budget in 2016, the last year for which figures are available, was £64 million. That year, there were 16,000 inmates undertaking it.

Violent crime by previously convicted offenders has been rising steadily. Repeat offenders still on probation murdered 155 people in England and Wales in 2019 – almost a quarter of the 623 total, and more than double the figure of 74 in 2015.

The ministry spent almost £1 million on the OPD study, which was completed in 2018. It was led by Paul Moran, professor of psychiatry at Bristol University.

He explained: ‘Part of his main offences is against his mum and it’s part of a violent attack. He bit her nose and face, it was a nasty assault.’

He later told her that the conditions Jonathan was being released on meant he was not able to contact her, indirectly or directly.  

Steve told Jonathan’s mother not to let him into the flat, and posted messages through her neighbour’s doors to tell them to phone the police if they hear a disturbance.

He said that if Jonathan took drugs and drank again ‘anyone’s life is in danger – not just his mothers.’

As he was being released, Jonathan tried to maintain a positive attitude, saying: ‘I want to feel positive [about the future] but in the back of my head, I know it’s going to be hard.’

He had to stay at an approved probation hostel for the first phase of his release, where staff monitored his drinking using a breathiliser.  

The 37-year-old had to comply with several conditions or risk being recalled to prison. To help him succeed, he was receiving support to control his drinking. 

Jonathan said he wanted to go completely sober, adding: ‘Obviously I don’t want to go back to jail, I want to get my life back to normal as quickly as possible.

‘My answer is not to drink. As long as I don’t drink, the rest is easy. But it’s everywhere. And I’m in a hostel full of it.’ 

Days later, it emerged Jonathan was not engaging with the medical and specialist support on offer from the probation team. 

It came to light he had failed an alcohol test less than a week after being released from prison.  

Steve told him: ‘We know you’re capable of working, we know you can hold down a job without drinking. 

‘It’s purely when the alcohol is in you, you’ll admit it yourself, you’re a different animal.’

Less than three weeks after he was released, Jonathan fled the area after he failed another alcohol test at the hostel.

While Michelle phoned him to beg him to ‘hand himself in’, Steve said: ‘I think what’s gone through his head is, he’s blown it, he was going to go back to prison. 

‘But I think in his head, he thought he could flee and evade police for as long as he can. It’s just alcohol.’ 

Thirty-six hours later, he was found at his mother’s address and he was placed back inside for nine months.

Michelle said: ‘For Jonathan, the problems are so engrained, it would take something significant to make the changes he needs.

‘The support you put in place, you realise he’s going to struggle to re-engage wholeheartedly. And that perhaps he’s still not ready.’ 

Many of those watching were left stunned by the measures put in place for prisoners, with many saying they ‘didn’t have much faith’ in the men not to recommit 

Many of those watching the programme were left stunned, with one commenting: ‘If someone is a prolific violent offender, and poses a threat to others on release, why are they ever released?’

Another added: ‘How can a prolific offender be released to homelessness and unemployment be expected to stay clean and not reoffend. Unbelievable.’

A third wrote: ‘Not much faith in the chaps currently but good luck to them. Rehabilitation is an important part of the justice system.’

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