Prisoner held indefinitely refused parole after making landmark public bid for freedom

Nicholas Bidar was the first IPP prisoner to have his parole hearing held in public (supplied)

A parole board has refused to release a prisoner held under an abolished indefinite prison sentence described as ‘torture’.

Earlier this month, Nicholas Bidar became the first IPP prisoner to have his parole made public after new laws came into effect to increase transparency around parole decisions.

Controversial public protection prison sentences (IPP) were scrapped in 2012 due to human rights concerns, but not for those already convicted, leaving thousands of years to languish in prison after their original sentence.

The 36-year-old was given an indefinite prison sentence, with a minimum of eight years, in 2008 at the age of 20 for a series of robberies and using a gun to resist arrest.

But more than fifteen years later, he is still held in a high-security category A prison, with no release date.

He told the three-member parole board panel: “I’m not that person anymore” as he made a public bid for freedom, but they today announced they were not convinced his release would be safe for the protection of the public.

The panel also declined to recommend Mr Bidar for transfer to open conditions, but recommended urgent steps be taken to help him downgrade from a high-risk category A prisoner.

In a written decision, the board noted that “Mr Bidar’s Category A status now hinders his potential to create and sustain longer-term change” and called for “immediate action” – including although the parole board is not. responsible for categorization decisions.

They also urged the minister to allow another parole review in a year’s time.

Before the historic hearing, Mr. Bidar said The independent how the reality of his uncertain sentence has affected him, adding: “Every day feels like torture. I struggle every day to get through the day.”

At the prison hearing in March, Mr Bidar, who was also convicted of further abuse committed in prison and a period during which he escaped custody, said he does not recognize the version of himself that committed these crimes.

He told the panel of three members of the Parole Board at HMP Long Lartin: “I look back on it now as if I didn’t agree. It sounds crazy, yeah, it’s like I’m in prison now for someone else’s crimes because that person isn’t me.

He told board members: “I apologize for what I did. I recognize everything I’ve done. I’m not a fool. I’m not going to go out and commit some crazy violent offense – that’s not in me.

“I just want to go home. I just want to go home. My mother is getting older. I will follow all the rules. I am not going to commit any offense. You can put any label on me.”

Prisoner Stuck in Jail Makes Groundbreaking Parole Offer: 'It's Torture' (Getty)Prisoner Stuck in Jail Makes Groundbreaking Parole Offer: 'It's Torture' (Getty)

Prisoner Stuck in Jail Makes Groundbreaking Parole Offer: ‘It’s Torture’ (Getty)

He insisted he would not reoffend if released or transferred to open conditions, adding that he avoids violence on a daily basis in the maximum security prison.

“Every two weeks, every three weeks someone gets stabbed here… hot water,” he said. “I avoid all those kinds of things. I don’t get involved in criminal activities.”

Despite previously escaping custody, he insisted he would never abscond again, adding: “This is my only chance and I am aware of it.”

He told the panel he hoped to find work as a personal trainer or hairdresser when released and has the support of his mother and sister.

However, his prison offender manager refused to give evidence to the panel and refused to recommend Mr Bidar for release or transfer to open conditions, insisting inappropriate or negative behavior was a “pattern throughout his sentence”.

Although he has completed the programs available to him in prison, she said he needs to “consolidate” the work he has already done at a Psychologically Informed Planned Environment (PIPE) unit.

“Mr Bidar can be a very smart gentleman when he is in that frame of mind, but he can also be very rude and quite petulant when challenged,” she told the panel.

She expressed her concerns about the comments made to female prison staff, adding that he has a problem with authority.

Mr Bidar, who is on medication for ADHD, admitted he could be “inappropriate, rude or rude” and said there had been “mistakes” in his behavior, but added: “Maybe one day I’ll tell someone about f*** off, but I don’t think it deserves to keep me here for another two years in a maximum security prison and treat me like a murderer or psychopath.”

Asked about a previous incident in prison where he was punished for being drunk and shouting swear words at his cell door, he said: “That doesn’t mean I have to stay here for another two years… every day is torture. I have sex and p*** in a bucket. It’s just hell man.

“I just want one chance – that’s all I want. If I screw up, it’s on me.”

A senior prison officer giving evidence to the panel said Mr Bidar worked as a cleaner and rehabilitation representative for the wing – a role in which he supports prisoners who are struggling.

In the statement issued to The independent Speaking through his lawyer from Worcestershire prison earlier this month, Mr Bidar said he has completed his sentence plan and is ready for release – adding that a 2021 parole board had previously recommended he be moved to open conditions.

Despite the release committee’s decision, this decision was blocked by the Minister of Justice, who refused to downgrade him from a high-risk Category A prisoner.

He claims this has made him a “political prisoner” until Justice Secretary Alex Chalk agrees he must move forward.

‘I am exhausted by the punishment. Life is passing me by. I did it wrong. I have been taking courses for a long time and those who judge me have consistently said that I have completed my punishment plan,” he previously said. The independent.

In a statement earlier this month, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice said: “We have reduced the number of unreleased IPP prisoners by three-quarters since we abolished the penalty in 2012.

“We have also taken decisive action to shorten licensing periods and continue to help those still in custody make progress towards release by increasing access to rehabilitation programs and mental health care.”

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