August 20 2014 Latest news:
by Emma Bartholomew, Senior Reporter
Thursday, April 17, 2014
The family of a dying man serving one of the now abolished indeterminate prison sentences is pleading for him to be released so they can care for him during his last days.
Jason Grant was sentenced under the IPP (Imprisonment for Public Protection) in July 2006, for attempted robbery, unlawful wounding and possession of an imitation firearm.
The judge recommended a minimum sentence of three years three months.
But the 46-year-old, who used to live in Whiston Road, Haggerston, is now entering his eighth year behind bars.
With no end in sight, he has just been diagnosed with terminal cancer and has only weeks to live.
IPPs were introduced by the previous Labour government with the intention of reducing the number of life sentences, while demonstrating a tough approach towards violent criminals.
But the sentences were scrapped after the European Court of Human Rights condemned them for being draconian and inadequately resourced.
Lorna Elliot, who worked to get the IPP abolished in 2012, has been campaigning for Mr Grant’s release, but his diagnosis means he and his family are all the more desperate to see him released.
Mr Grant has been told that without treatment he will live for two to four months, or with treatment he has eight months.
His sister Justina Grant, 43, who lives in Teale Street, Hoxton, believes his release is long overdue.
She said: “Even before the cancer it was an injustice and we were trying to get him out. He has made mistakes, but the goalposts have just moved now. We’re just desperate, absolutely desperate.
“He’s no threat to society, and he’s done his sentence three times over. It’s heart-wrenching.
“We just want him to come home and spend what time he has left with his family.
“When you look at the Lockerbie bomber, he was let out on compassionate leave because he was ill – but Jason hasn’t killed an aeroplane full of people.”
Lawyer Lorna Elliot said there were still 3,500 inmates serving IPP sentences.
She said: “The whole system didn’t work, which is why it was abolished, but the point is, that hasn’t helped people like Jason Grant who are stuck in prison way beyond their minimum term and unable to secure release.
‘‘In his situation he has only months to live, which makes it all the more tragic.”
The family have set up a petition calling for his release via Change.org.