Febuary 2011

Freed paedophile demands to be taken back to prison

A CONVICTED sex offender demanded police arrest him again because he felt he wasn’t being given enough support to build a new life.

Ben Barnes was released on licence from Nottingham Prison in June after serving three-and-a-half years of a five year prison sentence.

The 52-year-old says he was forced by probation officers to stay at Trent House, a hostel in Nottingham city centre, after he was transferred 155 miles to Nottingham Prison from HMP Dartmoor, near his native Plymouth, before his release.

He then walked into Central police station in Nottingham in December and insisted officers arrest him and send him back to prison for breaking his curfew.

In a letter to insidetime, the national newspaper for prisoners, Mr Barnes wrote: “Having been released under licence conditions I was forced into a hostel, in Nottingham, called Trent House. I had never been to Nottingham before and had no family, friends nor connections to the place at all! In spite of the position I found myself in, I made every effort to turn my life around and adhered strictly to the terms of my licence. Probation told me that I had to stay in Nottingham, despite the distance from family and friends. I asked to attend Brackenhurst Agricultural College, but this was refused. I then asked for training as a forklift driver, [in] British sign language, gardening, bricklaying, or plastering – anything that might give me a skill and a chance in the job market – but I was refused permission for any of these. I then asked if I could have a new CV made up, again the answer was NO! How are you supposed to get rehabilitated if probation refuse to help?”

Mr Barnes says that as a prison inmate, he can now be transferred to a prison nearer his home for when he is next released.

He adds: “The truth is that no one gave a damn about my situation. I received no support whatsoever from probation, and I think it’s disgraceful.”

Mr Barnes was jailed in 2006 for indecently assaulting a 13-year-old girl and sexually assaulting a seven-year-old girl, in Leicester and Melton Mowbray.

A spokesperson for Notts Probation Service said: “We are unable to comment on individual cases, however protection of the public is our primary concern; and offenders released from prison on licence are subject to robust supervision and management.

“Decisions regarding the release of prisoners on licence rest with the Parole Board. Licence conditions are also set by the Parole Board taking into account reports from probation including assessment of risk and likelihood of reoffending.

“The location of an Approved Premises (hostel) to which a prisoner must reside on release depends on the Probation Trust/Area supervising them.

“Throughout their sentence and as part of their resettlement, a prisoner may spend time in several prisons around the country – categories decreasing depending on risk – and they would return to their supervising county on release.”