Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Another Attempt To Sabotage John Bowden’s Parole By Prison Hired Social Worker (UK)

March 12, 2012 325 Magazine

It seems that the state and its loyal agents in HMP Shotts, Scotland, are
currently manufacturing reasons to present to the parole board as to why
John Bowden should be kept in jail. One of the entries in the ‘Parole
Intelligence Summary’ says: “Intelligence provides that Bowden either
posts blogs or has them posted on his behalf on the following website:
http://breakallchains.blogspot.com/. Further intelligence provides that
this website is pro-prisoner and anti-establishment. So it seems that even
writing anything supporting prisoners’ rights is sufficient reason to keep
John in jail – he’s not being kept in because they consider him a risk to
the public. Here is the latest article from John and contact address for
complaints and also to write to him:

Another Attempt To Sabotage John Bowden’s Parole By Prison Hired Social

The changed role of probation officers, and in Scotland social workers,
from ‘client centered’ liberal professionals into ‘criminal justice
workers’ focused essentially on ‘public protection’ and ‘managing risk’
has in many cases led to serious abuses of power as what were once
considered vocations of social conscience have been transformed into
little more than the revenge of the middle class.

Nowhere more is this so than in the case of prison-based social workers
and criminal justice probational/supervision officers who are little more
than appendages of repressive state power and act as a legitimizing and
respectable cover for that power.

The collaboration of prison hired social workers in the victimization of
prisoners labelled ‘control problems’ was exemplified by Matthew Stillman,
a social worker employed by Perth and Kinross Council in Scotland, who in
2007 whilst on placement at Castle Huntley open prison in Dundee wrote a
social work report for the Parole Board in which he described the
Anarchist Black Cross support group (ABC) as a ‘terrorist organisation’
and my support of it as sufficient reason to deny my release after 30
years in jail. As a direct consequence of Stillman’s report I was removed
from Castle Huntley open jail where I was preparing for release and
returned to maximum security conditions. Following a public campaign by
the ABC and an internal investigation by Perth and Kinross Council,
Stillman’s claim was exposed as a deliberate lie and he was quietly moved
to another job. Stillman would subsequently claim that senior management
as Castle Huntley jail had encouraged him to make the terrorist claim in
his report. What the episode actually illustrated was the malleability of
‘criminal justice professionals’ by a vindictive prison management and how
willing such ‘professionals’ compromise their integrity in the interests
of career and power.

This was again illustrated in February of this year before another
scheduled parole hearing to consider my release when the Parole Board
asked a community based social worker in Edinburgh, Brendon Barnett, to
prepare a post release supervision plan report. Told by the prison
authorities that I was refusing to co-operate with an assessment for
psychology based behaviour modification programmes, Barnett wrote a report
clearly intended to influence the parole board to deny my release
indefinitely. Like Stillman, he also wrote lies in his report, but this
time the lies really did defy belief.

When claiming to describe my original offence in 1980 and my ‘patterns of
behaviour’ at the time of the offence, Barnett wrote in his report: “His
victims were individuals easily discriminated against on the basis of race
and sexuality”. “There was a pattern of behaviour that allowed for the
predatory targeting of vulnerable human beings defined by race or
sexuality”. “Individuals were deemed worthy of attack on the basis of
ethnic background and deviant sexuality”. “There has been no investigation
of the values and beliefs that informed Bowden’s targeting of individuals,
i.e. what particular characteristics deemed a person worth of attack:
ethnic background, deviant sexuality?” Incredibly, without any reference
to official records, i.e. police reports or trial transcripts, Barnett
committed his outrageous lies to a report intended for the Parole Board, a
body thoroughly conversant with the facts of my original offence.

The actual facts are these. In November 1980, during a drunken party at a
flat in South London, Donald Ryan, a white Caucasian, heterosexual man was
killed by 3 other white Caucasian, heterosexual men, one of whom was me.
The police who investigated the case, the prosecution authorities and
trial judge who tried the case, have never claimed or suggested there was
a racist or homophobic dimension to the case, and why would they?
Barnett’s claims were a complete invention. In the preamble to his report
Barnett claimed that all his information was derived from ‘core documents’
and ‘source material’; this was also a lie. An explanation as to Barnett’s
motives in writing such reckless lies is possibly provided by other parts
of his report. Under a heading he terms “Compliance” he writes: “Bowden’s
time in custody has been characterised as a sustained and deliberate war
of attrition with the prison service. It is reported that earlier in his
sentence he often began riots, dirty protests and hunger strikes. As his
sentence progressed Bowden developed a strategy of intellectual analysis
of the system he is subject to. He appears to conceptualize his activities
in the light of a particular ideological awareness and as part of a wider
struggle”. He then provides the Parole Board with website references for
various articles I’ve written criticising the prison system and cites
Stillman’s report as a reference source. He concludes this part of his
report with – “Bowden questions the whole validity of the prison system
and the honesty, professionalism and impartiality of those charged with
his assessment and supervision”.

The core motive for Barnett’s lies are clearly revenge for Stillman, and
this is made explicit in a paragraph of the report entitled “Professional
Boundaries”. Under this he writes: “Bowden is known to have aired
grievances on the internet with regard to particular professionals
involved in the assessment of his level of risk. He appears to have
authored articles that have been forwarded to various websites naming
professionals involved in the parole process, suggesting readers contact
them directly. He has suggested a named social worker’s “right wing views”
(Stillman) influenced his assessment of Bowden”. He then issues a clear
threat: “Should he repeat these actions (publicising the names of social
workers) this could be deemed a rejection of the conditions of release”.
What Barnett is actually saying is that should I dare to expose and
publicise his outrageous lies then I risk imprisonment until death.

Brendon Barnett is supposedly a social worker employed by the Criminal
Justice Services in Edinburgh who last year was instructed by his
employers to prepare a post release supervision plan for me and present
it’s features in a report for the Parole Board. Instead he abused his
position by collaborating with the prison system to prejudice the parole
process and sabotage my release. Rather stupidly, instead of basing his
disgusting allegations on historical fact and official record, he
obviously regurgitated lies from Micheal Mansfield’s “Memoirs Of A Radical
Lawyer”, that Mansfield himself has now publicly admitted were completely
untrue. Brendon Barnett should be sacked.

Please write letters of complaint to:
Michelle Miller Chief Social Worker Officer
Grindlay Court Social Work Centre
Criminal Justice Services
2-4 Grindlay Court
Fax: 0131 2298628

Please send letters of support to:
John Bowden 6729
HMP Shotts
Canthill Road

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