Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Refuge for miscarriage of justice victims

I get the chance to work with a range of immensely talented people with passion and drive. Paddy Hill and Gerry Conlon are two of the finest examples. Today I took the opportunity to press the Justice Minister on the need to establish a refuge for people who have been wrongly imprisoned.

I was pleased that the Minister agreed to meet a delegation for a second time to discuss Paddy and Gerry's idea. The first meeting was with Maria Eagle who received us well and even cancelled two of her subsequent meetings so she could extend our meeting. I am sure we will get a similar reception for our next meeting and hope that we can further progress the campaign for a desperately need refuge.

Here's the transcript from today's question:

Willie Rennie: That is very welcome, but when innocent people are wrongly imprisoned, it is a traumatic experience that can scar them for life. When they are released, they often receive little support other than a helpline, which is welcome but not sufficient. Will the Minister meet me, a cross-party delegation of Members and Paddy Hill and Gerry Conlon of the Miscarriages of Justice Organisation, to consider their proposal for a refuge that will give such people the residential, in-depth support that they need and deserve?

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Mr. David Hanson): I am grateful for the hon. Gentleman’s comments. Of course, I and my ministerial colleagues will happily meet him, because how individuals are reintegrated back into society, particularly when they have been proved innocent, is an important issue.

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