8 years ago, Paul Gadd, whose stage name is Gary Glitter was given a 16 year prison sentence for abusing 3 girls. Under legislation at the time of the sentence in 2015 (The Criminal Justice Act 2003) certain prisoners have to be released once they have served half of their sentence.
At one time Gadd could have been given an indeterminate sentence which were introduced with sex offenders in mind. Where the offender was considered a danger to the public, and undeniably needed some offender behaviour treatment, they could not be released until they were no longer considered a danger. They would be given a minimum term to serve. Thereafter under such a sentence, they could only be released once they had been given the specified treatment and considered no longer a danger to the public. Unfortunately they didn’t work because the treatment required could not be given due to funding issues, and thus the prisoners could not be released. Over 2000 of them are still in custody. The sentences were abolished in 2012.
The point is that Gadd has always been in denial about his crimes, as indeed are the majority of sex offenders. I was once on a BBC4 discussion programme at which a sex offender was arguing that paedophilia means “love of children” in Ancient Greek, and that we all love children, moreover he believed that encouraging children to love the adult more was not harmful. The psychiatrist on the programme, resident at Rampton, said that he was extremely worried at such remarks which indicated flawed reasoning and worrying attitudes.
So the sex offender in denial is dangerous because they will refuse to have treatment, and see nothing wrong in re-offending upon release from prison, notwithstanding how dangerous the psychiatrists deem they are to the public. A hospital order imposed as a sentence by a Criminal Court, of course, is different in that the offender is detained in hospital for as long T as he remains a danger to the public or too ill to be released.
What Gadd’s attitude is now is difficult to know. Reports at the time of the sentence illustrated him being in complete denial. The Judge sentencing commented that he had shown a complete lack of remorse for what he had done and towards his victims.
So alarmed have various victims of abuse, and organisations that support them at offenders being released automatically after half a sentence that the government enacted the Police Crime Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 which responded to the complaint about releasing offenders sentenced with serious offences of a sexual nature half way through the sentence. Unfortunately, the law is not retrospective so that if Gadd were to be sentenced today then he would serve two thirds of his sentence not a half.
The point is that victims and survivors of abuse suffer for life from the effects of the abuse. They thus find it completely unacceptable that their abuser can be released after only serving half of their time in prison.
I am delighted to be able to air my views on Talk TV tonight at 7.30pm.