Host Organisation: Prisoners’ Advice Service

Alice Gambell

Alice joined Prisoners’ Advice Service (PAS) as a Justice First Fellow in January 2019. She studied Law at Birkbeck, University of London. Following a scholarship award and a crowdfunding campaign, Alice completed her Legal Practice Course at the University of Law in London in 2017.

Whilst at university the focus of Alice’s research was upon prisoners’ rights and this led her to volunteer at PAS for two years. Whilst undertaking her law degree Alice also volunteered at Inquest, Prisoners Abroad and Hammersmith Law Centre.

Since university and her LPC, Alice has pursued a career in social justice law and civil liberties, working as a paralegal in both criminal defence at GT Stewart Solicitors and actions against the police at Irwin Mitchell.

Project

Alice’s project involves creating a new service for PAS by extending the scope of its Outreach clinics to long-distance outreach so PAS are able to provide prisoners in advice deserts with access to free legal advice and assistance about their prison issues. By running face to face legal advice clinics in prisons, this will in turn increase the number of prisoners writing to PAS, calling the advice line or asking their family members to email in. In 2018, PAS delivered 116 legal advice Outreach Clinics across 20 prisons, providing one-to-one advice or education to 1,026 prisoners. PAS now wants to extend their clinics to assist prisoners in Wales, and prisons in hard to reach areas in England such as Dartmoor, Norfolk and Cumbria. Extending PAS’ outreach to prisons in Wales is especially important, particularly considering the most recent reports that Wales now has the highest prison population in Western Europe.

Long-distance outreach clinics will be run by PAS and conducted within the prison libraries. They will be run by PAS caseworkers and will provide an essential opportunity for PAS to raise awareness of its work across a wider range of prisons, and for prisoners to speak to us face-to-face, privately and in full confidence.

Increasing the geographical spread of our outreach clinics will enable PAS to meet with even more prisoners, impart important legal advice, provide self-help toolkits, take on more pro bono cases, thus enabling a greater number of prisoners to access to justice.

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