Bound by Injustice
Wrongful convictions and unjust sentences aren't just served by the prisoners we represent. Family members, friends and loved ones serve time alongside them. Time where there is an empty chair at family weddings, funerals and birthdays. Time when they face the pressure of supporting someone in prison who shouldn't be there. Time fighting through the frustrating and isolating appeals system. But they are no longer serving time alone.
Inspired by the Hillsborough Justice Campaign and the families that fought for 28 years to get justice for their loved ones, APPEAL has formed a powerful support and advocacy group: Bound by Injustice.
BBI Meet up - March 2019
Laying the groundwork for success
This brilliant meeting of the Bound By Injustice family was a roaring success and we were kindly hosted in the fabulous offices of Ropes & Gray in Central London. The second ever Bound By Injustice event was aimed at reuniting the family members who attended in 2018, and welcoming some new members into the BBI family who could not attend last year. The event was also focused on developing the structure and future of BBI.
We were honoured to have Raphael Rowe speak to us, a miscarriage of justice survivor who spent 12 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. In July 2000, the Court of Appeal quashed his wrongful conviction and he was freed. Raphael studied journalism during his years in prison and was determined to become a reporter after his release. As the subject of numerous media stories during his long campaign for justice, Raphael has a unique insight into both sides of the reporting coin.
We also had a session hosted by Cookie, a client of APPEAL. Cookie has now served the custodial portion of her sentence for a crime she did not commit and has for 16 years vehemently and unwaveringly maintained her innocence. In 2018, with the help of the Women’s Justice Initiative, Cookie told the story of her miscarriage of justice through our new podcast - Surviving Injustice. Cookie, a Campaign Bootcamp graduate - taught a campaigning workshop to the group.
Surviving Injustice Retreat - August 2018
Our Inaugural Retreat
In August 2018, we brought our first group of family members and people we represent who have been released into the community together. The retreat took place over a weekend and we were were generously hosted by the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights and Mansfield College, at Oxford University.
We had speakers discuss the psychological impact of wrongful imprisonment, the importance of grassroots activism and how to engage the media in campaigning - as well as lots of social time! Click on the programme to the right to find out more about who spoke over the weekend!
Scroll down for some of the gold from the weekend!
Introducing: "Bound By Injustice"
by Pauline Black, sister of wrongfully convicted CCA client
We all arrived not knowing quite what to expect or what the weekend would mean for us but we were welcomed with open arms by the CCA team, made comfortable in our rooms, and introduced to our now extended family members and friends.
Then it started - WOW! The CCA team, facilitators, family members and speakers were amazing and I listened to the stories told with such emotion. It was evident that everyone attending wanted the same thing: our loved ones unjustly incarcerated for a crime they had not committed, to be set free from this broken, mismanaged system, that doesn't care about and doesn’t acknowledge the damage it causes to human beings. It is left to the family and friends to pick up the pieces of shattered lives and try to glue them back without help or much needed support.
This weekend taught me a lot - not just that we were not alone, but there are many of us in the same turmoil wanting the same thing and with the right guidance and support we can lift, motivate and strengthen each other on this journey.
THE CENTRE celebrates hugely successful "Surviving Injustice" retreat for the families of the wrongfully convicted
by Susan Evans, CCA Volunteer
I am a volunteer at the Centre for Criminal Appeals and started with them just as they began thinking about planning Surviving Injustice – an event for the family members of the Centre’s clients. Last weekend, 10-12th August 2018, it finally happened and the Centre for Criminal Appeals gave family members, exonerees and recently released victims fighting miscarriages of justice an opportunity to come together to share their experiences.
When I began volunteering, my first task was to reach out to their clients who were incarcerated to gage their response to the idea and to enquire whether they would like their family to attend. This was a very moving experience for me as the response letters came back. It was amazing having communication with people I did not know personally and was unlikely to meet anytime soon, who were replying gracefully and helpfully to support an event they could not attend - there were no “and what about me?”retorts. They understood immediately the value of what we were hoping to achieve.