‘bound by injustice’ – a community of wrongful conviction survivors

The impact of wrongful imprisonment extends far beyond prison walls and unfair sentences are not just served by those we represent. Our clients’ loved ones – their partners, children, parents, siblings, and friends – suffer the injustice alongside them.

Whilst fighting exhausting legal battles, our clients and their loved ones face isolation from their communities, unwanted media attention, and financial hardship. As a result of the wrongful conviction they experience multiple disadvantages, including poverty, unemployment, poor mental and physical health and social exclusion.

A key issue for those experiencing a miscarriage of justice is the lack of mental health support available to them. In 2005, the psychiatrist Adrian Grounds wrote about the psychological consequences of wrongful imprisonment, characterising them as profound and persistent, and having parallels with the experience of kidnap victims and returned combat veterans. Very few of the survivors we work with have been able to access adequate care through the NHS and almost all cannot afford to pay for therapy privately.

We recognised that our clients and their loved ones wanted to speak to others going through similar experiences, so we launched Bound By Injustice in 2018 to establish a community of survivors who could seek support from each other.

Then in 2020 our Survivor Advocacy Leads, Sue Beere and Cath Snow, joined APPEAL.  A formidable team, Sue and Cath have increased our capacity to provide well-being support to the people APPEAL represents and their loved ones and empower them as agents for change.

Now a flourishing source of peer-support, Bound By Injustice meets as at retreats designed and organised by Sue and Cath . For example the group spent  a weekend  in Oxford participating in facilitated workshops, children’s activities and social time, as well as helping APPEAL understand better the needs of victims of miscarriages of justice. Members of the group bonded over their shared experiences, especially the very youngest members. Members of the group say that it offers a safe place to share joy, sadness, encouragement, success, and losses with others who ‘get it’.

As a result of this support from APPEAL staff and from one another,  prisoners, former prisoners and their loved ones can get beyond simply surviving their trauma and are empowered to speak out and demand reform of the system that destroyed their lives in the first place.

“BBI is a safe place where there is no judgement. As well as this, the events and retreats held by the group provides a ‘family’ environment and allows everyone to understand the different battles that people are fighting and allows for support and personal growth. The sense of support that the group provides is unbelievable” — A young member of Bound by Injustice

Who We Are > Survivors

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APPEAL is the working name of the Centre for Criminal Appeals, a Charitable Company Limited By Guarantee and a law practice authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Registered Charity Number: 1144162 | SRA Authorisation Number: 621184 | Company Number: 7556168