A mother who fears her son may kill himself in jail after being given a indeterminate prison sentence is taking her protest to the prison gates.
Kiya Smith, 22, from Cardiff , has spent almost five years in prison after being sentenced for committing a street robbery of a phone in 2011.
He was given an Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) sentence , designed to keep dangerous offenders behind bars beyond their tariffs until they could show they no longer posed a threat.
This form of sentence was scrapped by the UK Government in 2012 but they have not been applied to more than 4,000 prisoners already serving IPPs retrospectively.
Donna Wall, 42, mother of Mr Smith, said her son had done his time after serving his minimum term of two years.
The mother-of-five said she was concerned that facing an indefinite sentence with no release date was affected her son’s mental health.
Donna, from Ely , Cardiff, said: “He was 17 at the time of the robbery. He was a child and made a silly mistake which he now regrets.
“He shouldn’t have been given that kind of sentence because he has no hope. He has a feeling of helplessness because he doesn’t have a release date. It’s a life sentence through the back door.
“There was a victim behind his crime and we must not forget the victim but he has done his time for his crime.”
Mr Smith is imprisoned at HMP Frankland in County Durham, a Category A prison.
Donna said her son, whose six-year-old daughter Lataya was one-year-old at the time of his imprisonment, is not a dangerous criminal and should have been put in a Category C prison.
‘Give me back my son’
Donna said: “They put him in an A category prison with child killers and terrorists. He shouldn’t be in that sort of establishment.
“The prison he is in now is six hours on the train and I have got his brother and sister and it’s so expensive for me to go up there.
“I haven’t seen my son for a year which is heartbreaking. I speak to him on the phone regularly.
“He phoned me on Sunday in a state and has been in segregation for 11 weeks because he doesn’t want to be in that prison.”
Speaking about the affect her son’s incarceration was having on her , Donna said: “I am crying all the time and I am depressed. I fear for his mental health and I can’t sleep. I am fear of someone phoning me or knocking the door to tell me he has committed suicide in prison.
“He has issues and he’s got no hope.
“Give me back my son and give him back to his family.”
Donna attended a protest outside Cardiff Prison today (Saturday, July 30) where she and her family wore T-shirts saying ‘Free Kiya Smith’ and held banners.
The protest was organised by Shirley Debono, 55, from Cardiff, whose son Shaun Lloyd was jailed under an IPP in 2006 for a street robbery .
He was released in 2014, beyond his minimum tariff of two years and nine months.
Shirley said: “Prisoners are starting to suffer from mental illness and are not coping.
A ‘stain’ on our justice system
“I have been campaigning for years against IPP because Shaun is on a life licence so basically he is an IPP prisoner on the outside.
“Statistically there is an 87% chance prisoners will be recalled to prison in the first year of release but Shaun has been out for two-and-a-half years. This is a statistic that can out IPP prisoners in for a long time.
“It’s a stain on our justice system but it looks like they are trying to sort it out.”
New Parole Board chairman Nick Hardwick has said he wants new criteria for freeing IPP prisoners in England and Wales.
In an interview with the BBC after taking up the post in March, Prof Hardwick said it was ‘incredibly difficult for some IPP prisoners to prove it was safe for them to be let out, due to procedural delays, access to offending behaviour courses and finding accommodation.
He said: “Some of them are stuck, festering, in prison long after the punishment part of the sentence.
“Once it gets to that point, they stop making progress and they start going backwards.
“So this is, I think, a blot on the justice system and I’m very keen we can do something about it.”
The Ministry of Defence said Prof Hardwick’s recommendations had been “taken on board”.