Father Reunites with Son After 12-Year Prison Visit Ban

Thomas White, serving a 12-year prison sentence for stealing a mobile phone, was reunited with his 14-year-old son Kayden after a 12-year ban on prison visits. The reunion came after David Blunkett, the architect of the abolished Indefinite Prison Sentence (IPP) scheme, intervened to allow monthly visits.

author-image
Trim Correspondents
New Update
Father Reunites with Son After 12-Year Prison Visit Ban

Father Reunites with Son After 12-Year Prison Visit Ban

Thomas White, 40, has finally been reunited with his 14-year-old son Kayden after a 12-year ban on prison visits due to an Indefinite Prison Sentence (IPP) for stealing a mobile phone in 2009. The controversial IPP sentence, introduced by then-Home Secretary David Blunkett, was abolished in 2012 but not retroactively, leaving around 3,000 prisoners like White trapped in jail beyond their original prison terms.

Why this matters: The story highlights the ongoing consequences of aflawed sentencing scheme, which has left thousands of prisoners in limbo, and underscores the need for reform to address the issue. It also raises questions about the impact of prolonged incarceration on mental health and the importance of family reunification in rehabilitation.

Despite being handed a two-year tariff for robbery, White has been in prison for over 12 years with little hope of release, even after serving his minimum sentence. The prison and children's services repeatedly blocked visits from Kayden, claiming the IPP sentence was meant for dangerous offenders and that White's poor mental health would distress his son.

White has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, which an independent psychiatric report links to the hopelessness of his IPP sentence. His sister Clara says, "They tortured my brother. They psychologically tortured him and they abused his right to family life and they got away with it for more than a decade." White's mother Margaret adds, "I feel like I'm watching a slow suicide and I pray that authorities will do something to help my son and the thousands of others like him."

The family has been campaigning for White to be transferred to a mental health facility and for all IPP prisoners to be resentenced. David Blunkett's intervention helped the family win the right to monthly visits. Upon meeting his father, Kayden said, "I was very nervous meeting my dad as I didn't remember him from a baby."

Thomas and Kayden have pledged to start a father-son book club and hope to go fishing together if Thomas is ever freed. The reunion, made possible by the architect of the IPP sentence himself, sheds light on the ongoing plight of thousands of prisoners still trapped by a now-abolished sentencing scheme. As the White family continues their fight for justice, only time will tell if meaningful change will come for those left behind by the IPP sentence.

Key Takeaways

  • Thomas White, 40, reunited with son Kayden, 14, after 12-year prison visit ban.
  • White serving 12+ years for stealing a mobile phone due to flawed IPP sentence.
  • IPP sentence, abolished in 2012, still affects 3,000 prisoners like White.
  • White's mental health suffers due to prolonged incarceration and family separation.
  • Family campaigns for White's transfer to mental health facility and IPP resentencing.