You are on page 1of 14

Criminal Memoirs: An English PEN brieng on Part 7 of the Coroners & Justice Bill

A new scheme will seize assets from ex-oenders who write about their crimes. All types of art and media will be aected, and there are no safeguards to prevent abuse. English PEN is calling on the Government to withdraw the proposed new law from the Coroners & Justice Bill, and to consult with prisoner groups and rehabilitation charities.

September 2009

Executive Summary

The Government proposes a new scheme, Exploitation Proceeds Orders (EPOs), to seize any proceeds an ex-oender may make from describing their crimes. The Government refers to Criminal Memoirs, but in fact the proposed measures refer to any type of art or media participation. Any benet may be seized, including payments in kind, expenses, and benets accruing to a third party organisation. The new law would allow assets to be seized ahead of publication or broadcast. No crimes are excluded even crimes committed overseas. The degree to which the public is oended is a trigger for seizure. This leaves the law vulnerable to populist campaigns against ex-criminals who have completed their sentence. The public interest test is given no priority in the Bill. It must be weighed against the extent to which ... the public are oended, meaning that memoirs of clear public value could still be aected. The law will not be eective against the worst cases. It does not prevent publication where no payment has been made, so malicious glorication of crimes would still be possible. The law misses its target. Payments to ex-criminals often occur through constructive and rehabilitative work in the public interest. The new law would subject such art to permanent, constant scrutiny. A great deal of literature and other art meets the criteria for EPOs. Ministers argue that common sense will prevail and seizure orders will not be pursued in all but the most extreme cases. This is an insucient safeguard against abuse, especially when other laws that curb civil liberties have been misused in recent years. The Government can cite very few examples of the type of publication they wish to prevent. The one case frequently mentioned, Cries Unheard by Gitta Sereny, was clearly in the public interest. English PEN is calling on the Government to withdraw the proposed new law from the Coroners & Justice Bill, and to consult with prisoner groups and rehabilitation charities.


hy should oenders be doubly punished? Having been deprived of their liberty, now the government threatens their freedom of speech by granting the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) the power to apply for an Exploitation Proceeds Order (EPO). Any oender who publishes an account of their crime could be forced back into court, where the state will shake them down for the proceeds and expenses received. Explaining its reasoning for the new measures, the Ministry of Justice cites the example of Mary Bell, who was responsible for killing two young children while herself a child, and who in 1998 was paid for her contribution to the book Cries Unheard by Gitta Sereny. It argues that EPOs will only be used for these exceptional cases. However, the provisions of the Bill extend far beyond this extraordinary case. In the analysis on the following pages, we show how the proposed EPOs could be applied against anyone found guilty of any oence even if that oence took place overseas, or the oender was a foreign national who subsequently settled in the UK. The Government argues that the measures do not amount to censorship, because nobody would be formally prevented from publishing - merely disincentivised from doing so (in the words of the minister responsible, Maria Eagle MP). This is a highly simplistic reading of our ancient and fundamental right to free speech, which is aected wherever the publics right to freedom of expression and information is curtailed. The general public has a legitimate interest in reading about crime; just as criminals have a legitimate interest in describing their experiences. Crime has never been a taboo subject in this country, and should not become one. In fact, oenders and ex-oenders have an important role to play in highlighting the perils of crime, and in explaining why some people choose to oend. Indeed, Cries Unheard is precisely the sort of work from which society as a whole can learn. The Governments motivation in legislating is to prevent further hurt and distress to the victims of crime and their families. Whilst noble, this sentiment again reveals their lack of

understanding of freedom of expression, which, as George Orwell said, means nothing unless it includes the freedom to oend. Many ideas are shocking; some information can be extremely disturbing. Every day, books and lms appear which are disgusting to many people. However, a society where such ideas are explored openly is clearly preferable to one in which the state decides what it is t for us to read. And yet, in asking the Attorney General to rule on questions of literary value and public interest, the Government is proposing just that. In any case, hurt and distress is not linked to prot in any meaningful way. EPOs do nothing to prevent a violent criminal from publishing a gloating account of their crimes on a free blog, or even in a newspaper, so long as they take no payment. This is not, therefore, just a sledgehammer to crack a nut; it is an ineective nutcracker. Worse, the introduction of EPOs may inadvertently shut down an entire world of charitable work in the eld of oender rehabilitation, an area in which ex-oenders are routinely asked to give artistic expression to their lives and their crimes. Charity trustees are under obligations to act within the law, and to protect their assets. The qualications in the Bill oer no clarity to such trustees that their work is likely to meet with the approval of SOCA. Nor does it guarantee that charitable revenues from an ex-oenders work would not also be seized. As a result, numerous important programmes within prisons, young oenders centres and the probation service may be withdrawn, to the detriment of prisoners, exprisoners, and the general public. We are calling on the Government to withdraw their proposed Criminal Memoirs legislation. The measures will not achieve their purpose, will have unintended consequences, and will introduce a permanent bind on the free expression of ex-oenders who have cleared their debt to society.

This is not, therefore, just a sledgehammer to crack a nut; it is an ineective nutcracker.

Analysis - Objections to the New Law

The Proposed New Law

The Government proposes a new civil recovery scheme, the Exploitation Proceeds Order (EPO). This new scheme will allow the Government to seize the earnings or other assets of ex-convicts, where those assets are deemed to have been earned through the retelling or discussion of a crime committed by the ex-convict. On introducing these measures, ministers claimed that the measures will be required to deal with very few exceptional cases perhaps only one or two per year. The proposed law forms part 7 of the Coroners & Justice Bill, currently before Parliament. The reasoning behind the introduction of the law was outlined in the Home Oce consultation document Making Sure Crime Doesnt Pay (Nov 2006), the response to the consultation (January 2007) and the related impact assessment (December 2008).

Any Steps...

The authorities do not have to wait until a piece of art or writing has been created, and a payment received. The proposed powers of seizure can be activited even if a former prisoner takes steps to create something. This will have a chilling eect on artists, writers, publishers and curators, who may decline to move forward with a project for fear that the proceeds will be seized at a later date. At its worst, these measures amount to a form of pre-censorship.

Any Benet...

It is not just royalties from book sales that may be seized. Benets in kind, or benets accruing to a third party, including a charity or nonprot organization, may be seized through an EPO. There is no minimum threshold specied, so travel, accommodation and subsistence payments could also be seized through an EPO.

Objections to the New Law

On introducing the Bill, ministers have implied that the new measures will target very few people. However, a close reading of the actual text of the Coroners & Justice Bill reveals that the measures proposed give wide-ranging and ambiguous powers to the Attorney General, which will place a great deal of legitimate artistic and journalistic work under permanent threat of censorship. A clause-by-clause examination of the Bill is presented in Appendix A. Below we discuss some of the main issues revealed by this analysis.

Any Crime...

Not just Criminal Memoirs

The proposed law covers all types of artistic expression and participation in the media. Painting, lm-making and poetry are covered, as is participation in someone elses book, lm or radio programme. The term Criminal Memoirs is entirely misleading.

The proposed law covers crimes that a person may have been convicted of overseas, so long as a comparable oence exists in the UK. However, other countries do not prosecute crimes on a likefor-like basis. Many of the current and former imprisoned writers on PENs international caselist were actually tried under public-order or terrorism laws, for which equivalent laws exist in this country. They would therefore meet the criteria for an EPO. The proposed law does not just cover crimes for which you have a spent criminal conviction. Admission of crimes for which you were not convicted, or discussion of crimes that you know someone else committed, also fall within the scope of EPOs.

Additionally, there is no threshold on the type of crime committed. In the Governments consultation document, it suggested that arguably... any new measure should be limited to those convicted of more serious crimes. (page 11) However, such considerations form no part of the Bill.

No priority for Public Interest

Public Oence as a Trigger

There is a provision for a public interest defence against an EPO. However, this is given no priority over the ill-dened concept of oence. This means that a piece of art or writing produced by an ex-oender that is of clear public interest, could be attacked by a populist campaign and disabled through an EPO (or merely the threat of one). In summary, the proposed new measures will introduce uncertainty and ambiguity into the law. Anyone with a spent criminal conviction will be placed permanently under the scrutiny of the Government, and will be vulnerable to populist campaigns against them.

The proposed law also makes a provision that an application for an EPO must be approved by the Attorney General. If this is the case, then why do these technicalities matter? Can we not just trust in the common sense of the Attorney General? Unfortunately not. First, the common sense of the current Attorney General may not be shared by her successors in the role. Second, the criteria that are laid out to trigger an EPO application make up one of the most problematic clauses of the Bill. Clause 145.3(f) states that the Attorney General should take into account the extent to which any victim of the oence, the family of the victim or the general public is oended by the ex-oender receiving payment. This means that a populist campaign, for example by a religious group or newspaper, could provoke the Attorney General (a political appointee) to take action against any given ex-oender. the provisions relating to criminal memoirs contain an amazing section that enshrines populism in statute. When deciding what to do about criminal memoirs, the court will have to take into account whether the public would be oended by the criminal making money out of them. The Bill might as well say that the court should pay attention to what the editors of the Daily Mail and The Sun think. - David Howarth, Liberal Democrat Shadow Justice Secretary, House of Commons debate on the Bill, (Hansard, 26th January 2009, Column 66)

Overreach and the Common Sense Approach

The attack on free expression does not begin with the formal application for an EPO, but with the threat of one.

hroughout history, some of the most inuential and radical gures have acted outside the law of the land, and their memoirs have become important cultural artefacts. But these accounts also fall within the scope of the proposed Exploitation Proceeds Order. For example, the memoir of Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom, describes his crimes in detail. He has earned money from the book in the UK. It is therefore perfectly possible for a politically motivated campaign to be mounted against Nelson Mandela, by threatening him with an EPO. This is an extreme example. However, while even the slight possibility of harassment remains, this law presents a worrying attack on freedom of expression. While Mandelas personal popularity oers him some protection, less well known writers cannot be as sure that an EPO campaign against them would be unsuccessful. If Nelson Mandela meets the criteria for an EPO, then many other cases of clear public interest will meet them too (Appendix B lists other famous literary prisoners). The attack on free expression does not begin with the formal application for

an EPO, but with the threat of one. Throughout the life of this Bill, the minister responsible for introducing it, Maria Eagle MP, has argued that common sense will prevail when considering Exploitation Proceeds Orders. We do not share her condence. Relying on future Governments to share our current values, and follow a common sense approach, is an entirely unsound foundation for any law. Indeed, political winds have already brought many authoritarian measures from the current Government, which have been condemned by civil liberties campaigners in the UK. In particular, we have seen anti-terror legislation repeatedly used to silence peaceful protest, and surveillance laws used inappropriately by local authorities. While in the short term the eects of EPOs may be benign, they are nevertheless an addition to a toolbox of laws that cede more control from the individual to the state.

The Practical Case against EPOs

hese laws, by their very design, attack precisely the wrong people. The Governments prime motivation for introducing these measures is to minimize the distress caused to victims and their families. However, EPOs will be an ineective means to do so. The civil recovery scheme focuses only on prots and payments received from writing or speaking about ones crimes. A vindictive exoender could publish details of their crimes on a blog or self-published book, or a newspaper, with impunity. Second, of the few actual cases cited by the Government as being of concern, even fewer relate specically to ex-oenders. Despite giving an undertaking to publish a list of the cases that have inspired the proposed new law, the Government has yet to do so. The consultation document discusses the serial killer Dennis Nilsen, who seeks to publish his memoirs, and other current prisoners. These people are not aected by the proposed EPO legislation, because they are prevented from publishing oensive memoirs through existing law and prison regulations. By contrast, the people most likely to seek to prot from directly discussing their crimes, are those who are engaged in rehabilitative work. Appendix C (Further Reading) reproduces an article by Guardian columnist and English PEN member Caspar Walsh, a former prisoner and writer, who now teaches creative writing courses to other ex-oenders. Their writing is a form of

atonement and rehabilitation, and they often refer directly to their crimes. Such projects seek to turn the negative facts of a criminal past (for which they have been adequately punished through a custodial sentence) into a productive and legal future. The threat of an EPO would discourage this work. Countless other charities and not-for-prot companies work directly with current and former prisoners. Some, such as the Koestler Trust, create visual art, while others, such as Clean Break Theatre Company create theatrical productions. Inside Time The National Newspaper for Prisoners, publishes work by current and exoenders. Introducing EPOs will place all such work under scrutiny, and place the revenues of each organisation under threat. At a meeting with representatives of English PEN on 1st June 2009, Maria Eagle MP, the Minister responsible for the measures, said that EPOs are intended to disincentivise criminal memoirs. However, the wrong people will be disincentivised, and EPOs will stunt the development of a valuable slice of our culture.

the people most likely to seek to prot from directly discussing their crimes, are those who are engaged in rehabilitative work.

Gitta Sereny, Mary Bell and Cries Unheard

Lord Wakeman, former chairman of the Press Complaints Commission, has declared Cries Unheard to be of overwhelming public interest.

n justifying the Bill, the Government has repeatedly referred to the case of Cries Unheard, a book by Gitta Sereny about the life and crimes of Mary Bell, who killed two small boys in 1968. In its impact assessment, signed by Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State Maria Eagle MP, the Ministry of Justice writes: The most recent re-examination of the law in this area was prompted by the public outcry that occurred when Gitta Sereny published her book Cries Unheard, later serialised in The Times, about the life of Mary Bell. Ms Bell had been convicted of killing two small boys when she was 11 and public concern was fuelled by the allegation that she had received 50,000 for her contribution to the book. This one paragraph encapsulates several problems with the proposed EPO scheme. First, the book in question was published in 1998. It is noteworthy that the Government cannot cite further cases of concern that have arisen in the decade since. Second, the Government admits that the new law has been prompted by a public outcry. Whilst this does not delegitimize the new laws per se, it does bring into sharp focus precisely what is meant when the Bill refers to the extent to which ... the public are oended by a book: tabloid outrage.

In her introduction to the paperback version of Cries Unheard, Gitta Sereny describes the media furore that sprang up when her book was published. In particular, she describes how (then) Prime Minister Tony Blair and (then) Home Secretary Jack Straw were prompted by aggressive media questioning to pledge to take action against the book. In the paragraph reproduced above, the Government also repeats the erroneous allegation that Mary Bell was paid as much as 50,000 for her co-operation with Sereny. This gure has been denied by Sereny, and its use as a justication for the new law undermines the Governments argument. Finally, Cries Unheard is an entirely inappropriate example on which to base the Criminal Memoirs argument. In her introduction to the book, Sereny describes the disruption that Mary Bell and her family experienced as a result of participation in the project. Bell spent many weeks living away from home and her partner was therefore unable to work. Under these circumstances, signicant remuneration was essential for the book to be written. Moreover, Serenys treatment of the subject is of great value: Lord Wakeman, former chairman of the Press Complaints Commission, has declared Cries Unheard to be of overwhelming public interest. It is bizarre that the Government should choose to ground its arguments for EPOs on exactly the sort of memoir that should be exempt from such a scheme.

The Consultation Process

he Governments consultation document Making Sure That Crime Doesnt Pay, published in November 2006, admits the free speech implications of EPOs. It acknowledges the distinction between violent crime and minor oences, and that in principle a system should be devised that only targets serious crimes (para. 53, p11). However, no such distinction is present in the Bill. Later, it also states that the scheme would not target payments made to anyone else (para 73, p15). However, this safeguard is specically negated in clause 143(3) of the Bill. Overall, the Bill as presented to Parliament provides much broader criteria for the implementation of EPOs than in the initial consultation document envisaged. This implies that the consultation responses were predominantly in favour of much a much tougher scheme than that outlined in Making Sure Crime Doesnt Pay. However, an examination of the responses to the consultation reveals that respondents were evenly divided over the

need for a new scheme. While victims groups and police associations were in favour of EPOs, publishers and media representatives were against any new measures. Moreover, none of the safeguards proposed by media groups (such as exemptions to EPOs when the memoir is about an alleged miscarriage of justice) were incorporated into the Bill. Crucially, the views of rehabilitation groups and prison charities were not represented in the response to consultations. English PEN is therefore contacting a range of prisoner arts and rehabilitation charities, to solicit their views on the proposed new law. The omission of their voice seriously undermines the consultation process.

the views of rehabilitation groups and prison charities were not represented in the response to consultations.

Contacts and key speakers

Jonathan Heawood Director, English PEN 020 7324 2535 / 07889071711 Robert Sharp Campaigns Manager, English PEN 020 7324 2535 / 07790420011

Appendix A: Commentary on the Bill

he proposed law on Criminal Memoirs forms Part 7 of the Coroners & Justice

Bill. The following commentary refers to the latest version of the Bill, which was sent from the House of Commons to the House of Lords on 24th March 2009. Part 7 is made up of clauses 138 to 155 of the Bill. ldbills/033/2009033.pdf

illness or addiction, and what they did while suering, could be subject to this law. Likewise, a person alleging a miscarriage of justice could be prevented from writing about the crime they say they did not commit.
(3) A person is within this subsection if (a) under the law in force in a country outside the United Kingdom (and whether before or after the commencement of this Part) (i) the person has been convicted of a foreign offence, (ii) a court exercising jurisdiction under that law has made, in respect of a foreign offence, a nding equivalent to a nding that the person was not guilty by reason of insanity, or (iii) such a court has made, in respect of a foreign offence, a nding equivalent to a nding that the person was under a disability and did the act charged in respect of the offence, and (b) the person (i) is a United Kingdom national, (ii) is resident in the United Kingdom, or (iii) was resident in the United Kingdom at the time the act which constituted the offence was done. (4) In subsection (3) foreign offence means an act which (a) constituted an offence under the law in force in the country concerned, (b) at the time it was done, would have constituted an offence if it had been done in any part of the United Kingdom, and (c) would constitute an offence if it were done in any part of the United Kingdom at the time the application for an exploitation proceeds order is made in respect of it; United Kingdom national means an individual who is (a) a British citizen, a British overseas territories citizen, a British National (Overseas) or a British Overseas citizen, (b) a person who under the British Nationality Act 1981 (c. 61) is a British subject, or (c) a British protected person within the meaning of that Act. For the purposes of subsection (4), conduct punishable under the law in force in a country outside the United Kingdom constitutes an offence under that law however it is described in that law.

From Clause 138 Exploitation Proceeds Orders

A person obtains exploitation proceeds from a relevant offence if the person derives a benet from (a) the exploitation of any material pertaining to the relevant offence, or (b) any steps taken or to be taken with a view to such exploitation. Commentary: Clause (b) shows that the proposed powers could be initiated before a word has been written. This will have a chilling effect on artists, writers, publishers and curators etc., who may decline to move forward with a project for fear that the proceeds will be seized at a later date. (7) Any sum received by an enforcement authority pursuant to an exploitation proceeds order (including any interest under subsection (6)) must be paid (a) if the authority is the Scottish Ministers, into the Scottish Consolidated Fund; (b) in any other case, into the Consolidated Fund.

Commentary: Money seized is not earmarked for rehabilitation or criminal justice work. It could be used as a revenue raiser by a future Government.

From Clause 139 Qualifying Oenders

(2) A person is within this subsection if (whether before or after the commencement of this Part) the person (a) has been convicted by a court in the United Kingdom of an offence, (b) has been found not guilty by such a court of an offence by reason of insanity, or (c) has been found by such a court to be under a disability and to have done the act charged in respect of an offence.


Commentary: A person writing or creating art, or being interviewed about their mental

Commentary: These parts of the Bill relate to what oences could come under the powers of an Exploitation Proceeds Order. If it is an overseas oence, then the UK must have a similar oence to that under which the person in question was committed. For free expression campaigners, this is particularly worrying. Political prisoners are often convicted under public order and terrorism

laws, so it is likely that they would fall within the remit of this provision. Additionally, a person writing about a miscarriage of justice in a jurisdiction with a corrupt or unreliable judicial system would also qualify.

(3) A person (A) is to be regarded as having derived a benet if A secures the benet for another person (B) (whether or not A had any legal right to ensure the benet was so secured or B had any legal entitlement to the benet).

From Clause 142 Relevant oences

(1) In this Part relevant offence, in relation to a person, means (a) an offence by reason of which the person is a qualifying offender, (b) an offence which was taken into consideration by a court in determining the sentence imposed on the person for an offence within paragraph (a), or (c) an offence committed by another person which is associated with an offence within paragraph (a) or (b).

Commentary: A person qualies if they describe or depict an oence committed by someone else. They also qualify if they described the circumstances surrounding an oence for which they protest their innocence. This is likely to become a particularly relevant provision. If a person was convicted of a crime, yet wanted to protest their innocence by means of writing a book, appearing on television, or creating some art, this would be precisely the sort of action that would cause the victims of the crime grave distress.

Commentary: Prots accruing to other people are deemed to be a benet to the ex-convict. Therefore, a charity or rehabilitation group that makes money selling a former prisoners work could nd their prots are aected. When dealing with benet, the entire clause does not limit its discussion only to monetary benet. So someone oered hospitality or training for co-operation with a project could have an equivalent monetary amount seized. There is even a value simply in notoriety and media exposure. This clause empowers the court to in eect impose a ne.

From Clause 144 Applications

(1) A court may not make an exploitation proceeds order except on the application of an enforcement authority. (2) Enforcement authority means (a) in relation to an application to the High Court in England and Wales or to the High Court in Northern Ireland (i) the Serious Organised Crime Agency, or (ii) a person prescribed or of a description prescribed by order made by the Secretary of State;

From Clause 143 Deriving a benet

(2) The exploitation may be by any means, including (a) the publication of any material in written or electronic form; (b) the use of any media from which visual images, words or sounds can be produced; (c) live entertainment, representation or interview.

Commentary: The Secretary of State can give power to any other body to apply for such an order. SOCA today... police forces tomorrow... your local council the day after?
(3) An enforcement authority (other than the Scottish Ministers) may make such an application only with the consent of (a) in the case of an application to the High Court in England and Wales, the Attorney General; (b) in the case of an application to the High Court in Northern Ireland, the Advocate General for Northern Ireland.

Commentary: The law deals with any art or self expression whatsoever. The term Criminal Memoirs is misleading.

Commentary: The Attorney General has to make a decision as to whether to allow an order. This carries the risk of politicizing the law, making it vulnerable to populist campaigns.

From Clause 145 When to proceed

(3) Those matters are (a) the nature and purpose of the exploitation from which (or intended exploitation in connection with which) the respondent derived the benet; (b) the degree to which the relevant material was (or was intended to be) integral to the activity or product and whether it was (or was intended to be) of central importance to the activity or product; (c) the extent to which the carrying out of the activity or supplying of the product is in the public interest; (d) the social, cultural or educational value of the activity or product; (e) the seriousness of the relevant offence to which the activity or product relates; (f) the extent to which any victim of the offence, the family of the victim or the general public is offended by the respondent obtaining exploitation proceeds from the relevant offence.

Commentary: This clause is of deep concern to campaigners for freedom of expression. Although the public interest case (c) is included,

it is not given any greater weight that the other concerns. Therefore, something of great public interest and benet could still be under threat. Second, part (f) the extent to which any victim of the oence, the family of the victim or the general public is oended is a highly problematic statement. It enshrines in law an entirely subjective assessment based around the taking of oence. As George Orwell said, the freedom of expression includes the freedom to oend. While the words or the art of some people may be oensive, this in itself is not a strong enough case to proscribe such words or art. Seizing the proceeds from that creativity undoubtedly does this. Finally, it is noteworthy that the two examples repeatedly cited by the Government as a reason for implementing this new law Mary Bell and Brendon Fearon could both legitimately claim to be of strong public interest.

Appendix B: Famous Prison Writing

The 10 Best Books Written in Prison

Le Morte dArthur by Sir Thomas Malory Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Pilgrims Progress by John Bunyan De Profundis by Oscar Wilde Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure by John Cleland

Our Lady of the Flowers by Jean Genet To Althea, from Prison by Richard Lovelace Pisan Cantos by Ezra Pound Justine by the Marquis de Sade A Hymn to the Pillory by Daniel Defoe

Appendix C Further Reading

Recent Articles

Crime memoirs can help turn the page Caspar Walsh in The Guardian

I work with a wide group of men and women who I encourage to explore the medium of writing as a road to rehabilitation and a possible avenue of income. We begin where all writers begin, with their own experience. The writing obviously involves their crimes, which are wide-ranging... I have some questions for the ministers proposing this bill: Does this mean you will own the publishing copyright on my life? At what point will I stop paying for my previous crimes and misdemeanours? When will we ever learn? Will Self in The Guardian

On prisoner and writer Noel Smith: He wrote to me and we began a relationship that still endures. I thought Noel a good journalist and an accomplished short story writer, but suggested that to break into publishing he should write a memoir of his extraordinary life. This he did, and A Few Kind Words and A Loaded Gun was published last year to much acclaim. Noels book is no glorication of crime, but a selfpitiless examination of his violent oending. He is now undergoing therapeutic rehabilitation for violent oenders, and continues - in often trying circumstances - to write. Government plan to ban criminal memoirs is moronic Sam Leith in The Daily Telegraph

Then you think: Jerey Archer, Nick Leeson, Howard Marks, Jonathan Aitken. You say: hmmm. Then again, you think: conscientious objectors, metric martyrs, foxhunting men, repentant members of the Weather Underground or former Islamists like Ed Husain. You say: hmmmm with even more ms. And then again, you think, Jean Genet. You think William Burroughs. Perhaps if you have that cast of mind, you think Aung San Suu Kyi or Nelson Mandela. Let Criminals Write Edward Greenspan in The Ottawa Sun

Publishers angry at plans to hit criminals memoirs Alison Flood in The Guardian

Houses of Parliament

All Parliamentary documents relating to the Coroners & Justice Bill, including drafts of the Bill, debates and amendments, are collected here:

Home Oce/Ministry of Justice Consultation

Making Sure That Crime Doesnt Pay (Consultation Paper), November 2006

Making Sure That Crime Doesnt Pay: Response to Consultation, January 2009


All text is English PEN under the terms of a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 UK: England & Wales License. Cover image by Lin Pernille (Flickr user linnybinnypix) and licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic Licence 2009

Layout by Bobby Agrawal An online PDF version of this document is online at