My brother was jailed for three years…but almost TWO DECISIONS after that he is still locked up and he may never come home

A HEARTBROKEN sister is calling for change this Christmas after her brother faces another festive season behind bars – as a prison sentence has been lifted.

Aaron Graham is still facing an indefinite term in prison after serving a seventeen year sentence, as an indefinite sentence (IPP) was banned in 2012.

Cherrie is calling for system reform after trying to support her brother for years


Cherrie is calling for system reform after trying to support her brother for yearsCredit: Richard Rayner
Aaron and Cherrie haven't been together for 17 years


Aaron and Cherrie haven’t been together for 17 yearsCredit: GIVEN

Cherrie Nichol, 39, spent Christmas for the last time with her brother when they were five years old, and is desperate to bring him home to start a new life.

Aaron was given an unspecified three-year sentence (IPP) to GBH after assaulting a man along with two other men in 2005 – aged 25.

Existing prisoners who have been released from prison remain behind bars after “failing” to prove they are no longer a threat to the public.

Aaron, now 41, was previously convicted of murder at age 13, burglary at age 15, GBH and robbery at age 18 and GBH at age 20 after assaulting a warden.

Following his IPP conviction, he was convicted twice on GBH and once in relation to business – with the final sentence awarded to him when he was 35 years old.

Since his final conviction, Aaron has had three unsuccessful parole hearings, despite working steadfastly on probation for the past six years and avoiding trouble.

His sister is desperate to help rehabilitate her brother, providing him with a job, a stable home and a loving family when he is released.

Cherrie, from Northumberland, feels there’s no reason he can’t go home – and believes he’s a “sitting duck”.

Speaking to The Sun, Cherrie said: “There are still thousands of prisoners being held behind bars with no release date even though the sentence has been lifted.

“My brother and I had a difficult time raising, and he got in trouble a few times as a kid.

“It’s like putting a kid in a sweets shop when he’s in jail initially, you’re troubled in that environment with his anger and emotional problems.

“He has worked hard on parole to prove that he can return home and is no longer a risk, and knowing all his background, I cannot see any reason why he he can’t go home.

“Aaron is a very smart and very artistic guy, but the lack of an end date has really taken a toll on his mental health.

Not sure if his closing sentence is ruining him, I don’t think that’s something I can do.

Cherrie Nichol

“He has no end to his penalty, which in itself is traumatic, and it can cause people to lose hope.

“It was a vicious cycle that he never had a chance to break out of, even though he had a supportive family on the outside who would be able to help him – something a lot of people just have. can dream.

“When he was in his 20s, he was a troubled guy, no one is trying to deny it, he has his problems and is still trying to work on his injury.

“He has reached the age where he wants to have a normal life and back home, he is traumatized by the never ending punishment.

“As for IPP prisoners, they are very easy to target, they can get in trouble for the smallest things, tell someone to shut up or respond in a grumpy way if they are having a bad day.

“Other inmates don’t get such harsh punishment, IPP have a loophole and if they have a bad day and verbally hit back you can be blamed for that.

“The whole thing causes a lot of problems, if you kill someone at least you know the minimum amount of time you have to serve before being released – IPP are just stuck in limbo.”


The Labor Government passed the Criminal Justice Act 2003 to jail prisons for Public Protection sentences made on or after 4 April 2005.

It is used to detain violent and dangerous sex offenders, who have not been sentenced to life in prison, until they are no longer a threat to society.

The sentence was criticized by some MPs, who said it was difficult for prisoners to present themselves as no longer a risk because of limited access to rehabilitation and resettlement programmes.

Cherrie wants to get more done to get thousands of IPPs released, to give them a chance to have a normal life.

“We wanted to support him as much as we could,” she said, “about being an engineer when he went out and found his feet.

“What I really wanted to highlight in sharing our story is the impact on the mental health and families of IPP prisoners.

“We are all because people are punished when they do something wrong, you guys raise your hand.

“He’s in his early twenties, we’ve both been traumatized and raised in care and his anger is part of what he has to deal with.

“But he was punished indefinitely and reaching 41 before he could even try to start over was horrible.

“He wants to settle down, have a family of his own, get a job and it will be easier for him to focus on the positives if he has a proper sentence with an end date.

Both siblings were hit hard by the IPP verdict


Both siblings were hit hard by the IPP verdictCredit: GIVEN

“He is still living in horror of what he did twenty years ago, and he has to wait two years if his pardon hearing is denied.

“IPP’s may have been abolished but there are still people suffering because of them, it is destroying the mental health of prisoners and harming their families.

“My brother entered a foster home when he was 5 years old and we never spent a Christmas together that I can remember.

“It’s a day and a season where people always talk about family, but it’s something we’ve never been able to do in seventeen years.

“Not knowing the end of his sentence is ruining him, I don’t think that’s something I can do.

“He is resilient but that kind of sentence will obviously bring disaster to his body, his mental health will of course decline.

“The past two years with the coronavirus, everyone else knows what it’s like to be alone in times when you want to be surrounded by people.

“You can’t see friends or family, but doing it for 17 straight years will have a big impact on you.

“He used to tell me he didn’t want to be here anymore, and he didn’t want to live.

“The parole board looked at what was written seven years ago, not seeing the person in front of them.

It is a stain on our justice system as 3,054 people are held indefinitely in prison

Donna Mooney, UNGRIPP

“There’s always a reason someone serving a prison sentence could be a risk, but how do they prove they’re not if you don’t give them a chance?”

In a letter to his sister, Aaron said: “Overall, I don’t think my life has changed, that’s me. I died for this sentence a thousand times.

“The future is still uncertain. The Amnesty Board only contacted me to remind me how disappointed I was and to make me keep a secret about what I was not entitled to.

“What helped me get through the sentence was learning to be unselfish and acknowledging that there are people worse off than myself. The saying made me feel weird or disillusioned.”

Earlier this year, the Judiciary Committee launched an investigation into IPP, with more than 1,700 prisoners serving sentences without a release date.

UNGRIPP Spokesperson Donna Mooney said: “IPP sentences were handed down for 153 specific offenses. People who commit those crimes today very rarely receive life sentences.

“It is a stain on our justice system that 3,054 people are held indefinitely in prison because they committed a crime in a failed sentencing trial based on what they were able to do, no right what they were actually doing.

“This has resulted in thousands of people being incarcerated in prison beyond their tax time limit, with hundreds serving more than 10 years behind their original tax rates.

“This is different from any senseless notion of justice and has devastating, sometimes fatal, consequences.

“The IPP verdict has no place in a fair and just society. The government must change it, or it risks further eroding trust in the criminal justice system.”

Cherrie is looking forward to supporting her brother when he is released


Cherrie is looking forward to supporting her brother when he is releasedCredit: Richard Rayner
She commends Lord Blunketts for trying to change the IPP sentences


She commends Lord Blunketts for trying to change the IPP sentencesCredit: GIVEN My brother was jailed for three years…but almost TWO DECISIONS after that he is still locked up and he may never come home


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