'Phobia' inmate's bid to finish jail term at home fails

A prisoner who suffers social phobia has lost his legal fight to complete his jail term under curfew at home.

The 25-year-old inmate, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, is serving a three-year sentence at Lewes Prison in East Sussex.

His lawyers had argued that jail was the "worst possible environment."

But a judge at the High Court ruled the prison governor's decision to refuse early release on home detention curfew was lawful.

'Not infirm'

The prisoner, from the Brighton area, was jailed for three years in October 2009 after pleading guilty to grievous bodily harm and cruelty to his infant child.

The court heard he has not been out for fresh air or exercise for more than a year and suffered anxiety and panic attacks.

His lawyers said he did not want to finish his term in an open prison because he would have more contact with people.

Giving his decision on the case, Mr Justice Burnett, said: "My conclusion is that the decision of the governor to refuse early release on home detention curfew was lawful.

"Despite the debilitating nature of his mental illness, in my judgement the governor was fully entitled to conclude that the claimant is not infirm as a result."

He said the man was due for release on licence in early April.

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