A career criminal who has spent 18 years in prison for robbing a mobile phone in a pub has returned to jail because he does not want to live with paedophiles in his post-release hostel.
Lee Armstrong, 41, received an Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) sentence after stealing the mobile phone as he several prior convictions for similar offences.
The IPP sentences were introduced by David Cameron to allow for the continuing detention of recidivists to protect the public.
Lee Armstrong, 41, from Hull, was released from jail five weeks ago and sent to a hostel housing 12 paedophiles in York. He said he could not cope with listening to the sex offenders sharing details of their crimes
Under the terms of his release, Armstrong was supposed to stay at the supervised hostel. Instead he handed himself into police in his native Hull and returned to jail
Armstrong, pictured, was subjected to enhanced supervision following his release from prison for ten years, during which time, if he breaks the rules he will be returned to jail
Upon their release from jail, they are subject to enhanced supervision for at least ten years, during which time, if they re-offend or breach the terms of their licence, they can be returned to jail.
Sitting in a car in Hull, Armstrong said: ‘I’m at the police station handing myself in for absolutely nothing.
‘I have been housed with n****s (sex offenders). Gotta go back to jail. I had got my life sorted out, I’ve got a good family. I’m doing well but it is still not good enough. It’s an absolute joke.’
Armstrong has spent the past five weeks living at a Psychologically Informed Planned Environment (PIPE) Pipeline Hostel.
The unit is a half-way house for life prisoners to help them readjust to life outside jail.
Armstrong claims the York hostel has 12 resident paedophiles and they discuss their crimes among themselves.
The father-of-one said he would be better in jail than listening to the vile stories involving the abuse and manipulation of children.
Armstrong’s mother Kay said her son had been set up to fail. She said he has more than served his original three-year jail term
Armstrong’s mother, Kay said: ‘Nearly 18 years ago Lee got into some bother in a pub and snatched a mobile phone off someone and that was classed as robbery.
‘He had got into trouble as a teenager including robbing someone of their bike so this was his third strike.
‘He was jailed under the Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) scheme with a recommendation of three years in prison. This system was supposed to be used for horrific paedophiles and murderers, the really bad criminals, but judges started dishing them out for the three strikes rule which meant those with low level offences like Lee ended up under the scheme.
‘I thought he would be out after a year and a half but here we are 18 years later. I’ll admit Lee should not have done what he did and he was wrong but this was a cruel, cruel sentence.’
Armstrong had been released two-and-a-half years ago but breached his licencing conditions by failing to stick to an 8.00pm curfew.
His mother said the hostel he was staying in had an outbreak of Legionnaire’s Disease. He said the family found him a flat nearby, but he returned home one night at 9.30pm and was returned to jail for breaching the curfew.
Mrs Armstrong continued: ‘It has taken more than two years to get him released again but he has been sent to a hostel in York which includes lifers such as serious sex offenders. There are 12 paedophiles in there and he could not take living with them.
‘How can they keep sex offenders segregated from other inmates in prison but they all mix in a hostel? He hears them talking about what they have done and he cannot take it. He has pleaded for help and now feels he has no choice but to hand himself back into the police and go back to jail before he does something.’
Mrs Armstrong said she is campaigning for better treatment for the 5,000 prisoners subject to IPP orders.
The sentences have since been scrapped but those who were handed them before their abolition are still subject to the terms.
She added: ‘Lee has done his time and now he should be allowed to just get on with his life and make his own mistakes. He will be on licence for ten years. What they are doing is putting up barriers on their release and setting them up to fail and make mistakes.’
Armstrong’s girlfriend Laura Cunningham said her boyfriend was finding it difficult to readjust to life outside prison.
She said: ‘He talked to staff and took himself out of the situation as he was not comfortable being around child abusers. He wanted to move in with me and start a new life but who knows what will happen now.’
The Probation Service confirmed paedophiles and other sex offenders were housed in the York hostel.
A spokesperson said: ‘This individual asked to be placed at this approved premises during his parole application because he agreed the specialist support they provided would help turn his back on crime.
‘Despite our efforts to help him he has breached his licence conditions and been recalled to prison as a result.’