For many years now, I have supported IPP prisoners in their fight for justice. For those who do not know, the Criminal Justice Act 2003 introduced a new type of sentence called Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP). These sentences introduced a minimum tariff to be served in prison until a Parole Board deemed the prisoner fit for release. This means that there is no determinate release date.
The Government says,
'The Parole Board will release an offender only if it is satisfied that it is no longer necessary for the protection of the public for the offender to be confined . If offenders are given parole they will be on supervised licence for at least 10 years.'
The IPP sentence was abolished in 2012 but 2,893 people (as at 31/12/22) who were subjected to this cruel sentence are still in prison. Some IPP prisoners have sadly taken their own lives, and for those still serving their sentence, both the prisoner and their family live in a world without hope.
It was Lord Blunkett, former Home Secretary, who introduced the sentence, but who now claims he did not fully understand how it would work in practice, and agrees that changes are required.
Many IPP prisoners have served years beyond their tariff and are still deemed a risk to the public by Parole Boards. I cannot imagine what must be going through their minds when faced with no real prospect of being released, or for those who are released, the high probability of recall by the probation service. Everybody should have the hope of an end to their sentence, and be treated like all other people serving determinate sentences.
The House of Commons Justice Select Committee have been reviewing the situation and have strongly recommended that the Government should take action to deal with this situation urgently, to give IPP prisoners and their families hope for the future.
Freedom is in the Mind supports this.