Campaigners are calling for the immediate release of prisoners on the controversial imprisonment for public protection (IPP) sentences left stranded in prison beyond their minimum term.
Last week MPs called for urgent action for those prisoners stranded on the controversial sentences introduced by New Labour and scrapped in 2012. The House of Commons’ justice committee argued that ‘not enough’ had been done and that the problem was becoming worse due to the increasing number of released IPP prisoners being recalled back. You can listen to our podcast on the IPP scandal on the Justice Gap here. The Centre for Crime and Justice has now renewed its call for the immediate release of those prisoners still in prison beyond their tariff – the minimum period required before eligibility for parole. It has also called on the government to re-sentence all IPP prisoners as a matter of urgency. This, the group argues, would focus the re-sentencing exercise on the small group of prisoners who are yet to serve their tariff. The Centre also called for compensation for the prisoners due to the failure to meet mental health needs and for their time in confinement.
The indeterminate sentence was introduced to detain prisoners who posed a significant risk of causing serious harm to the public. The justice committee report revealed that between the sentence’s introduction in 2005 and its abolition ten years ago, 8,711 IPP sentences had been imposed by the courts. As of June this year, there were still 2,926 IPP prisoners including 1,492 who have never been released and 1,434 who had been released but were subsequently been recalled.
‘This report is only the first step in resolving the intolerable situation facing prisoners under the IPP sentence,’ said Richard Garside, the Centre for Crime and Justice’s director. ‘It now requires swift and sustained action by the government to bring to an end, once and for all, this shameful episode in recent sentencing history.’ You can read the Justice Committee report here.