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Evidence for the Justice Select Committee’s inquiry into Imprisonment for Public Protection sentences


Introduced in 2005, Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) sentences consisted of a tariff (a minimum term of imprisonment, often quite short) after which prisoners were only released if they could show that it was not necessary for the protection of the public that they should be in prison. Once released, these individuals are subject to recall for at least 10 years. These sentences were used more widely and inconsistently than intended. They were abolished in 2012, but the change did not apply retrospectively and many IPP prisoners continue to be held without a release date, despite the overwhelming majority having passed their tariff expiry date. In September 2021, there were 3,018 IPP prisoners, of whom nearly half (1,357) had been recalled.

Boards across the prison estate have repeatedly raised major concerns about the ‘unjust’ and ‘inhumane’ nature of IPP sentences and the detrimental impact on the mental health and wellbeing of prisoners serving these sentences, many of whom are held years beyond their initial tariff date.