Prisoners: Imprisonment for Public Protection - Question

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:18 pm on 1 March 2023.

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Photo of Lord Clarke of Nottingham Lord Clarke of Nottingham Conservative 3:18, 1 March 2023

My Lords, it is well over 10 years now since I abolished indeterminate sentences with full cross-party support, including the vocal support of the noble Lord, Lord Blunkett, the Home Secretary who introduced them, because we both agreed that they were being used on a scale, and in a way, that had never been intended or contemplated by Parliament. We never imagined that over 10 years later we would find that over 1,000 people were still serving these sentences, many of them way beyond any minimum sentence that the judge may have recommended when imposing it.

Following on from the last question, I made the mistake of assuming that the Parole Board would steadily release all such prisoners when the time was right, but I also made the mistake of putting the burden of proof on the prisoner to prove that there was no danger. That has failed and there is no point in still defending it. The Government have already rejected resentencing of all the offenders involved. Can the Minister assure me that the plan that is about to be produced will bring an end to the indeterminate, timeless detention of people for whatever crime, some of them quite minor, and replace it with a wholly new sentencing method if indeed some of these people would be a danger if released?