Prison Sentences

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 24th June 2019.

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Photo of Gregory Campbell Gregory Campbell Shadow DUP Spokesperson (International Development), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Cabinet Office)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of imprisonment for public protection sentences.

Photo of Robert Buckland Robert Buckland The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

The assessment of the sentence of imprisonment for public protection (IPP) found that they had been used far more widely than intended, and the IPP sentence was subsequently abolished in 2012 and replaced with a new regime of determinate sentences alongside life sentences for the most serious offenders.

Attention is now focused on reducing the risk and thereby the successful rehabilitation of those prisoners who continue to serve the IPP sentence. A joint action plan is in place, co-owned by Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) and the Parole Board, with the specific aim of providing opportunities for prisoners to progress towards safe release. The plan reviewed regularly to ensure that the actions in it meet the changing needs of the IPP population.

This approach is working, with high numbers of unreleased IPP prisoners achieving a release decision year on year: 562 in 2015, 576 in 2016, 616 I 2017 and 506 in 2018. However, it is important to remember that prisoners serving IPP sentences have committed serious sexual or violent offences - and many remain in prison because the independent parole board has assessed their risk of serious harm to the public to be too great to warrant their release.

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