IPP (Imprisonment for Public Protection) Sentences
IPP sentences were introduced in 2005 and abolished in 2012. These were a form of indeterminate sentence (effectively “until further notice”) intended to protect the public against criminals whose crimes were not serious enough to warrant a life sentence but who were regarded as too dangerous to be released when the term of their original sentence had expired. An IPP sentence was composed of a punitive “tariff” intended to be proportionate to the gravity of the crime committed and an indeterminate period which commenced after the expiration of the tariff and lasted until the Parole Board was satisfied that the prisoner no longer posed a risk to the public and was fit to be released
Although there is no limit to how long prisoners can be detained under IPPs, and some may never be released, they may be released on the recommendation of the Parole Board after the initial tariff has been served, so in that regard, an IPP sentence is not the same as a sentence of life imprisonment with a whole life tariff.
In 2007 the High Court ruled that the continued incarceration of prisoners serving IPPs after tariff expiry where the prisons lack the facilities and courses required to assess their suitability for release was unlawful and in 2010 a joint report by the chief inspectors of prisons and probation concluded that IPP sentences were unsustainable with UK prison overcrowding and in 2012 IPP sentences for new cases was abolished.
Whilst IPP sentences for new cases were abolished, however, the ruling was not retrospective and as of 2016 there were over 4000 prisoners still serving custodial sentences in the UK with no fixed release date.
Our IPP solicitors get calls from families sometimes worried that their loved ones are still in prison despite having reached the tariff. There is a misconception that the tariff date is the release date but unfortunately this is incorrect. The tariff date is the minimum date that must be reached before the prisoner can be considered for release. In order to be released they must convince the Parole Board that they are rehabilitated and no longer a risk to the public.
Unfortunately, there are people in prison who are no longer a risk to the public but due to the availability of resources are in a kind of limbo waiting to be assessed for release by the Parole Board.
It is possible to appeal against an IPP sentence and we can help. Our IPP solicitors are ready to take your call, on 01623 397200.