Joint letter on reform of the Imprisonment for Public Protection Sentence

Today a joint letter on reform of the Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) sentences was sent to Shabana Mahmood MP, the new Secretary of State for Justice. The letter is endorsed by a broad coalition of experts, civil society and community organisations, leading activists and campaigners, including JUSTICE, who are opposed to the cruel, inhumane and degrading IPP sentences.  So far, IPP sentences have claimed the lives of 90 people serving them in prison and a further 31 people in the community.

Working at pace to resolve the IPP scandal is the right thing to do. It would also make a tangible, politically palatable, contribution to addressing the urgent population pressures facing the prison system.

IPP sentences were rightly abolished over a decade ago, on the grounds that they were unfair, unworkable and unjust in practice. Despite this, close to 2,800 people are still serving these sentences in prison, with more than 200 others held in secure hospitals. Even more are living in the community under constant fear of recall for minor infractions, or even for mere accusations of wrongdoing. Most people serving IPP sentences and their families have lost all trust in the justice system.

The letter asks the incoming Government to do the following, within the first 100 days of the new Parliament:

1. Bring all the IPP-related provisions in the Victims and Prisoners Act 2024 into force.

2. Publish the first annual report on IPP, which was due to be published by the end of March 2024.

3. Make a ministerial statement to Parliament, setting out the new Government’s plans and timetable to address all the outstanding challenges affecting those under an IPP sentence.

4. Commit to set up an expert committee, in line with the recommendation of the former Justice Select Committee, to advise on the practicalities of a resentencing exercise, with the aim of beginning the exercise within 18 months.

Read the letter in full and the list of signatories