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IPP scandal is long way from being resolved, prison reformers warn

THE scandal of Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) is “a long way from being resolved,” prison reformers said today, as thousands of people remain incarcerated under the scrapped sentence.

IPP sentences were introduced in 2005 to prevent serious offenders who did not warrant a life sentence from being released for public safety.

Despite being scrapped in 2012, with the Ministry of Justice describing them as “unjust and long-served,” nearly 3,000 criminals remain behind bars under the sentence.

Offenders released from prison on licence while serving an IPP sentence currently have to wait a minimum of 10 years before they can have their licence reviewed by the Parole Board.

Reforms announced by the government today will mean IPP offenders who are out of prison on licence while serving their sentences are referred for review three years after their first release.

If a licence is not terminated at the three-year mark by the Parole Board, it will automatically end after a further two years if the offender is not recalled to prison in that time.

This is the first time these offenders will have a defined end date for their sentence.

Howard League for Penal Reform director of campaigns Andrew Neilson said that the announcement will be a relief to thousands of families of those who are living in the community but still have the threat of recall to prison hanging over them.

“But the IPP scandal is a long way from being resolved,” he said.

“The changes will do little to help 1,200 people in prison who have never been released, and they will deal a further blow to 1,600 people who have been released on licence but since recalled.

“For them, an end to this shameful saga remains out of sight.”

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