What is IPP and why are we campaigning against it?
IPP is short for Indeterminate sentence for Public Protection, first introduced in 2005. Basically, what it means is you have no set end date to your custodial sentence, you have to serve a minimum term set by your trial judge and then you have to sit in front of a parole board and convince them, through what you’ve achieved in custody, that you are not a significant risk to the public before they release you on licence.
Although you will get set a minimum term what makes IPP so unjust is it has a 99-year licence attached to it so for the remainder of your life you are monitored, under scrutiny and pressure in every part of your life, immense overwhelming pressure as you can be returned to custody 'recalled' for any breach of your licence.
There is an option to have the licence revoked after 10 years of release but to date from the more than 8000 people who were handed them one person has achieved that status.
The IPP sentence was abolished in 2012, branded a stain on our justice system, inhumane and not defensible, however is was not done retrospectively thousands more to this day remain IPP prisoners.
As I've already said IPP was introduced in 2005 under the Criminal Justice Act of 2003. The purpose of this sentence was for it to be handed out to offenders convicted of either a serious sexual or violent nature and one which deemed them to be of significant risk to the public. It was projected at the time that maybe a few hundred of these sentences would be handed out, however over 8000 received them and the range of crimes that they were issued for (many of them seen as petty) are one of the most emotive parts of this campaign that families, MP's, barristers, solicitors, reform charities and many others fight today.
No one is saying that we excuse the original crimes committed, most people accept that they or their loved ones did wrong, they mostly deserved a custodial sentence and accept that they needed to serve one under our justice system. What we struggle with is the grossly disproportionate punishment that has followed.
No one is saying that within the 8000 plus people that carry IPP there are not some highly dangerous people who absolutely need to have robust monitoring and restrictions placed upon them to keep our communities safe, what we are fighting for is the reassessment of those initial tariffs, now totally abolished, and replacement with fixed term tariffs or EDS tariffs, as the current day justice systems reflects. This will allow for the thousands trapped within this disastrous sentence to be treated fairly.
We need to raise awareness about these forgotten people and their families.