IN a response to the Justice Select Committee, the Government has rejected the resentencing and the introduction of fixed term licences for people currently serving Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) sentences.
These sentences were abolished in 2012 but nearly 3,000 people are still serving these sentences in the UK. Those on IPP sentences are on a lifelong sentence which could see them imprisoned indefinitely, or recalled to custody at any given moment. IPP sentences have been shown to inhibit the realistic possibility for reoffending and cause significant mental health issues with higher levels on self-harm and suicide for those serving them.
Campbell Robb, Nacro chief executive, said: “IPP sentences have been abolished. They are cruel and unusual punishment which blocks opportunity for rehabilitation. To not review the sentences of the 3,000 people still held on these sentences, with their lives in perpetual limbo is inhumane, and the further rejection of all the resentencing and licensing recommendations made by the Justice Committee is indefensible.”
Speaking in the Justice Committee press release, the Chair of the Justice Committee, Sir Bob Neill said: “This is a missed opportunity to right a wrong that has left nearly 3,000 people behind. The Committee recognised that addressing this issue would not be easy – that’s why we recommended that a small, time-limited committee of experts be set up to advise on the re-sentencing exercise.
“We are not only disappointed with this government response but genuinely surprised. There is now a growing consensus that a resentencing exercise is the only way to comprehensively address the injustice of IPP sentences and that this can be done without prejudicing public protection.
“Our report said this nettle needed to be grasped by all three branches of the State – Government, Parliament and the Judiciary.
“But the government has not listened. The nettle has not been grasped and, as a result, these people will remain held in an unsustainable limbo.”