Our primary responsibility is to protect the public. Prisoners serving IPP sentences will be released only when the independent Parole Board concludes that the risk to the public is capable of being safely managed in the community under probation supervision.
Many of these prisoners pose a high risk of committing further violent or sexual offences, and it would be wrong to simply release them en masse. For that reason, we have no plans to abolish IPP sentences or make other legislative changes.
We are committed to providing IPP prisoners with opportunities to progress to the point at which they are safe to release. Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) continue to review the cases of post tariff IPP prisoners who have failed to achieve release or progression to open prison conditions, despite two or more parole reviews, as well as those who received a tariff of 2 years or under. These Case File Reviews (CFRs) enable HMPPS Psychology Services to consult with Offender Managers in order to shape their pathway towards progression. To date, over 1,500 CFRs have taken place, with 284 IPP prisoners from this cohort having achieved release, and a further 355 a progressive move to open conditions.
The CFRs are one of the actions in the HMPPS and Parole Board Joint Action Plan, which aims to support prisoners serving IPP sentences. Through the joint Action Plan, HMPPS prioritise post-tariff prisoners in accessing rehabilitative interventions, and deliver a number of initiatives, including the establishment of Progression Regimes at four prisons across the country. Progression Regimes work with prisoners serving indeterminate sentences, who are struggling to achieve release through the usual routes.
There is clear evidence that these measures are working. IPP prisoners are being released in large numbers, and have a high chance of a positive outcome from Parole Board hearings. As of 31 December 2019, the number of unreleased IPP prisoners who have completed their minimum tariff was 1,985. This is down from 2,255 on 31 December 2018.