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April 05, 2007

There has been a huge increase in the number of prisoners serving life or indeterminate sentences - Emily Kingham explains why and assesses the impact of this on the prison system

Posted by Emily Kingham

A new type of indeterminate or life prison sentence - the IPP - was introduced in April 2005. This has meant that there has been a significant increase in the number of prisoners without a fixed release date. Writer-in-residence Emily Kingham assesses the impact of this upon the prison system.

Since December last year I have met several prisoners who have received a strange, new sentence called an IPP. What these initials stand for is causing some confusion amongst them. You would think, since it effects them so closely, they would know exactly what it means. However, there are two in particular with whom I work closely, who are unsure as to what has happened to them: "Jimmy" calls his sentence, "Imprisonment for Public Protection". Martin calls his, "Indeterminate Sentence for Public Protection". Martin, in fact, has two such sentences, so I reckon he really does know what he is talking about. But when it comes to understanding what these sentences mean, Martin and Jimmy are not the only ones to be confused by this new sentencing policy. No one in the prison service or the judiciary knows what it means.

In Jimmy's case he has been set a tariff of two years, at which point he will be assessed for parole. If he has complied with his sentence plan, undertaken the courses in behavioural therapy and drug rehabilitation that were recommended, and can convince the board that he no longer poses a risk, he will be released on a life licence. The prospect terrifies him. For once, I do believe that I have a prisoner in front of me who is genuinely ready to make changes in his life. Even so - even if he goes straight - I can understand the fear of living under the threat of life imprisonment. If he makes any wrong move, if he is in the wrong place at the wrong time - if, for instance, a fight breaks out in a chip shop on a Friday night, and he is standing there innocently awaiting his order - with his record, he will be arrested. Furthermore, if someone in that chip shop has a grudge against him and stands witness against him, he will be sentenced to life imprisonment.

By the way, my answer to this hypothetical scenario was, "Don't go to the chip shop on a Friday night, then". I wasn't being facetious. And I don't think he was either when he said, if this is what it takes, he's all set for the Outer Hebrides.

But Jimmy and Martin (who really is a danger to the community and should be in a mental-health secure unit) are just two repeat offenders banged up for violence, theft and general disregard for decent conduct. I am also working with an 18-year-old whose IPP sentence was attached to a tariff of 18 months for street burglary. He had two previous convictions for the same offence so an IPP has been slapped on him (like a preservation order). Every day I meet young men in their twenties who are "on an IPP". In fact, there are currently more prisoners serving indeterminate sentences than there are serving sentences of less than 12 months. The reason for this surge in numbers is that the courts have found IPP (and Martin's interpretation of these italics is the correct one), introduced in the Criminal Justice Act 2003 and implemented from April 2005, particularly attractive.

I think this is because they don't know what to do with recidivists and this new sentence makes them feel decisive. And it gives them so much leeway: there are 153 specified offences for an IPP compared to 11 offences for an automatic life sentence. These 153 offences include stalking, exposure and racial assault as well as the more serious, sex and violence offences. The sentence can even be used for a first offence as long as the defendant is deemed dangerous. This is a major departure in British criminal justice brought about by David Blunkett, who, for some unspecified reason, thought it would be a good idea to sentence people based on their potential risk rather than on the facts before the court.

Politicians need to be seen to be doing something. As long as it looks as though you're in control, it doesn't matter what the consequences are. This lack of consideration for others or for the future is somewhat akin to the thought processes found in prisoners on IPP sentences.

But the consequences are this: indeterminate sentenced prisoners account for 11 per cent of the prison population. A significant proportion are young adults aged 18 to 21 years old and children under 18. Over the past year there has been a doubling in the number of children in prison who don't know when they will be leaving, rising from 24 to more than 50. For young adults the rise has been equally dramatic, jumping from 211 to more than 400.

Not surprisingly, the IPP is creating significant challenges for an overstretched prison system. Prisons are supposed to implement a staged movement through the system for lifers and those on indeterminate sentences. This staged movement has collapsed.

For Jimmy, there is further confusion. He received his IPP sentence while on probation, so not only is he serving a new sentence, he is also on recall having broken the conditions of his original licence. The judge ordered that the IPP tariff of two years come into effect after the nine months of recall had been served. The judge made a mistake: this is unlawful and the courts of appeal are already stacking up with these unlawful applications of the tariff. Jimmy should be serving his IPP sentence contemporaneously with his old one. The judge's confusion is understandable, the effects on the prison service are disastrous. Prisoners like Jimmy on an indeterminate life sentence are clogging up local prisons that are not equipped to manage them. Furthermore, category D lifers are remaining held up in category C prisons. Overall there has been a huge reduction in the number of lifers going into open conditions.

As Enver Solomon, deputy director of the Centre for Crime & Justice Studies, wrote in Inside Time:

When long-term prisoners are left languishing in local jails without being moved on it has serious consequences. It remains virtually impossible for somebody in custody serving a life sentence to do any work on reducing their risk to the public until they get to a first-stage lifer prison. Inevitably people's chances of enrolling on the courses and engaging in the programmes that are going to demonstrate to the Parole Board that their risk of re-offending has been markedly reduced are severely and unfairly delayed.
It isn't just the prison service that cannot cope with the complexities of this hastily conceived sentencing policy. The Parole Board is struggling, too. The Chair of the Parole Board, Professor Sir Duncan Nichol, has highlighted the absurdity of the fact that many prisoners, like Jimmy and the 18-year-old I mentioned, serving IPP sentences have short tariffs because their offence was not in itself serious. This means that prisoners could be eligible for release very soon after being sent to prison following trial. The danger here is that the prisons will barely have had time to assess the individuals, and the Parole Board's
role in assessing his risk to the public is rendered almost academic by the fact that nothing has changed in the very short period between the sentencing judge deciding he is a significant risk and the Board considering his case hence an enormous amount of resources are expanded on what can sometimes appear to be a futile exercise.
Prisons, probation and the Parole Board have found themselves in a situation that they do not properly understand as a result of sentencing reforms that should have been more carefully considered.

In short, there are currently 1,890 offenders jailed without a fixed release date which means that the UK now has more people behind bars for indeterminate periods than any other country in Europe. And we don't know what to do with them.

Emily Kingham is the pseudonym of a writer-in-residence at a Category B prison in South East England. She is a writer and journalist. To read Emily Kingham's previous columns on prison life see Notes from a Prison.

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my boyfriend is currently serving an ipp sentence for violence, his tariff is 3 years.and i agree the judges r slapping them on people 4 any reason possible. my boyfriend is in are local prison were do not do the courses he needs 2 do and the prison wont help him in any way its a disgrace. all i want to no is a date when he will be coming home, i would of rather him got 6 years than an ipp of 3years.

Posted by: kirbey vickers at July 16, 2007 06:13 PM

My son has an IPP of just 5 months but there is no chance of him geting courses - he could be in there many years. Totaly unfair and unlawful - isn't against his human rights?

Posted by: R.T. at August 12, 2007 11:30 PM

My brother is serving an IPP - and rather than helping him rehabilitate it is destroying him! He was in a local jail offering nothing so moved to a Private Jail over a 100 miles from home, still they offer nothing! And the added bonus is has one visit in 5 wks - not helping! We need any advice we can on speeding up the IPP sentence is there anybody who can help? Or anybody that has a success story on appealing against IPP?

Posted by: RP at October 14, 2007 10:22 AM

No success story, I am sorry to say, but an article in the press on Tuesday 16 Oct gave info from a leaked Government doc that Jack Straw is looking at the possibllity of limiting the IPP sentences to criminals who receive longer jail terms, possibly introducing a minimum tariff below which the IPP would not be available or giving the courts more discretion. So a glimmer of hope. Doesn't help the day to day angst though. My son is in Peterborough prison, where no courses are available, and as a VP, he is locked up most of the time. An 18 month tariff , in my son's case, and any other length of tariff, with no release date to work towards is very inhumane.

Posted by: Pat at October 18, 2007 12:08 PM

My ex-son in law is on an ipp of 18months and is coming into his third year of imprisonment. He is not able to take any courses in the jail he is in. I have written to Jack Straw and the PM and several other influential bodies. The whole IPP system is a disgrace and the lad is being held unlawfully - what is the criminal justice system coming to. He has been in jail for violence before but on this occasion was drunk and abusive but did not hurt anybody. I care for his daughter who is nearly 15 - she was twelve when her dad went to jail - what an awful thing for children to have to deal with to be stigmatised by the fact that her father is a lifer. It is very scary that this has been allowed to happen in this day and age. There must be something we can all do to help our relatives return to their families. Yes some people deserve it but not this lad - I have known him for seventeen years and he does not deserve to be serving a life sentence. It is what happens afterwards that is equally as disturbing as these people will have to watch their backs for life. My grandchildren are without a father for another Christmas - I would like to have a face to face talk with the policy makers - this has destroyed a whole family and done him no good at all to be 'warehoused' with no communication from anybody - no explanation why his parole dates have been cancelled over and over again - what about the solicitors, why aren't they doing their jobs in ensuring that justice prevails - maybe they are as confused as the rest of us by this ridiculous order. Lets hope that sensibility prevails in the end and the Government wake up to the fact that this sentence needs outlawing and somehting needs to be in its place that does protect the public but that is fair and just.

Posted by: helen kinzett at November 19, 2007 07:09 PM

My goodness! My partner was just given an ipp on friday 18th January, I didn't realise how serious it is. The barrister said that he will be appealing against it, but after reading different stuff on the net I am a bit worried now.

Posted by: Lorraine at January 20, 2008 12:51 AM

Hello everyone,

Please could you sign my petition to parliament by using the link below, if you agree with the content. If you could also forward the link to as many people as possible it would be greatly appreciated. Apologies if you have already recieved this email.

I feel the law needs to be changed to help the falsely accused and wrongfully convicted who have committed no crimes but are serving indefinite sentences nonetheless. At least 200 signatures are required for the government to take notice of my petition. There are 140 signatures to date but the more the better. Since the introduction of the indeterminate sentence for public protection in 2005 it's possible for a person to be detained for up to 99 years if they do not address their offending behaviour. What hope then if you are an innocent person wrongly convicted!? How can anyone be expected to feel remorse and guilt for crimes that never happened? This outrageous sentence must be scrapped as it is adding to the already overcrowded prison system and is placing many innocent people in a bureaucratic limbo from which there is no escape. The man I love is innocent and he is on an IPP SENTENCE...HE FEARS HE WILL NEVER GET OUT.

Posted by: Kaystella at February 2, 2008 08:01 PM

Just to give a slight glimmer of hope! i have a friend coming to tariff expiry after two and half years. He spent 18 months in a local but did get moved then to 1st stage - keep nattering, get them to keep writing applications to the gov, put a note in IMB box on wing, get your solicitor to keep writing.

He has now completed virtually all courses and reports have been written - tariff exp is June - we will have to wait and see what happens!

But remember - behaviour counts on these IPPs. Keep on enhanced status, keep your nose clean and try and be positive! It has worked for my friend.

Good luck

Posted by: sue at February 21, 2008 09:09 PM

l agree ipp sentences need to be abolished its barbaric to imprison people for life they might as well hang them as theres no light at the end of the tunnel l would like to see one of there close relatives in a situation of life imprisonment who pass these laws and feel the heartache l feel B jones

Posted by: brenda jones at March 5, 2008 06:54 PM

i was sentanced in 2005 to an ipp of two years, i am now out but did serve 6 months over my time as there was no judge to sit my oral board. i think these sentances are dispicable as it was my first time ever commiting an offence and there was no proof to say i am a danger to the public only to the known victim . my barrister said because i am female the judge wanted to use my Co D and myself as an example. Being out now is not much different sometimes i wish i was in jail as im in a probation hostol and the amount of supervision is so uneccesary. does any one know if Ipps can go on holiday while on license?

Posted by: m'nessa at April 16, 2008 03:16 PM

I tried to give a glimmer of hope back in Feb but I need to update you all! My friend is now days from tariff expiry, all courses completed but no hearing date in fact dossier not even complete. And it looks like he'll be recommended for C Cat or D Cat. So it looks like if you do do everything that's expected and actually manage to do your courses it makes no difference they still won't let you out! My question to anyone who fully understands Phase 3 of these IPPs is what else can be done? To prove the risk is reduced and courses have been successful then someone has to take the risk and release them.

Posted by: Sue at May 30, 2008 09:10 PM

after reading all the comments on ipp i am terrified for my son whom as been told he could be facing IPP.I have read somewere on the internet that IPP is to be looked at by jack staw on the 14.july 2008 lets hope its all positive for everyone and theres a dramatic change in the system

Posted by: sandra abbott at July 12, 2008 10:55 PM

My boyfriend is on an ipp, for the offence of basically seeing me and getting me pregnant. I was 15, he was 19. Obviosuly I didn't press charges the police just found out and charged him anyway.

His tariff was 9 months. I am now 16 so when he gets out we wont have any of this trouble anymore coz im legal. But the fact is, we don't no when they will release him.

Although his tariff expired in june, hes just been given a date of 14th august for parole (only two months late) he has done the course he had to do he is enhanced etc . so hopefuly he will get out. altho he has to do a resettlemnt course first which will take another 3 weeks.
he is no risk to the public at all an not even a risk to me anymore, hence my age. if they cant see tht they are mad. also he now has a 8 month old son who they are keeping him from. we've been together 3 years the police thort they would split us up but we love eachother.
the ipp sentence is ridiculous something needs doing. and fast. it is the worst thing in the world not having a release date !!

Posted by: kellie gains at July 24, 2008 01:06 AM

just a reminder as i have written before on the ipp sentencing
why has no one in power got rid of this law can they not see how inhuman it is once these people have done there time they should be automaticly released whether they have done courses or not and they caertainly should not be on licence for life yes we are at this moment in time worse than any other country to the way we treat are prisoners they have to tell lies admitting to things that have not happened the way the authorities believe they happened as to get a chance at parole this is wrong its not teaching them in fact it enhances bitterness l am a truthful person may of told a little white lie once or twice in my life but nothing that would l believe spoil my chances of going to heaven and standing before almighty god but can these people make such a claim when they meet there maker B Jones

Posted by: B Jones at August 20, 2008 09:41 AM

i myself have a partner on a 3 year ipp sentence and i am also disgusted at these type of sentences. yes he committed a crime but is it really fair to leave prisoners and their loved ones wondering if they will even ever be together again. ihave asked his solicitor if their is anyway they could appeal and seem to have drawn a blank. is there anyone out there who has known anyone whos actually been released on their first parole

Posted by: kerry at August 23, 2008 03:24 PM

hi, my partner was sentenced in january 08 for 2 years on IPP..i didnt no much about it but my partner was tellin me that he has to do courses etc etc...he has done several courses now and has done 8 months,apparently now he has to move to a cat c?? im still a bit confused about it all. After reading what everyone has put i dont think me and my partner stand a chance for him comin out after 2 years! It is absoloutley awful that they are not giving them a release date, fair enough they have comitted crime but there is also family and loved ones who are involved who havnt comimited crimes. me an my partner have a daughter who is 2 now and will be 4 when he is supposed to be comin out. he is missing out on her early years now how can he miss more?? they need to change this stupid law hurrendous

Posted by: rhirhi at August 29, 2008 12:14 AM

My partner was sentenced to a two and a half year ipp and should have been coming home to me and our two children this Friday, but he stil havent gone in front of the parole board and we have now been told, 'that maybe they will fit him in, in November'. He has done every coarse possible (33 in total) but is unable to do be moved to complete one of the coarses on is sentence planning. we wrote to our local MP, the governors at the prisons and every complaints department that there could be, but yet it seems we'r stil as far away from freedom as the day that he was sentenced. Will this sentence ever end? Is there light at the end of the tunnell?

Posted by: nik at October 1, 2008 04:01 AM

gordon brown needs to order jack straw to abolish the ipp sentences on those already in prison it is a discraze of these people in power to put such sentences on people when a sentence has been served they should be released with no conditions on them who do these people think they are god no way the only thing l can see happening if they dont abolish it is that one day all hell will break loose as were all human and this is an inhuman sentence B Jones

Posted by: b jones at October 20, 2008 01:55 PM

my boyfriend is coming up to the end of his ipp sentence, he was sentenced to 6yrs 10mnths and told his tarriff period was half of that minus time served on remand which means that he is due for release in april. He has recently signed his parole papers to get things moving and has completed the course he was required to do, ETS. However he spent nearly 3 years in a local jail that offered no courses that would benefit him and was shipped out more than 100 miles away to start his rehabilitation. He has now completed that course plus more that he himself thought would benefit him and was not required to do so. He is still a cat b prisoner after 3 and a half years and is continuously denied being recatogorised to cat c. If he has been a model prisoner and exceeded what he needed to do but is still classified unfit for cat c then why are they bothering filling in forms for his parole when they are more than likely going to refuse it, after all if he is too dangerous to be cat c prisoner then they are going to deem him unfit to be released. He is classed as a danger to the public but he is the nicest lad you could wish to meet, he would never harm just anyone and would help anyone in a bad situation. thats what got him where he is today. i know he committed a crime and should be punished for it but he has been punished and should not be punished for the rest of his life. he was helping a friend in need and admittedly went too far for which he is deeply sorry, however the other people involved his co d's were all released after a year or so and did not recieve life sentences like him. it is not only my partner that has recieved the life sentence, i have too, as has his family. i love him more than anything and will always stand by him but i am always going to be on tenterhooks incase there is any trouble near to where he is or if someone with a grudge accuses him falsely and then he returns to jail for at least 15 years leaving his children behind. these ipp sentences need to be looked at and either changed dramatically or abolished, not only are they against peoples human rights, the government doesnt seem to have any specific guidlines and rules regarding them, the goalposts are forever moving but always to the negative side. how can one person deem someone to be a danger to the public and take there liberty away for an ungiven amount of time? its basically the death sentence except in the ipp sentence instead of killing you they ruin urs and ur families lives!! leaving people who are deemed a danger so therfore need rehabilitating, languishing in jails with no hint of rehabilitation or help for their problems is not a solution its the root of further problems

Posted by: vicky at November 12, 2008 01:04 PM

My boy friend was sentenced 25-feb-08 he received a 5 year ipp
he will serve 30 months of this hes done 10 mths to date and 3 main courses. He is a C cat and was catergrised as a c cat on arrival. He is also enhanced in Pentonville prison. Hes on a band2 hes doin the band1 course now and then after chrisms he will have he band1 plus, where buy he will be allowed in to caladonian road to clean up ect. so allowed out of prison. We have got legel advise again and they think we should appeal the ipp. which we are doing and i will up date u on the progress.

Posted by: Donna brooks at December 16, 2008 08:31 PM


Posted by: SANDRA TAYLOR at January 16, 2009 07:18 PM

my son was given an ipp sentence on 27th jan 2009 he had a pre sentence report that deemed him no threat to the public or himself but the judge just disregarded this and said i dont agree you are a danger he has a 2yr ipp and has courses to do but nobody seems to offer these courses so he could be there for yrs to come and is missing out on his 3 yr old son whom im caring for now theses ipps are rediculous this was his first offence and he gets this total unjust and i believe this new ipp sentence should be abolished even more so when one on the cps witnesses was found to be lying on 2 counts of what she had swore in her statement

Posted by: elaine spencer at February 15, 2009 12:18 AM

My brother has just served 2yrs and 6mnths on remand in wandsworth prison. He has just recieved a Ipp tarriff of 3yrs to serve on top then he can apply to parole board to come out. My brother's previous has no violence but yet a probation officer came and assessed him and has written completly the oppsite of what he said on the day. Ie min to re offend etc
His report was a disgrace considering they assesed him for an hour. My brother will be appealing this Ipp as my brother had another friend that went down for same offence yet he was given no IPP. This guy has robbery,gun charge snatching rolex watch etc and seems to re offend everytime he is out . But because he played the system and got a wing officer to write he was a model prisoner inside he never got it.
Which is a lie as if the judge had got a report on this guy from the actual governer he would have found out he has done no courses and is always in the block and always in fights etc.
This system is so unfair know i am worried about my brother as he has 2 daughters and we need to know when he will be out..
He has signed up for courses but is on a waiting list?????Plse can someone help ??? Abolish this silly IPP i would rather my brother be on a extended licence..

Posted by: Jo at March 7, 2009 05:37 PM

my husband was given an ipp in 2007 for a first offence his sentance expired in feb but due to a bad probation officer not cmpleting reports hes been denied release and is now bein moved to anpther prison d cat 3 hrs train and bus travel from myself and our children. the law needs 2 be changed

Posted by: marie at June 28, 2009 11:19 PM

Please sign a petition at

by presenting this to the government it may have some effect on their thinking.

Posted by: Mary at August 11, 2009 10:28 AM

My husband is currently serving an i.p.p sentence with a minimum tariff of 2year and 9months, before being considered for parole. He is 16months into his sentence with a clean record, he is enhanced as well as a wing rep, listener etc etc. I dont fully understand these i.p.p's, but i did think that if you kept your nose clean and did your mandatory courses then you would get your first parole, however after reading alot of these comments i dont feel as positive!! I, like many of you think my husband is harmless and the nicest guy you could wish to meet and definitely is no danger to the public, he was released on unconditional police bail for 18months whilst investigations were taking place, he obviously wasn't a danger to the public then, what changed??? I am in the same opinion as all of you, how can a probation officer give a report about you when she only meets you for 1 hour, your fate rests in her hands, i believe she was prejudice and so was the judge, he reserved my husbands case so that he could deal with him personally, he knew what sentence he was gonna hand down. I have written to Jack Straw, hoping that he will have some compassion and help my family be reunited, now im not so sure that I'll even get a reply as so many of you have written to him regarding your own stories. The justice system is all messed up, your're damned if you do and damned if you dont. I hope they scrap the I.P.P's as its not working the way it was intended. Good luck to everyone lets hope this system changes to benefit us all.

Posted by: anna kitchen at August 17, 2009 08:09 PM

Anna - you are experiencing the same pain and anguish that all of us who have a loved one with an IPP are experiencing. Keep strong and keep protesting whenever you can.

Please sign a petition, details below, because if the government respond to this it will have long term effects on anyone with an IPP.

Posted by: Mary at September 7, 2009 08:14 PM

abolish ipp sentences on thoes who have them its inhuman once a sentence has been served they should be released not put on a licence

Posted by: b jones at November 11, 2009 09:53 AM

we should all get a huge appeal going to have all ipp senteces abolished especially on thoes serving them it is the most inhuman act in the world i agree people should serve there time and indeed be remorseful but to lock up people for life is not right at all this law needs lots of publicity to get it abolished i have been fighting for my loved one for almost four years come march 2010 he got thirty months done every course and more also hes a model prisoner they have broke him and the family this was a domestic which the police and judge and are brief actually plotted all together in fact our brief hung himself less than a month after my sons sentence i like to believe he had realised what he had done as he was a nice bloke once the police actually threatened my sons partner by saying we will have your child put in care if you dont make a statement condeming my son she admits she was scared we actually have a tape of one police officers threat someone tell me how to achieve abolishing ipp sentences on thoes in prison

Posted by: b jones at November 20, 2009 10:43 AM
Please sign the petition to fight I.P.P. sentences...

I have read all your stories and I am shocked and very saddened at how many people are suffering with loved ones in prison serving I.P.P. sentences without a light at the end of the tunnel, regardless of how much they try to reform and prove themselves worthy of release.
When these I.P.P's were introduced in 2005, judges handed them out on a whim to so many people as a deterent, even though their crimes were not of a serious nature, and they did not present a risk to the public.
A lot of problems resulted from giving out so many of these sentences, therefore it was reviewed and judges were told to exert more caution before handing out I.P.P. sentences, but unfortunately that does not help the wrongly sentenced people already serving them.
I feel strongly that once a person has done their tarriff, been a model prisoner and addressed their offending behaviour then they should be integrated back into the community and be returned to their family and children to re-build their life and not have to live in fear of being on licence for the rest of their life.
But for most of us here, it is a sad fact that this is just not happening, prisoners are left stagnant in the prison system and their progress hindered. Not only does the prisoner and their family have to deal with such a severe prison sentence, but the probation service who are supposed to work with prisoners during their sentence actually have stopped prisoners from having contact with their children in the later stages of rehabilatation for no good reason, why?

It is a cruel and demoralising punishment, therefore we need to try to take action and get the laws changed on I.P.P's.

Please show your support and sign our petition at

Please pass the petition address onto relatives, friends and ask if they can sign it also, we need everyone's support to make a real difference.

Thanks for listening, my thoughts go out to the people and families struggling through with these situations, fingers crossed in time we can get this I.P.P. abolished... :)

Posted by: Miss B Jones at November 25, 2009 10:09 PM

Ms B Jones I have just signed your petittion as i have two brothers serving IPP Sentences . I have also passed onto Mary as i know she has just completed a petetion regarding IPP Sentences .The deadline is this correct Nov 2010???????

Posted by: Jo at November 26, 2009 11:31 PM

Thanks Jo we need all the help we can get to abolished this dreadful law i want to try and get all relatives and friends of all serving ipp prisoners to sign in support please ask them to sign for a better chance of getting this inhuman law changed B Jones

Posted by: Brenda Jones at November 28, 2009 12:40 PM

I have also posted your Petition link on this site below:-

Posted by: Jo at November 28, 2009 11:23 PM

Hi Jo
Thats my mum above, bless. Thanks for your support, just to let you know, I have checked it out and we can stop the e-petition deadline at any time, we just have to give the petitions team 48 hours notice. Once we have enough signatures I will definately get it submitted at the earliest opportunity.
Fingers crossed hey! :)

Posted by: Miss B Jones at November 30, 2009 08:26 PM

I am very concerned for this goverment who I see are losing votes rapidly through this ridiculous IPP system.prisons are over crowded what do they do let out murderers with a date and keep IPP prisoners locked up....I have a friend who has just recieved this IPP sentence and I for one won't vote and a lot others I have spoken too have agreed this is unfair.......It's his first offence and he shouldn't have got this IPP first time...I have also written to Jack Straw but I think the letter drops on deaf ears until they realise they will be OUT next election they won't do nothing...Gordon Brown--Stop this NOW....IPP OUT..

Posted by: Concerned Voter at December 28, 2009 09:49 PM

I've just stumbled on this blog but recognise some of the names on it from my work on another (better run) one. e.g Jo? (Where the blog owner replies usefully, often at length.)
I work as a volunteer on the Independent Monitoring Board of a large prison, and have some experience of IPPs. So I'd just like to correct one thing 'Emily Kingham' said at the beginning of her very sympathetic blog. Unfortunately she wasn't correct in saying that if and when an IPP prisoner is released he is on permanent licence for life. Lifers with determinate sentences who get out are, but IPP'ers can appeal to have their licence revoked after 10 years. I know it's a long time, and I know a pathetically small number of IPP'ers have been released so far; but 10 years isn't life.
Other details people might find useful are:
1. Since July 14th 2008 IPPs can only be attached to tariffs of 2 years or longer. ( But unfortunately anyone given an IPP with a tariff of 2 years or less on July 13th 2008 or earlier will still have to work out their IPP. I know, it's appalling. In January 2010 there were 1305 prisoners in that group, 1197 of them beyond tariff.)
2. Since April 1 2009 the Parole Board has been able to consider paper-only submissions for release from both lifers and IPPers without the prisoner being present. i.e just your parole file. This is a double-edged sword - it helps speed things up, but if you aren't so good on paper you might prefer to present yourself personally. Relatives and friends should make this known. (It might not have percolated down to the prisoners in all prisons...)
I'm sorry so many people suffer so much from this Blunkett-drafted law. What an advert for the Labour Party! (My party - or what's left of it.) I'll look in on this blog weekly to see if I can be of help.
Some of us are doing a lot of work to try to get this sentence exposed to the public for what it is.

Posted by: Bob at February 25, 2010 12:03 AM

hi, i commented on here a while back and was reading all of the comments that have been posted since. i think a lot of people are very naive where the ipp sentence is concerned and believe that if the prisoner keeps his head down then he will be released on first parole date. this is so far from the truth its hard to comprehend. out of nearly 6000 ipp's, only 99 have been released since 2005 and 25 of those have already been recalled. Andrew Sutnell mp has started an early day motion to bring this and the latest inspection report by the probation and prison service to the attention of ministers. the EDM (EDM 1047), needs as many signatures from MPs as possible. it would be a great help if u could all ask ur local MP to sign this motion. so far only 9 MPs have signed. I have also come across a website that is very helpfull and informative on all aspects of prison. The forum is great and the ladies/men that use the site are a godsend. it is

Posted by: vicky at March 20, 2010 10:28 AM

my partner recieved his ipp sentence in 2006 with a 2year tariff, his first parole was turned down an he did eventually make it to a d cat prison. he went for parole again and was refused and felt like he had no hope left and that no-one was listening to him. He couldn't take any more and absconded. he has since bin caught and is back in a b cat prison and we have to start the whole process again his daughter is already 8 he knows it was wrong to run but what would you do in that situation, i know i would have done the same.

Posted by: amy at March 26, 2010 07:00 PM

My son was given a Ipp sentence in 2006 - having to serve 6 years before parole. Our local prison do not do the courses he needed so he was transferred miles away to do the necessary courses. He was then transferred back and has behaved impeccibly since and earned a lot of respect throughout the prison. This is not enough for the parole board, they have set him a batch of new courses now which means they have to find him a prison where these can be undertaken and tough luck if they dont. I feel really frightened for him and his future now and am desperate for the law to be changed,

Posted by: linda cassalger at April 2, 2010 09:55 PM

my boyfriend is curently serving a 5 year ipp 4 robery i wuld of rather of him of got a longer normal sentence because we do not no a realise date and that is torture in its self its a very scarey feeling , a lot off ipp prisoners are getting nocked bak for there 1st parole but how are they ment 2 prove there selfs if there not given the chance 2 do so ?

Posted by: harley at May 6, 2010 06:11 PM

I run a support group for people protesting their innocence of sexual offences. One of my members was convicted and given an IPP. The accuser claimed she had been raped, anally and vaginally at least once a week since the age of 6 (I recall) for about ten years. there was NO medical evidence to support that.

He will never admit guilt to that so he will remain in prison for a very long time, if he ever gets out.

Families serve this IPP sentence along with the inmate. I am sure the government do not realise that.

Posted by: Helga at June 4, 2010 10:39 PM

I have tried to sign the petition but can't find a way to do so. I've signed loads of these petitions before - have the authorities stopped people signing? Just a thought.

Posted by: Helga at June 4, 2010 10:48 PM

my brother is serving an ipp of 4yrs havin done 5 before his first parol his probation inside an outside recommended his release the parol boars gave him a d cat having done every course asked of him with only 3 minor asults an his record giving someone of 18 such a harsh sentence leaving him to find his own way through the system 4 different probation officers is 5 yrs an givin no kind of sentence plan wot so ever untill 3 half yrs later i find duscusting,we also have a letter from his probation officer to back up wot were saying the system is falling these ipps badley we are now in the process of taking this back to the high court on certian human rights issues were his pre sentence reports were no completed propley,1 main concern i have is how on earth can anyone prove they are no longer a danger wen there getting no help,this appeal may take many months hopefully some good comes out of this will keep everyone posted the main thing is never give up we havent an now were 5 half yrs down the line an quite hopefull we have a good case

Posted by: tiffany at August 20, 2010 01:50 PM

hi my son was given a thirty month ipp in march 2006 he has been a modle prisoner done every course there is to do with excellant results done loads of voluntry work and held down a prpoer job his parole is due first week od december 2010 my lad was at work when he got a call to return to prison someone came for him he rang me to say he has done nothing a few hours pass when a security governor rang me to say your son has done nothing wrong but we are moving him back to a cat c prison as someone has been arrested for having indecant photoes of my sons chidren on the net so my son who had nothing to do with it and the police and prison have made this clear to me and my son is being punished unlawfully he has also been put back to a mappa two and is banged up for twenty three hours a day he has no money at all and no visits until we get a vo whic is lenghy im so angry and stressed beyond words b jones

Posted by: Brenda Jones at November 13, 2010 07:48 AM
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