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Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP)

Thousands of people remain in prison, held not for what they have done, but for what they might do. This section highlights our work towards ending this injustice.

What is the IPP?

The indeterminate sentence of Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) was introduced in England and Wales in 2005. It was intended for people considered ‘dangerous’ but whose offence did not merit a life sentence.

In common with the life sentence it contains three elements.

  • A minimum term that a person must spend in prison, judged to be a just dessert for the crime committed.
  • Detention in prison for a potentially unlimited period until the person can prove that they are no longer a threat to the public.
  • Release back into the community on licence, with the potential of being returned to custody.

What's the issue?

The IPP was intended for people considered dangerous but whose offence did not merit a life sentence. However, it became increasingly clear that the sentence was having severe and unforeseen consequence, with people being held in prison many years beyond their minimum term.

Whilst the sentence was eventually abolished in 2012, this was not retrospective, meaning that today thousands of people remain in prison yet to be released. Those in the community remain subject to a potentially indefinite period of supervision with the risk of recall to custody if the conditions of their licence are breached. PRT continues to press for a fair and just outcome for these individuals who were left out of the government’s decision to abolish the IPP.

Latest news & updates: IPPs

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08 / 01 / 24

IPP: How will the changes affect you?

Ryan Harman and Mark Day explain the impact of the government’s proposed changes to the IPP licence

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