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: IPPsView all news and updates
Government announces reforms for people serving abolished IPP sentence in the community
Findings should spur ministers to revisit the recommendations of the Justice Committee
Our reaction to reports that Alex Chalk is considering proposals for reform of the IPP licence
PRT has prepared a briefing to assist peers in the debate on resourcing the IPP action plan
Troubling report shows need for government to revisit its rejection of resentencing IPP prisoners
PRT briefing published to assist MPs ahead of Thursday's debate
Our publicationsView all
- October 2022 Making Progress? What progression means for people serving the longest sentences This report presents the findings of a prisoner consultation carried out by PRT’s Building Futures... Making Progress? What progression means for people serving the longest sentences
- December 2020 No life, no freedom, no future: The experiences of people recalled whilst serving IPP sentences This report explores the experiences of people recalled back to prison whilst serving an IPP sentenc... No life, no freedom, no future: The experiences of people recalled whilst serving IPP sentences
- March 2020 IPP sentences: the facts In this short briefing we explain more about the IPP sentence and its continuing legacy. IPP sentences: the facts
- November 2019 A Helping Hand: Supporting families in the resettlement of people serving IPPs The indeterminate sentence of Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) was created in 2003. Over 8,0... A Helping Hand: Supporting families in the resettlement of people serving IPPs