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  • Lord Moylan

Written Question: IPP Prisoners over Tariff

Lord Moylan: To ask His Majesty's Government how many people are currently in prison serving an imprisonment for public protection sentence who have been held for 10 years or more beyond their original tariff, broken down by the exact number of years over tariff.


Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bellamy, KC):

On 16 October 2023, the Lord Chancellor announced he would be looking at options to curtail the licence period to restore greater proportionality to IPP sentences in line with recommendation 8 of the report by the Justice Select Committee (JSC), published on 28 September 2022.

These changes are being taken forward in the Victims and Prisoners Bill. The measures will make it quicker and easier to terminate an IPP licence (and therefore the IPP sentence as a whole) whilst balancing public protection considerations.

The new measures will:

a. reduce the qualifying period which triggers the duty of the Secretary of State to refer an IPP licence to the Parole Board for termination from ten years to three years;

b. include a clear statutory presumption that the IPP licence will be terminated by the Parole Board at the end of the three-year qualifying period;

c. introduce a provision that will automatically terminate the IPP licence two years after the three-year qualifying period, in cases where the Parole Board has not terminated the licence; and

d. introduce a power to amend the qualifying period by Statutory Instrument.

The Lord Chancellor was persuaded by the Committee's recommendation to reduce the qualifying licence period from 10 years to 5 years and is going further: reducing the period to 3 years. These amendments will restore greater proportionality to IPP sentences and provide a clear pathway to a definitive end to the licence and, therefore, the sentence.

In addition to these changes, the actions this Government are taking are working: the number of prisoners serving the IPP sentence who have never been released now stands at 1,269 as of September 2023, down from more than 6,000 in 2012.

Table 1: The tariff-expired Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) prisoner population at least 10 years over tariff, 30 September 2023

Time over Tariff Count

From 10 years to less than 11 years 132

From 11 years to less than 12 years 117

From 12 years to less than 13 years 128

From 13 years to less than 14 years 128

From 14 years to less than 15 years 94

From 15 years to less than 16 years 62

From 16 years to less than 17 years 21

From 17 years to less than 18 years 1

From 18 years to less than 19 years 1

Total 684

Please note:

(1) the figures in these tables have been drawn from administrative IT systems which, as with any large-scale recording system, are subject to possible errors with data entry and processing.

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