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  • Lord Moylan

Written Question: Release from DPP Detention

Lord Moylan: To ask His Majesty's Government how many people serving a sentence of Detention for Public Protection were released from prison in each year since 2005.

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 measure will make it quicker and easier to terminate the IPP licence (and therefore the IPP sentence as a whole) whilst balancing public protection considerations.

The new measure will:

  1. 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;

  2. 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;

  3. 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

  4. 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, while balancing public protection considerations.

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 6000 in 2012.

Table 1: Shows the number of people sentenced to DPP that were released from prison, in each year since 2010. Release Year

Number of DPP prisoners released



























Jan - June 2023 (1)


Please note:

(1) Data for 2023 only include releases up to end of June 2023 - reflecting the most recent published data period.

(2) Processed data are available from 2010.

(3) The numbers provided in this table result from a matching between Prison National Offender Management Information System (NOMIS) data and Public Protection Unit Database (PPUD) data. A total of 13 prisoners identified in the PPUD data did not have an associated NOMIS identifier. Additionally, the figures in the table only include individuals identified in NOMIS as serving IPP or DPP sentences, and also as serving a DPP sentence in PPUD data. The figures provided here are an estimate based on these two sources and as inconsistencies in recording between these two sources exist the figures should be treated with caution.

(4) The above figures represent 'first releases' only, and do not include re-releases following a period of recall.

(5) The figures in this table have been drawn from administrative IT systems which, as with any

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