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  • Lord Moylan

Written Questions: DPP Prisoners

Lord Moylan: To ask His Majesty's Government how many people sentenced to Detention for Public Protection were (1) in prison having never been released, (2) in prison having been recalled, and (3) in the community on licence, in each of the most recent four quarters.


Lord Moylan: To ask His Majesty's Government how many people sentenced to Detention for Public Protection are currently over their tariff and remain in prison having never been released by (1) original tariff length, and (2) time over triff.


Lord Moylan: To ask His Majesty's Government how many people serving a sentence of Detention for Public Protection were recalled to 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 measures 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 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, 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 6,000 in 2012.


Table 1: Number of people sentenced to DPP that were (1) in prison having never been released, (2) in prison having been recalled, in each of the most recent four quarters of available data


                                    31 Dec 2002 31 Mar 2023 30 Jun 2023 30 Sep 2023


In prison never

having been released 41 36 37 36


In prison having

been recalled 43 42 44 49


Table 2: The number of people sentenced to DPP that were in the community on licence, in each of the most recent four quarters of available data


30 Sep 2022 31 Dec 2022 31 Mar 2023 30 Jun 2023


       99 102 101 99


Table 3: Tariff-expired unreleased DPP prisoner population by original tariff length and time over tariff, 30 September 2023


Original Tariff Length


Less than 2 years 2 to 4 years 4 to 6 years Total

Time over Tariff (years)

Less than 5 0 0 0 0

5 to 6 0 0 X X

6 to 7 0 0 X X

7 to 8 0 X X 4

8 to 9 0 4 0 4

9 to 10 0 0 X X

10to 11 X X X 5

11to 12 X X X 5

12to 13 0 X X 4

13to 14 0 0 X X

14to 15 X X 0 X

15or more X X 0 6

Total 9 13 14 36


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.

(2) An X (X) has been used to suppress values of one or two. This is to prevent the disclosure of individual information. Further disclosure control may be completed where this alone is not sufficient.


Table 4: Number of people serving a DPP sentence that were recalled to prison, in each year since 2010


Recall year Number of Recalls

2010 1

2011 6

2012 4

2013 13

2014 9

2015 5

2016 16

2017 18

2018 22

2019 16

2020 20

2021 21

2022 14

2023 13*


Please note:

(1) This table gives the number of recalls and not the number of individuals recalled in each year. Recording of unique IDs has not been complete throughout these years, so we are unable to give an accurate count of unique individuals recalled from 2010.

(*) Figures for 2023 are for the first two quarters only.

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