On Tuesday 11 June, Victoria Prentis MP spoke in the Westminster Hall debate on Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP).
Under the IPP programme, offenders given an IPP sentence were set a minimum term to spend in prison with no upper limit. Release is not automatic and inmates need to apply to the Parole Board for release. If the Parole Board is not satisfied that someone serving an IPP sentence has demonstrated that they no longer pose a risk, the prisoner can remain in custody indefinitely. This legislation has led to significant complexities and inconsistencies in sentencing.
During her speech, Victoria called for the Prisons Minister to take immediate and urgent action on treatment programmes for IPP inmates, emphasising the importance of assessing them for effectiveness and providing adequate schemes that promote rehabilitation. She also expressed concerns about the high threshold for release, which has led to considerable issues with mental health, suicide and self-harm in prisoners.
Speaking after the debate, Victoria said: “As a former government lawyer and member of the Justice Select Committee, I have campaigned on this issue for a long time. I am pleased that steps have been taken forward, with the Parole Board releasing 900 IPP prisoners between 2017-18, but there is still a great deal more to do. I am hopeful the new Prisons Minister will take my concerns on board and take action for those affected by IPP sentences.”