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Unjust Deserts: Imprisonment for Public Protection

NCJ Number
Jessica Jacobson; Mike Hough
Date Published
82 pages
This study from the Prison Reform Trust examined the use of indeterminate sentencing for public protection purposes.
Statistics on the use of indeterminate sentencing in the United Kingdom for the purposes of public protection show that by the end of December 2009, 6,034 people had received the sentence of IPP (imprisonment for public protection); between August 2008 and December 2009, an average of 75 IPP sentences were passed per month; of the 5,828 IPP prisoners in custody at the end of January 2010, about 2,500 had already completed their minimum custodial term and around 500 of those were at least 2 years past expiration of their minimum term; and at the end of 2009, only 94 IPP prisoners had been released from custody, of whom a quarter were recalled to prison. This study examined the use of IPP sentences in the United Kingdom. IPP sentences were created through the Criminal Justice Act )CJA) 2003 to enable courts to imprison for an indefinite period of time those convicted of violent and sexual offenses and deemed to be dangerous but whose offending was not serious enough to qualify for a life sentence. The sentence is available for use by the courts for a long list of offenses specified in the CJA. Mandatory usage of the IPP sentence were removed from the CJA when the Act was amended in 2008. The study found that as a result of the use of the IPP sentence, around 1 in 10 sentenced prisoners is now serving an IPP, and that the ever-increasing amount of post-expiration detention has contributed to the acceleration in the growth of the prison population in the United Kingdom. Recommendations are included on reducing the use of the IPP sentence. Figures, tables, references, and appendixes