Bishop of Southwark asks about prisoners on indeterminate sentences

southwark-20feb17On 20th February 2017, Lord Brown of Eaton-under-Heywood asked the Government “what is their response to the recommendation of Michael Gove, the former Secretary of State for Justice, in his November 2016 Longford Lecture that the approximately 500 Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) prisoners “who have been in jail for far longer than the tariff for their offence” should be released.” The Bishop of Southwark, the Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, asked a supplementary question.

The Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, as an alternative, will the Government consider releasing those inmates on indeterminate sentences, a provision that no longer applies, if they have served longer than a determinate sentence for the same offence? The backlog has to be tackled in some form.

Lord Keen of Elie: I am obliged to the right reverend Prelate but I would point out that the backlog is being tackled and the rate of release of these prisoners is increasing all the time. The number of IPP prisoners is now at an all-time low, but we have to remember that these are individuals who for a variety of reasons pose a very serious threat to members of the public. Indeed, a recent analysis of IPP prisoners still in custody whose tariff was originally less than two years indicates that 88% were assessed as posing a high or very high risk of causing further serious harm.