Bishop of Gloucester asks about conditions for those under Imprisonment for Public Protection

The Bishop of Gloucester received the following written answers on 17th March 2023:

The Lord Bishop of Gloucester asked His Majesty’s Government:

  • what emotional support and spiritual provision is available to prisoners under Imprisonment for Public Protection.
  • what assessment they have made of the increase in the numbers of prisoners under Imprisonment for Public Protection serving ten or more years beyond their original tariff.
  • what steps they are taking to reduce the number of women serving sentences under Imprisonment for Public Protection.

Lord Bellamy (Con): The Government is committed to the protection of the public and the effective management of offenders. By law, prisoners serving indeterminate sentences who have completed their tariff will be released only when the Parole Board concludes that it is no longer necessary on the grounds of public protection for them to remain confined.

HM Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) continues to work closely with Samaritans for the delivery of the Listener Scheme, through which selected prisoners are trained to provide support to fellow prisoners in emotional distress. It is important to highlight that Prison Chaplaincy provides not only faith and belief advice but pastoral care to prisoners of all faiths, beliefs and of none, irrespective of sentence type or length, in support of HMPPS’ commitment to decency, safety and rehabilitation.

As the number of those serving IPP sentences in prison who have never been released reduces, the proportion of cases which are the most complex and high risk increases. This does mean that we should expect that the number of first releases will continue to slow and the time spent past tariff will increase. However, the IPP Action Plan is focused on, firstly, ensuring each IPP prisoner has a sentence plan, regularly reviewed, with clear objectives as to what the prisoner has to do to reduce risk and, secondly, that the prisoner is held in a prison with an opportunity to achieve those objectives.

In the Government response to the Justice Select Committee’s IPP report, we committed to refreshing the IPP Action Plan, focusing not only on important changes to improve the prospects of IPP offenders making progress towards a prospective safe and sustainable release, but also to ensure there are robust processes to drive effective monitoring and accountability for delivery of that plan.

The Women’s Estate Psychology Service (WEPS) have implemented a National IPP strategy which takes a bespoke case management approach to each woman serving an IPP sentence. The overarching goal of the strategy is to ensure that all are proactively supported to progress through their prison sentences as quickly as possible. Psychologists regularly review cases and jointly work with prison and probation colleagues to remove barriers to progression and expedite completion of interventions and services. There are, as of end December 2022, 40 women in custody serving an IPP sentence, 12 of whom have never been released.




The Lord Bishop of Gloucester asked His Majesty’s Government what were the rates of self-harm by prisoners under Imprisonment for Public Protection in the last five years.

Lord Bellamy: Please see the attached table showing the rates of self-harm by prisoners under Imprisonment for Public Protection1,2,3,4,5 for the last five years that data is available.

The numbers used to derive the rates of self-harm for this PQ are published. The quarterly population figures are taken from the Offender Management Statistics Quarterly publication and then averaged across the calendar year. The self-harm incidents are taken from the annual self-harm in prison custody tables from the Safety in Custody Quarterly publication. The rates are calculated using these figures, and the methodology described in footnote 5 below.

Imprisonment for public protection (IPP)20172018201920202021
Self-harm incidents per 1,000 prisoners895.01129.51271.21095.51108.0

(1) Figures include incidents during contracted out escorts. Figures do not include incidents at Medway STC.

(2) In prisons, as in the community, it is not possible to count self-harm incidents with absolute accuracy. In prison custody, however, such incidents are more likely to be detected and counted. Care needs to be taken when comparing figures shown here with other sources where data may be less complete.

(3) A new sentence – Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) – was introduced in 2005.

(4) The definition of IPP prisoners included in this analysis only includes unreleased prisoners. IPP prisoners who have been recalled to prison after a release are not included.

(5) Self-harm incident rates are derived by 1,000 x (number of incidents in year)/(average population for year). Prison population figures are from the Offender Management Statistics quarterly bulletin and are averaged across the four quarterly population figures for each year.

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