The abolition of IPPs; what now?

The abolition of IPP sentences (imprisonment for public protection) came into force on 3rd December 2012.  Therefore anyone convicted after 3rd December cannot be sentenced to an IPP.

However, the IPP sentence can still be given to someone convicted before 3rd December 2012 but sentenced after 3rd December 2012.

The IPP sentence has been replaced with determinate and extended sentences.

A determinate sentence is where an offender is sentenced to a fixed period of imprisonment and they therefore receive an expiry date for when they are released and their sentence ends.

An extended sentence can only be imposed by a Judge if all of the following conditions are satisfied:

  • The defendant has been convicted of a specified offence
  • The court considers that the defendant presents a substantial risk of causing serious harm through re-offending by committing a further specified offence. The “significant risk” test is the same as the test for IPP therefore they must meet the dangerousness threshold,
  • The court is not required to impose a sentence of imprisonment for life, and
  • Condition A or B is met.

Condition A: at the time the offence was committed the defendant had been convicted of a sexual or violent offence listed in Schedule 15B of the CJA 2003 (schedule 15A is redundant);

Condition B: that the current offence merits a determinate sentence of at least 4 years

The Extended sentence consists of a custodial term, which should reflect the seriousness of the offending; followed by an extended licence period which is determined by the court on the basis of what the court considers “necessary for the purpose of protecting members of the public from serious harm.” However, the extended licence period is limited to up to 5 years for a violent offence, and 8 years for a sexual offence.

A Court can also impose a life sentence where a person over age 18 is convicted of an offence listed in Part 1 of Schedule 15B and the offence was committed after this section comes into force, and both the sentence condition and the previous offence condition are met. In this event, the court must impose a sentence of imprisonment for life unless the court is of the opinion that there are particular circumstances which – (a) relate to the offence, to the previous offence referred to in subsection (4) or to the offender, and (b) would make it unjust to do so in all the circumstances

The abolishment of IPPs does not affect people who are already sentenced.  There will be no sentence conversion or automatic release for people already on the sentence. IPP prisoners who are already serving will still need to satisfy the Parole Board that they are no longer a risk to the public before they can be released.

If you have a query about IPP’s or need assistance with a parole hearing or any other prison law or criminal matter then please do not hesitate to contact us.  At Emery Johnson we have an experienced prison law department who specialise in these areas, contact us now on 01509 610312 or 0116 2554855.