Howard League for Penal Reform campaigner: 'we've seen a rise in self-harm among prisoners'

Prison Reform Trust statistics: Howard League for Penal Reform campaigner explains damage done by Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) sentences

Long and sometimes indeterminate sentances are driving some inmates to despair

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Campaigner Rob Preece has explained how damaging Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) sentences are for prisoners – and the prisons in which they are incarcerated.

An IPP sentence, while not on the same level as a life sentence, is an order whereby an inmate must remain imprisoned for an undisclosed amount of years before they are deemed safe to be released.

However, research carried out by the Prison Reform Trust highlighted an excess of 2,500 acts of self-harm by prisoners serving imprisonment for public protection, higher than among those serving fixed sentences. Their figures claim it showed IPP prisoners to be in "despair".

Preece, who is the campaigns and communications manager for the Howard League for Penal Reform, labeled the statistics "concerning".

"What we've seen is a rise in self-harm among all prisoners in recent years," he told Julia Hartley-Brewer. "It's particularly significant among those serving indeterminate sentences.

"IPPs were scrapped in 2012, but there are still about 4,000 people serving much longer than originally intended."

Preece explained how this type of sentence created issues.

"It's put a great pressure on the system," he explained. "You have some prisoners knowing when they're going to be released and can work towards this, then you've got others who are still waiting to find out. 

"We're hearing people who were sentenced to IPPs with the recommendation of spending 12 months in prison, and they're spending nearly 12 years."

"It's definitely a sign this is a poorly-implemented sentence."