Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) and the continuing impact today
12 April 2019
This week saw reports of the story of Wayne Bell who received a sentence of Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) in 2007 for robbery. The incident took place in Withington, Manchester when he assaulted a boy and stole his bike. He has now spent over 10 years in prison and, despite repeated Parole Board hearings, has still not been released. This has had a detrimental affect on both Wayne and his family.
Although IPP was abolished on 3rd December 2012 there are still prisoners being held under these sentences. Pete Weatherby QC from Garden Court North Chambers who has been involved with IPP since its inception commented that:
‘Six years after the abolition of the IPP sentence it is an outrage that 2,500 prisoners continue to serve such sentences. Massive cuts to the justice system mean there are insufficient courses to allow them to progress toward release and the even greater cuts to legal aid mean that IPP prisoners are unable to obtain legal advice or challenge manifestly unfair treatment. The UK has already been found to have violated Article 5 of the European Convention (prohibition on arbitrary detention) with respect to these sentences (Brett James v UK) and the continuing failure to address this problem shows a contempt for the rule of law itself.’
Pete Weatherby QC is a human rights barrister at Garden Court North Chambers.