Sentences of Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPPs) were introduced by the last Labour Government from 2005. They were designed to ensure that dangerous violent and sexual offenders stayed in custody for as long as they presented a risk to society. Under the system, a person who had committed a specified violent or sexual offence would be given an IPP if the offence was not so serious as to merit a life sentence. Once they had served their “tariff” they would have to satisfy the Parole Board that they no longer posed a risk before they could be released.
IPPs were abolished in 2012, but not for existing prisoners.
There were 2,403 unreleased IPP prisoners in custody in England and Wales on 31 March 2019, which is the latest snapshot of the prison population at the time of writing. Ninety-eight per cent or 2,360 of these prisoners were male. There were only 43 unreleased female IPP prisoners.
I asked the Minister a series of questions on how he would ensure that any flaws remaining in the system were rectified and balanced with the need to keep dangerous offenders off our streets. We must always put the victim at the heart of our judicial system.
The National Audit Office (NAO) has published its report into the part-privatisation of our probation services and it makes for damning reading.
Chris Grayling – the current Secretary of State for Transport who just had to pay £33million of taxpayers money in compensation to a private firm after he commissioned a ferry service to a company with no boats – was the mastermind behind this decision.
The report is clear that public money has been wasted and rehabilitation of offenders has been undermined. I wanted the Prisons Minister to state who is responsible and what will be done to address these massive failings in government.
I got my opportunity to respond to this year’s Budget this week. In my speech I addressed my deep concerns about the continued austerity under the UK Government and their utter failure to support the people and businesses of North Wales.
It is clear that this was a Budget that included more harm than help for people in work. It continued to cut away at our police, justice and international trade budgets and did nothing of value to unpick the hurt inflicted by Universal Credit cuts.
The Government announced two new prisons would be constructed in England. Both would involve private sector contracts.
Following on from my questioning of the minister in the Justice Committee about the lost £50m of taxpayers money on private contracts today I used an Urgent Question to quiz the minister on how he will stop this becoming another example of wasted money.
The minister is an extremely courteous man, but his warm words did nothing to allay my fears that the Ministry of Justice has not learnt valuable lessons from its past mistakes and it is likely to repeat them.