IPP BY NUMBERS
This section shares the latest figures released by the Ministry of Justice.
We think it is important to document the trends in the IPP sentence, which is why we present available data here. But we also feel strongly that each person serving the sentence matters. You can understand the context behind these figures by reading the stories in our media archive, or by visiting our Twitter project, The Forgotten.
QUARTERLY - IMPRISONED IPP POPULATION
Total in Prison: 3,185
Unreleased - under tariff: 93
Unreleased - over tariff: 1,754
Total in prison: 3,249
Unreleased - under tariff: 103
Unreleased - over tariff: 1,789
Total in Prison: 3,326
Unreleased - under tariff: 111
Unreleased - over tariff: 1,856
ANNUAL - SELF HARM AND SUICIDE
Self Harm Incidents: 2879
Self Harm Incidents: 3026
Self Harm Incidents: 2925
A MORE DETAILED LOOK AT THE NUMBERS
HOW MANY IPP SENTENCES WERE GIVEN OUT?
8,711 people were given an IPP sentence between 2005 and 2013
249 people who received the sentence were women (2.9%)
326 people who received the sentence were children (3.7%)
309 were aged 15-17 (10 were girls)
16 were boys, aged 12-14
One was a boy, aged 10-11
We do not know how many people from ethnic minority backgrounds were given the IPP sentence, but we do know that 22% of the IPP population currently in prison is from an ethnic minority background. This is a slightly lower proportion than in the prison population as a whole, where 27% are from an ethnic minority background
WHAT CRIMES WAS THE IPP SENTENCE GIVEN FOR?
Under law, IPP sentences could be given out for 153 specified offences. They were actually given out for 107 offences.
3045 were given for violent offences (35%)
2508 were given for sex offences (27.8%)
1882 were given for robbery offences (21.6%)
448 were given for fire setting offences (5.1%)
355 were given for other offences (4.1%)
232 were given for acquisitive offences (2.7%)
226 were given for weapons offences (2.6%)
11 were given for drug offences (0.1%)
Around 70 people were given an IPP sentence for offences where a life sentence is not available today, even as the maximum penalty.
WHAT HAPPENED TO PEOPLE SERVING AN IPP SENTENCE?
There have been 5,124 releases from custody of people serving an IPP sentence since it began. But some were released, recalled, and released again
In June 2020 there were 1,856 people who have never been released since receiving the sentence (21.3% of all those given it)
The sentence does not end upon release. People may still be recalled to prison indefinitely
Since 2017 (when reliable data began to be published), there have been 2,178 incidents of recalling people serving an IPP sentence (some may have been recalled multiple times)
The most common reason for recall is non-compliance of license conditions (three quarters of all recall incidents). Less than half involve further offending.
In June 2020, 68.9% if the currently imprisoned IPP population had been recalled to prison
In June 2020, there were 1,969 people in prison serving an IPP sentence. 94% of them were beyond their tariff date. 414 (21%) had served more than 10 years longer than the tariff they were given. Of these, 197 had originally been given a tariff of less than two years. That’s 10% of the current IPP sentenced population who have served at least 12 years in prison for a crime that would normally attract a prison sentence of 2 years or less
HOW HAS THE IPP SENTENCE AFFECTED PEOPLE?
65 people have killed themselves in prison while serving an IPP sentence
People serving an IPP sentence self-harm at a higher rate than people serving other types of life sentences
Recurring themes in studies has shown those serving an IPP sentence suffer emotional anguish and despair that comes from uncertainty and lack of hope about release from prison
WHAT DON'T WE KNOW?
We do not know how many people from an ethnic minority background were given an IPP sentence
We know that 361 people serving an IPP sentence were transferred to a secure hospital under the Mental Health Act between 2013 and 2018, but we do not know in how many of these cases the sentence was a contributory factor to their distress
We know that the number of people recalled to prison on an IPP sentence is rising, but we do not know who is more likely to get recalled. For example, we do not know if it tends to be people with shorter or longer tariffs, or who committed particular types of crime
You can access the ministry of Justice statistical archive, to explore information about the IPP sentence. We are working on adding ad-hoc statistical publications to this section. In the meantime, you can view regularly released information in the Offender Management Statistics Quarterly release (in the summary, and in tables 1.9a and 1.9b).
The Prison Reform Trust also produces a twice-yearly clear and accessible factfile, with up to date information on the IPP sentence, called the Bromley Briefing.