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Monday, 24 June 2013

Imprisonment for public protection damaging for mental health

Imprisonment for public protection damaging for mental health

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Ipp, “In The Dark.” Imprisonment for public protection damaging for mental health.

 Posted on our Facebook site by Admin Natalie Wallace .

Imprisonment for public protection damaging for mental health   
By Staff writer 31/03/10                                                           
Research by the think tank Sainsbury Centre for mental health has revealed that levels of mental and emotional distress are higher among offenders sentenced to Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) than among either the general prison population or prisoners serving life sentences.
Impact on prisoners and family members alikeThis report entitled ‘In The Dark ‘ shows that IPP prisoners are much more likely to have mental health problems before they are sentenced, and the introduction of this form of custodial sentencing is having a negative impact on the mental health of prisoners and their family members.
Prisoners interviewed for this study showed signs of emotional distressed due to not being giving a release date. The uncertainty of not knowing when they would be freed eroded all sense of hope, which is  also damaged family relationships in many cases, particularly for prisoners with children.
Many prisoners who have been sentenced to IPP said that they had refused mental health care and medication because of the fear that this would prevent them from completing their sentence  and that could mean that they would never be released. Others had said they were in need of help but had not been properly assessed or were in need of medication but had not received it.
The impact of being refused release by the Parole Board was  also very difficult to cope with, especially in cases where prisoners had done everything they could in prison to demonstrate that they were ready to be released this report shows.
 IPP – where criminal justice meets mental health
A study by the organisation Race for Justice , an alliance of charities and voluntary organisations entitled, ‘Less Equal than Others ,’ showed that people from ethnic minorities are treated worse than their white counterparts by the criminal justice system.
This report showed minorities including people from African Caribbean communities are more likely to serve longer prison sentences than their white counterparts for a similar offence, even though lifetime offending rates for black men is significantly lower than for white men.
Observers note that while every person in custody is owed a duty of care by the state, there has been a trend over the past decades, which has seen this protection increasingly withdrawn from black people.
IPP is not a mental health intervention but rather a custodial sentence found in criminal law.   However this  form of custodial sentencing is a clear example of where the criminal justice and mental health systems converge.
Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) was created by the Criminal Justice Act 2003 and implemented in April 2005. It is an indeterminate sentence, available when an offender is identified by the courts as ‘dangerous’, but a ‘life’ sentence cannot be justified.
Offenders sentenced to IPP (or Detention for Public Protection for under eighteen-year-olds) are given a minimum term they must serve in prison, known as a ‘tariff’. After the IPP prisoner has served the tariff, the Parole Board consider their release. If it can be shown that they no longer pose a risk and that they can be managed safely outside of prison, they may then be released. Released IPP prisoners are then managed by the Probation Service on a ‘life licence’, subject to recall to prison if they breach any of the terms of their licence. Over stretched, insufficiently resourced
Sainsbury Centre researchers were told by prison mental health staff that they were over stretched and insufficiently resourced to be able to offer any help to IPP prisoners despite the obvious need.
 Research shows that on 19 January 2010 there were 5,828 prisoners serving IPP sentences, and over 2,130 IPP prisoners had served their tariff by November 2009.
By 15 January 2010, 94 IPP prisoners who had served their tariff and had their sentences reviewed by the Parole Board had been released. 23 of those released on licence had been recalled to prison.
An analysis of  government data on the mental health of 2,200 IPP prisoners  along with interviews of 55 IPP prisoners and twenty staff across three prisons show that there are higher levels of mental and emotional distress among this group  than any other category of offender. Findings revealed from  Government data  on this issue also shows the over half of IPP prisoners have problems with ‘emotional wellbeing’ compared with two-fifths of life prisoners and one-third of all other prisoners.
Research in this report also shows that close to one in five IPP prisoners has previously received psychiatric treatment, while one in ten are currently receiving mental health treatment in prison and one in five are on mental health medication.
Although IPP is not a mental health intervention, Ministry of Justice records showed that on 14 January 2010 there were 115 prisoners in secure forensic mental health hospitals under powers of the Mental Health Act 1983, who were also serving indeterminate sentences of Imprisonment for Public Protection.
In The Dark  was published in 2008,it is the first publication of its kind to look at the mental health implications of the IPP sentence.

Link to article

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

IPP Prisoners Familys Campaign: Growing frustration among prisoners still serving the discredited Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) sentence is damaging staff morale and potentially threatening security, a survey of prison governors indicates today (19 June 2013).

Growing frustration among prisoners still serving the discredited Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) sentence is damaging staff morale and potentially threatening security, a survey of prison governors indicates today (19 June 2013).

News's and politics' The Economic Voice
The findings, compiled by the Howard League for Penal Reform and the Prison Governors’ Association, suggest prisons have insufficient resources to deliver IPP sentences effectively, often leading to resentment between inmates.

Ninety-two per cent of governors surveyed said that IPPs decreased job satisfaction. They said the sentences undermined staff credibility, caused inmates to be treated unfairly, and often meant officers were unable to help prisoners progress.
Almost half of respondents reported that institutions holding IPP prisoners saw higher levels of indiscipline. One explained that some prisoners became anxious and resentful because they could see “no chance of release as they struggled to access appropriate courses”.
A large majority of respondents – 86 per cent – reported that IPP prisoners experienced high levels of anxiety. Several noted that IPP prisoners were at increased risk of self-harm.
The survey results are revealed in a Howard League research briefing paper, The never-ending story: Indeterminate sentencing and the prison regime, which calls on the government to bring in a system to enable post-tariff IPP prisoners to be safely managed into the community.
The paper recommends that all short-tariff IPP prisoners should be provided with a clear strategy to manage their safe release into the community before the end of 2013. This could be achieved by converting all IPP sentences with short minimum tariffs into determinate sentences.
The government scrapped IPPs in 2012, but the abolition was not made retrospectively. There are currently more than 5,800 people in prison serving an IPP, including more than 3,500 ‘post-tariff’ prisoners who have passed the date at which they became eligible for parole.
Last year, the European Court of Human Rights found that the detention of post-tariff IPP prisoners was ‘arbitrary and unlawful’. The court heard that the government had failed to give prisoners access to rehabilitative courses they were required to take before they could be released.
Andrew Neilson, Director of Campaigns at the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “The government has recognised that this sentence is flawed but it hasn’t solved the problem of dealing with the thousands of IPP prisoners who remain stranded in the system.
“Indeed, the situation is likely to get even worse as prison budgets shrink and access to courses becomes more limited. Ministers cannot clap their hands over their ears and hope that this problem disappears.
“The courts have been quite clear that the IPP sentence is unjust, and here senior professionals on the front line are saying that it is damaging to their morale and the safety of prisons.”
Changes to the law in 2008 tightened the eligibility criteria for an IPP, giving judges greater discretion as to whether to hand down the sentence.
The survey found that short-tariff prisoners sentenced before 2008 were at greatest risk of self-harm. Governors said these inmates had particular difficulties with anxiety as they saw others who had been convicted of similar crimes after 2008 serve their sentence and move on while they remained inside.
Eoin McLennan-Murray, President of the Prison Governors’ Association, said: “It is absolutely scandalous that low-tariff IPP prisoners sentenced before 2008 remain incarcerated far beyond their tariff date while offenders who were sentenced after 2008 for like-for-like offences have now served their sentences and been released.
“This blatant injustice needs to be addressed and prison governors are calling on the minister to deal with this toxic legacy quickly.
“Governors and their staff should not be expected to try and defend the indefensible; to do so will undermine the relationships relied on to deliver safe, stable prison regimes.”
Three in four respondents said that the extra demands which IPP prisoners placed on prison resources meant that non-IPP prisoners’ had restricted access to rehabilitative courses. A similar number reported that waiting lists for courses were very long in the prison they worked in.
Many governors felt staff were frustrated and demoralised with their work because of IPPs. One in four linked the difficulties staff faced when working with IPP prisoners to increased security threats and indiscipline.
Almost all respondents – 97 per cent – agreed that changes needed to be made to the current system to enable post-tariff IPP prisoners to be managed and released into the community safely.
Numbers of IPP prisoners sentenced and released each year IPP Prison Sentences ‘Damage Staff Morale and Threaten Security’
Numbers of IPP prisoners sentenced and released each year – click to enlarge

Link to article :

Post-prison supervision plans ‘set people up to fail’
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Thursday, 13 June 2013

IPP, Sign the Petition

The right to petition makes citizens feels involved in decision making and also help in changing certain practices. It is said that several voices are louder than one


HM Government          



IPP Sentence Planning

Responsible department: Ministry of Justice
IPP Petition
WE welcome the abolition of the unjust Indeterminate Sentence for Public Protection (IPP) by the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012. . Many IPP Prisoners remain in prison long after the expiry of their tariff, due to insufficient courses to assess their suitability for release. In September 2012, 6,020 prisoners were serving an IPP Sentence. 3,253 of these were held over their tariff date. Since 2005 only 502 serving IPP Prisoners have been released from custody.
We call upon the Government
to ensure proper funding for courses for all IPP Prisoners
to set realistic and appropriate targets for the needs of each prisoner
to make the requirements achievable within the set tariff
to Provide extra assistance to IPP Prisoners who have additional needs such as mental health problems, poor literacy, or welfare issues