Action Alert: Letter to MPs, ministers, press and others

A loved one of an IPP has written this letter to her MP, the prison minister, the CEO of the parole board, the justice secretary, the executive of HMPP’s, local press, human rights charities and many more. She asked us to upload the letter so that people can use it as a template to write their own letters.

SOLIDARITY

Don’t forget to ask your MP to sign Early Day Motion 1524 as well!

 

To Whom It May Concern,

I am distressed to be writing this letter to you regarding the issue of the controversial outlawed ‘IPP Sentence’. Although ‘IPP’ has rightly been abolished, due to the European Court of Human Rights ruling it to be unlawful in 2012, there are still over 6,000 people serving this sentence, because it wasn’t abolished retrospectively. Most of who are still incarcerated and have served well over nine years beyond their original recommended tariff set by the sentencing judge.  ‘IPP’ prisoners are making up roughly 5% of the prison population.  

The prisoners that are eventually freed and liberated after serving ‘IPP’ are then put on licence for 99 years, and more than half are then being sent back to jail for breaching licence conditions. The government have called this ‘a critical issue’; they’re getting recalled often for relatively minor breaches of licence, for example not staying one night at the approved address. Mr Hardwick said IPP offenders were being sent back to prison for turning up drunk at their bail hostel – even though that presented no risk to any member of the public. When they return to prison, they are back to square one and must re-start the assessment procedure with the Parole Board. There is a back log of nine years worth of cases awaiting parole hearings, so it can then take years before getting released at a parole hearing. The parole board has stated they ‘remain concerned’ about this matter.

Something needs to be done urgently, these are not the most dangerous prisoners known to society. I am desperately calling for you to support the change in legislation, and the total abolishment of the ‘IPP’ sentence. A lot of prisoners did deserve a sentence but not a sentence without a release date. This sentence has been given to many for fairly minor crimes like shop-lifting, criminal damage and fighting. 

David Blunkett introduced the sentence in 2001, against the advice of specialist officials. Although he later accepted that he regrets introducing it, and it is a ‘strain on the British Justice System.’ This sentence is a psychological torture, which has resulted in prisoners who have been given this sentence being twice as likely to commit suicide or self-harm.  

The Appeal Court Judges all agree that ‘IPP’ is unjust, but refuse to fix the problem, and claim it’s up to the politicians to change the legislation. That statement has made every IPP prisoner into a political prisoner and a hostage of the British state. 

The current C.E.O of the Parole board, Martin Jones describes ‘IPP sentence’ as a ‘dreadful legacy of failure’, and sympathises with the people, ‘who got scooped up into the sentence’. He strongly believes that the time most of them have spent in prison ‘completely outweighs the seriousness of the offence they committed’. Some people got sentenced to a tariff of less than 2 years, and are still incarcerated 11 years down the line.
Ed Miliband called the government ‘out of touch’ and stated they did not think the sentence through, words are not enough, and action needs to be taken. The system is a ‘flawed’ mess. Prisoners have already served their recommend time and are still in prison and don’t know when and if they are getting out.

 Some prisoners were sentenced to ‘IPP’ due to criminal damage of under £20, with it then costing the government 109 million annually to accommodate these prisoners.


I find this issue outrageous and a great injustice. A loved one of mine is still incarcerated, after being given an ‘IPP’. He is being detained on an unlawful sentence. Please bear in mind it’s not just the prisoners who have been given this ‘unlawful’ sentence but also the loved one’s of those prisoner’s.


Please can you do the right thing, and show some compassion? I urge you to recommend reform and support the family campaign to get the legislation changed so we can finally get IPP abolished retrospectively. I would appreciate it if you consider this an urgent matter.

 

I will be awaiting a reply on your stance on this very serious and sensitive matter.

 

My email address is 

Postal address is


Kind Regards