Sentences of Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPPs) were created by the Criminal Justice Act 2003 and started to be used in April 2005. They were designed to protect the public from serious offenders whose crimes did not merit a life sentence.
They were designed as a way to protect the public from serious offenders but have been used far more widely than intended, with some have been issued to offenders who have committed low level crimes with tariffs as short as two years. They have been handed down at a rate of more than 800 a year and as a result more than 6,500 offenders have served or are serving IPP sentences.
The Coalition Government abolished sentences of imprisonment for public protection (IPPs) for offenders convicted on or after 3 December 2012, calling the system “not defensible”. However, the change was not made retrospective. It didn’t apply to existing prisoners serving those sentences at the time. At the end of June 2016 there were still around 4,000 prisoners serving IPPs. In April 2016, the then Justice Secretary Michael Gove said that whilst he had “no current plans” to change the statutory test for releasing IPP prisoners, there were initiatives to help them make progress towards release. He asked the chairman of the Parole Board to develop “an improved approach” to IPP prisoners.
My partner Ian Hartley is one of those prisoners still serving an IPP sentence. Originally given a tariff of 3 years and 2 months, he is still in prison 12 years on.
Ian has said himself “I hate waking up in a morning and look forward to going to sleep at night. Prison is an awful corrupt place full of violence and abuse. I have served my time and just want to be in a loving family environment to live the rest of my life. The hell I am suffering within this place is indescribable and if it wasn’t for my partner and my family I would have ended my life by now. The only reason I am still here is because I do not want to put them through the pain of losing me. Goalposts are constantly being moved and it is impossible to achieve anything in respect of gaining release. “
All Ian needs is the chance to be released in to society where he has a loving family waiting for him to help him on the road to rehabilitation. If Ian stays in prison, he will continue to get worse emotionally and will eventually end up harming himself to get away from the pain and suffering he has to endure.
I have recently completed a protest outside the Houses of Parliament and Risley Prison where Ian is currently serving his sentence. Whilst in London David Blunkett said he had regretted bringing in the IPP sentences, surely this should tell the government that something has to be done.
I am doing this not only for Ian but also for the rest of the long suffering prisoners still serving these inhumane sentences whereby they have no idea of when they will be released and nor do their families, this is totally against their human rights and justice needs to be served.
Please sign this petition in the hope that serving it to the government will get Ian released and he can then be rehabilitated in the community and start living his life as a loved family man just as he deserves.
This petition will be delivered to:
The Ministry of Justice