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Former Home Secretary Lord Blunkett questioned by MPs on IPP sentences

6 December 2021

MPs on the Justice Committee will hear from Lord Blunkett as part of their ongoing inquiry into IPP sentences. Lord Blunkett introduced indeterminate sentences for public protection (IPPs) when he was Home Secretary. He’s since sought reform of the now-abolished sentence concluding “I got it wrong. The Government now have the chance to get it right,” in a House of Lords debate on the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill last month. Lord Blunkett will be appearing alongside Lord Thomas of Cymgiedd a former Lord Chief Justice. 


The IPP sentence was abolished in 2012 following criticism, but the change did not apply to existing prisoners of whom there are still over 3,000. The sentence has no end date and most people on IPPs have been in prison significantly beyond their minimum term.  

In order to gain release, IPP prisoners must satisfy the Parole Board’s release test, that they no longer pose a risk to the public. The first session of the Committee’s inquiry heard of the “vicious cycle” in which many prisoners are being kept in prison in part due to developing mental illnesses whilst being held indeterminately, which has in turn contributed to their risk level.  

Purpose of the session

The two panels will examine possible policy and legislative solutions to the problems created by the IPP sentence. 


Tuesday 7 December

At 2.30pm

  • The Rt Hon. the Lord Blunkett, former Home Secretary (2001-2004) 
  • The Rt Hon. the Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, former Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales (2013-2017) 

From 3.15pm

  • Professor Nick Hardwick, Professor of Criminal Justice, The Department of Law and Criminology, Royal Holloway University of London 
  • Professor Graham Towl, Professor of Psychology, Durham University, and visiting clinical professor at Newcastle University 
  • Dr Jonathan Bild, Deputy Director, Sentencing Academy  


The Committee’s inquiry into IPP Sentences was launched in September. The first evidence session on 23 November took evidence on the problems with the continued existence of the sentence, with evidence from prominent campaigners Donna Mooney and Shirley Debono, forensic psychiatrist Dr Dinesh Maganty, Russell Webster, an Independent Prisons Consultant and representatives of the Prison Reform Trust. Watch it here

Further information

Image: Parliamentary copyright