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Prisoners: Length of Sentence

Volume 703: debated on Monday 14 July 2008

My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Maria Eagle) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The Ministry of Justice is today publishing an internal review led by Kevin Lockyer, the then regional offender manager for the south-west region into indeterminate sentenced prisoners, including indeterminate sentences of imprisonment for public protection (IPP).

This review was a study into operational matters relating to the management and progress of indeterminate sentence prisoners through offender services. It was commissioned by Helen Edwards, then chief executive officer of the National Offender Management Service in April 2007. The review reported to the NOMS board in August 2007.

The review identifies various areas for improvements and proposed recommendations on how these improvements could be achieved. These recommendations were accepted in full by the NOMS board, which commissioned an implementation plan that was agreed in September 2007.

The report identified five core principles for the better management of these prisoners. These principles are:

the offender assessment should be front-loaded in order to facilitate sentence progression. An OASys assessment and an outline sentence plan should, wherever possible, be available at the point of sentence;

case management arrangements must be streamlined;

targeted intervention pathways should be developed to enable sentence progression;

services should be tailored regionally to meet needs within nationally agreed arrangements; and

resources should follow risk and not the sentence.

In response to this report, NOMS established better case management arrangements through new, streamlined procedures for the management of indeterminate sentenced prisoners. This was to be achieved through the roll-out of phase three of the offender management model and through targeted work on IPP prisoners at or approaching their tariff date. It set out recommendations aimed at ensuring IPP prisoners have an assessment of need completed which leads to a sentence plan. It also sets out the need for improved access to the interventions contained in those plans. Good progress has been made, in particular in delivering assessments to those nearest their tariff expiry date and in moving IPP prisoners through the prison system.

NOMS also recognises that in the medium to long term there would be a requirement to consider local needs further, and to develop plans to meet those needs against a background of budgetary constraints which may require a significant reassessment of resource allocations.

This review is an important piece of work, providing clear, evidence-led recommendations to improve existing practice. The review team was made up of officials from NOMS, Her Majesty’s Prison Service and a number of other bodies, and drew heavily on their experience and knowledge. I wish to take this opportunity to thank them all for their diligent work in producing this report.

I have deposited a copy in the Libraries of both Houses. Copies are also available in the Vote Office and the Printed Paper Office. The review can also be accessed at: