In 2005 judges in England and Wales started giving out a new kind of life sentence for relatively minor offenses, including the possession of low classified drugs, shoplifting, and affray (fighting in public).
These Indeterminate Sentences for Public Protection (IPPs) were supposed to protect the public from a few hundred of the most dangerous criminals. There was no fixed prison term and a release date was determined by the parole board. Yet IPPs were badly implemented and thousands were doled out for all kinds of crimes.
The UK government finally abandoned the controversial sentence in 2012. But VICE News can reveal that thousands of people sentenced to IPPs remain behind bars – three years after they were abolished – at an extraordinary cost to the taxpayer. Not a single inmate has a set release date.
By analyzing Freedom of Information requests and prison reports, and speaking to prisoners, their families, lawyers, and a retired judge, VICE News investigates the UK’s forgotten prisoners.
Watch “Institutionalized: Mental Health Behind Bars” – http://bit.ly/1iYLUx5