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Lord Blunkett takes up arms against injustice: Former Home Secretary advocates for IPP prisoner's release

Lord Blunkett takes up arms against injustice: Former Home Secretary advocates for IPP prisoner's release


Lord Blunkett joins fight to free Thomas White, imprisoned 12 years under abolished IPP sentence for theft

In a powerful move against what is perceived as an unjust incarceration, Lord Blunkett, the former Home Secretary and key architect of the controversial Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) sentences, has joined forces with the family of Thomas White. Thomas, sentenced to a two-year minimum jail term under the now-abolished IPP in 2012 for stealing a mobile phone, has remained imprisoned for 12 years, despite the subsequent abolition of this sentencing approach.

Thomas White's case has garnered attention due to the mental toll the prolonged sentence has taken on him. Recently diagnosed with schizophrenia, he continues to languish in prison with no clear release date. Lord Blunkett, known for his role in implementing the IPP sentences, has now aligned himself with the family's cause to seek justice.

The family, represented by Thomas's sister Clara White and his son Kayden White, has enlisted Lord Blunkett's support to secure Mr. White's transfer to a hospital where he can access crucial mental health support. Additionally, Lord Blunkett has committed to facilitating the first meeting between Kayden and his incarcerated father.

In a statement, Lord Blunkett expressed his commitment to achieving a positive outcome: "I will continue to do my best to ensure that there is a satisfactory outcome: that we can facilitate and find ways of meeting Kayden's needs; support his father into a positive outcome from his present situation in prison, and above all, ensure that those services funded to help develop a pathway and acceptable outcome work together to achieve a result."

Clara White shared the family's plight, highlighting the emotional toll of living under the shadow of the IPP sentence. With nearly 3,000 prisoners, including many low-level offenders, still serving IPP sentences, the broader issue has become a national concern. Organisations like UNGRIPP report that at least 90 IPP prisoners have taken their lives, and the complexity of measuring deaths in the community may mean the actual number is even higher.

Justice Secretary Alex Chalk is under growing pressure to address the IPP crisis. Calls for a comprehensive review of resentencing for all 2,852 IPPs in prison, and those on recall in the community, are intensifying. The upcoming debate in the House of Lords on amendments to the Victims & Prisoners Bill, including a proposal to commit the Government to resentencing IPPs, adds urgency to the plea for justice and reform.