“It is an inconvenient truth – which I swerved to an extent while in office – that we send too many people to prison. And of those who deserve to be in custody, many, but certainly not all, are sent there for too long,” he said.
Gove’s backing for action on IPP prisoners was made in the 2016 Longford lecture as part of a U-turn on his refusal in office to cut the record 86,000 prison population, which he now says should be reduced over time and pragmatically.
Peter Clarke, the chief inspector of prisons, in a report on the 3,859 IPP prisoners currently held said Truss needed to take decisive action to reduce the numbers of those still in prison years after the end of their tariff.
Gove said her power of “executive clemency” should be used to release 500 prisoners serving imprisonment for public protection (IPP) sentences who have already served more than the usual maximum sentences for their offences.
The UK justice secretary, Liz Truss, has come under severe pressure from her predecessor, Michael Gove, and the chief inspector of prisons to take urgent action to cut the prison population.