The Truth About IPP Sentences

Sex offenders should be allowed to adopt – LSE academic calls for end to discrimination

Helen Reece, a leading academic at the London School of Economics and Political Science is calling on the Home Secretary Theresa May to end the blanket ban on allowing sex offenders to adopt children. Ms Reece also points out that such action is discriminatory, is contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and could leave the UK Government open to legal challenge. believes that Ms Reece is making a case for common sense to replace the tabloid driven, political idiocy that has prevailed for so long.

She also makes the important point that “The Vetting and Barring Scheme and other legislative measures single out sex offenders for unfair special treatment and they destroy the principle that a prisoner pays his or her debt by serving their sentence before re-entering society on equal terms.”

It is a fact that that most so called ‘paedophiles’ do not receive life sentences and a fewer number are now receiving an Indeterminate Sentence for Public Protection (IPP) yet they are all treated as if they were serving a life sentence. Even those who receive a sentence of less than 3 years are subject to life-long monitoring and registration. Few ever work again and none can live ‘normal’ lives.

She goes on to say, “Sex offenders have relatively low reconviction rates compared to other types of offenders. Three-quarters of sex offenders are never reconvicted. Despite growing public concern over paedophilia, the numbers of child sex murders are very low and they have remained virtually unchanged for 40 years.”

Regrettably, Ms Reece does not mention the fact that the UK also has a huge and profitable ‘Child Protection Industry’ who lobby government continually and threaten ministers with critical exposure if anyone suggests anything remotely positive towards convicted sex offenders.

Nor does she mention the fact that the Blair administration, particularly the discredited former Home Secretaries David Blunkett and Jacqui Smith, all made as much political capital out of sex offenders as they could. No intelligent thought was ever given to the long term effects of the ever increasing number of restrictions and sanctions that were introduced in order to appease the tabloids and noisy individuals with vested interests.

The increasing severity of the restrictions placed upon released sex offenders is extraordinary. For example, someone convicted in 1999  of a sexual offence against a child is now subject to a host of retrospective measures that did not even form part of their original sentence; even murderers are not subject to the same extreme measures., one of the few major websites in the UK which is not afraid to apply common sense instead of tabloid driven paranoia to a sensitive subject, welcomes the article by Helen Reece (available at: but fears her views will be completely dismissed by the pathetically weak, self-seeking politicians who run our lives.

In June, Home Secretary Theresa May halted  the insidious Vetting and Barring Scheme to be run by the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA), claiming that it is disproportionate, burdensome and infringes on civil liberties, and had “draconian” implications in which people were assumed guilty until proven innocent. Rather than presuming that everyone is a potential risk to children and must therefore be vetted, any vetting or barring should be based on very strong evidence that they are a risk. This would represent a victory not only for human rights but for protecting the best interests of children.

The Home Secretary seems to have missed the point that under current legislation, the Law requires that anyone charged with a sexual offence against a child must be presumed guilty and the child’s word must be regarded as true unless the defendant can prove his innocence. This is a complete reversal of ‘normal’ justice where someone is assumed innocent until proven guilty.

In commenting on the article by Helen Reece, a Home Office source said:

“It is safe to say that the vetting review will not be considering allowing paedophiles to adopt. It wouldn’t exactly go down well with the public.

It would seem therefore that the paranoia regarding anyone who has been convicted of an offence against a child (even if the ‘child’ is 6ft tall and is a day away from their 18th birthday) is set to continue. So is the introduction of draconian measures not even included in the original sentence and so is the discrimination that is unlawful under the ECHR.

Nevertheless, congratulates Helen Reece on her brave article and hopes that others will also have the courage to ignore the inevitable tabloid criticism and take a similar stand for justice, fairness and common sense.

2 Responses to Sex offenders should be allowed to adopt – LSE academic calls for end to discrimination

  1. Matt
    August 24, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    As someone who lives with a person directly affected by a sex offender, I would simply like to say that anyone who thinks it would be ok to allow a paedophile to adopt a child must be completely mad or simply an imbecile.
    The damage may be done very quickly, but the fear and anxiety is with that person for the rest of their life. People mention murderers, but that is completely different. Once dead, people cannot feel. Sex offenders are so much more harming on a psychological level.

  2. Barry Jackson
    January 7, 2011 at 10:00 am

    On reading your review it is no wonder that we are treated as a third world country when it comes to our justice system. MPs talk about how this issue would not bear well with the public but let us stop for a while and look at what is happening today regarding public unrest due to the over spend of the last government!
    It seems that MPs are only interested in making political gain for themselves at the expense of others.

    As in your review, once a sex offender your life is finished as such. Common sense is needed to review the issues regarding sex offenders. In this day and age of so called justice people still see all sex offenders as the low life rather than dividing them into sex offenders and people who need help.We seem happy to have murderers and serious organised criminals among us but detest sex offenders. It’s time to wake up and move on and bring this issue up to date.

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