Crime and Punishment

Crime and Punishment

Series 1 - Episode 1



Aaron is serving an indeterminate prison sentence for a violent offence committed in 2006 and he doesn’t have a release date under a scheme introduced by the Tony Blair government: Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP). It became more widely implemented than was intended and its use has been phased out, though not retrospectively.

This strong, difficult and harrowing documentary series, full of restless anger, looks at a handful of the thousands of IPP prisoners whose fates rest with the Parole Board, which must be convinced that such prisoners do not present a danger to the public.

Aaron has taken to self-harming in protest – his arms and legs are a topography of vicious welts and scars – and throughout the episode we see him, bloodied, after he administers yet more deep cuts.

The series, executive-produced by film-maker and criminologist Roger Graef, examines the creaking criminal justice system from all sides.


The work of various sections of the criminal justice system - police, probation, prison, prosecution and parole - all coping with difficult cases and managing risk with limited resources. The first edition follows the story of 28-year-old Paul Bousell, who faces the prospect of lingering in jail until his death. He is serving a controversial IPP sentence, or Imprisonment for Public Protection, which has been labelled by MP Ken Clarke `a stain on the criminal justice system'.

Cast & Crew

Executive Producer Mark Raphael
Series Director Bruce Fletcher
Series Producer Emily Lawson
Documentary Reality