HM Prison and Probation Service has announced that social visits will gradually be re-introduced in England and Wales from 29 March. This will be determined on a case-by-case basis for each prison, following agreement between HMPPS and public health professionals, and will be reviewed weekly.

Read the full government guidance—including which prisons have resumed visits—and for information on how you can keep in touch with loved ones during the coronavirus pandemic by clicking here.

Find out what we're doing to help ensure that the lives of prisoners, staff and our community are protected during the pandemic by clicking here.

We have established an urgent new project—CAPPTIVE (The Covid Action Prison Project: Tracking Innovation, Valuing Experience). We want to hear from people in prison, and the people who care about them, about their own experience of the pandemic so far. Click here to find out how you can get involved. 

If you know of someone in prison in need of advice and information then click here for details on how they can get in contact with us.

The Ministry of Justice has also posted a Q&A for friends and family of people in prison which you can read by clicking here.

If you are concerned about a person in prison and would like support yourself, click here for details on how to contact the Prisoners' Families Helpline.

The prison service has published guidance about prison releases in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, which you can read by clicking here. We have produced a summary of some of the key points, which you can read by clicking here.

The Independent Advisory Panel on Deaths in Custody (IAP) has created a Coronavirus Information Hub. This brings together the latest information and responses from the IAP and other national and international sources, on protecting the lives of people in state custody during this unprecedented pandemic.


Commenting on the findings of today’s (19 January) report by the National Audit Office, Peter Dawson, director of the Prison Reform Trust said:

“This report reads as a cautionary tale for everything the Deputy Prime Minister is saying on criminal justice reform. It’s not what you promise that matters, but what you deliver. Inexcusably, the government never set itself any deadlines or targets to deliver a policy on reducing offending by women. So it’s hardly surprising that the National Audit Office now confirms what others have been saying for the last three years—that thousands of vulnerable women, and the general public, continue to be failed.

“It’s easy to talk tough on sentencing, and it’s easy to publish ambitious strategies. But none of that makes the public safer or reduces the waste of money and human potential that our current approach to dealing with crime represents. Delivering real change for women at risk of imprisonment is a testing ground for what the government says it wants to do on crime more generally. Its credibility now utterly depends on putting fine words into practice.”

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PRT comment: HMP Wandsworth

06/01/2022 09:30:00

Commenting on the findings of conditions at HMP Wandsworth by HM Inspectorate of Prisons today (6 January), Peter Dawson, director of the Prison Reform Trust said: 

“In 2016, this government announced the ‘biggest shakeup of prisons since Victorian times, as first six reform prisons named, including one of Europe’s largest prisons, HMP Wandsworth’. Five years on, the chief inspector describes that prison as ‘crumbling, overcrowded, vermin-infested’. The human cost of that failure is seven suicides in less than two years. And now the governor, praised by the inspector for his leadership, must prepare for 300 more prisoners to be crammed into his already grossly overcrowded prison. 

“There is little point the government making ever more ambitious statements about prison reform when the reality on the ground is so disgraceful. It’s time to stop promising and start delivering.”

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Last year many people in the community got a small taste of what it’s like to be deprived of the company and traditions that make Christmas special. But it’s always like that in prison, and this year there’s every chance that it will be even harder than usual.

In this post Prison Reform Trust director, Peter Dawson reflects on this Christmas and the uncertain year ahead.

Click 'read more' for the full story

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PRT comment: HMP Manchester

21/12/2021 00:01:00

Commenting on the findings of conditions at HMP Manchester by HM Inspectorate of Prisons today (21 December), Peter Dawson, director of the Prison Reform Trust said:

“With more and more people serving ever longer sentences, the government has published a white paper that promises ‘time well spent’ in custody. Its ambitions are good. But this important report on Manchester prison shows just how far there is to travel. Prisoners facing more years inside than ever before are not getting the opportunities they need to progress in their sentence and show they will be safe to release when the time comes. And some very basic elements of a safe, civilised prison regime are lacking, including poor oversight of use of force by staff. The chief inspector rightly highlights the need for consistent long-term leadership locally. The same is true at the centre—ministers need to deliver on the promises they have made.”

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