Inspectorate reports

Commenting on today's thematic report on living conditions in prison by HM Inspectorate of Prisons, Peter Dawson, director of the Prison Reform Trust said:

“This report describes a stain on our national reputation and reveals the dreadful truth about conditions in much of our overcrowded prison system. This is a system that “demoralises and embitters” the people for whom it purports to care, encourages drug taking in prison and undermines rehabilitation on release. Incredibly, enforced inactivity is worst for the young adults with most energy to burn.  As the Chief Inspector makes clear, reform cannot be delivered against this backdrop. A significant reduction in our unnecessary and unmerciful resort to this most severe of punishments is an essential first step to a prison system of which we can feel proud rather than ashamed.”

Read more


Commenting on HM Inspectorate of Prisons report on HMYOI Aylesbury published today (Thursday 17 August), Mark Day, Head of Policy and Communications at the Prison Reform Trust, said:

"Young adults are among the most vulnerable, troubled individuals in custody, and yet this report into the Justice Secretary David Lidington's local constituency prison shows that their needs are being neglected at every stage. It is particularly concerning that little progress has been made since the last inspection in 2015, and in some areas the prison has deteriorated further. The Justice Secretary this week committed to improving the accountability of prisons for responding to inspectorate recommendations. This cannot come soon enough, and must be matched by a commitment to ensure vulnerable young adults in the justice system get the distinct and tailored support they need."

Read more


PRT comment: HMP Guys Marsh

11/04/2017 09:30:00

Commenting on today's HM Inspectorate of Prisons report on Guys Marsh, Peter Dawson, director of the Prison Reform Trust said:
 
“Yet another inspection shows the damage done to our prisons by irresponsible cost cutting, and a few more staff won’t make the difference on their own. The solution must involve restoring hope for those prisoners who want to make constructive use of their time inside. That should include spending time working in the community as preparation for release. But incredibly, only one prisoner in Guys Marsh was out on temporary licence at the time of the inspection. It is time ministers were held to account for the part their government has played in reducing prisons like Guys Marsh to the state they’re in—and for the policy changes they need to approve to help them recover.”

Read more


PRT comment: HMP Exeter

01/02/2017 00:01:00

Commenting on the publication of the HM Inspectorate of Prisons report of HMP ExeterPeter Dawson, director of the Prison Reform Trust said:

“Yet again the government's response to another damning inspection report promises more staff as the solution. Even if that can be delivered, two-thirds of people in Exeter prison will still be sharing cells designed for one. This is not about leadership, governor autonomy or recruitment. Overcrowding undermines all aspects of prison life and it is a scandal that the government doesn't even have a target date to eliminate it—still less a plan to do so. The problem is staring us in the face—our overuse of prison—and nothing in the government's reform package currently addresses it.”

Read more


PRT comment: HMP Chelmsford

16/08/2016 00:01:00

Commenting on the publication of today's report on HMP Chelmsford by HM Inspectorate of Prisons, director of the Prison Reform Trust, Peter Dawson said:

“This depressingly familiar report contains some important lessons for prison reform.  A prison built for 550 people holds 150 people more than it should, which is roughly the number the inspectors find locked behind their door. Accommodation that is modern and fit for purpose produces better results than when it’s nearly 200 years old. Too many prisoners housed in overcrowded, outdated establishments equals the failing system we currently have. Fewer prisoners and sensible investment equals a large part of the solution.”

Read more


Commenting, incoming director of the Prison Reform Trust, Peter Dawson said:

"This report shows the justice secretary where she must begin on prison reform. Making prisons safe for everyone who lives and works in them is the absolute priority and the necessary bedrock for longer term change. She must urgently solve the mismatch between the demand on the prison service and the resources available to meet it. Realistically, that means reducing the number of prisoners so that prisons can return to being places where staff and prisoners can rebuild the relationships on which security, safety and rehabilitation all depend."

Download a copy of the full report by clicking here.

Read more


Commenting on today's HM Inspectorate of Prisons report of HMP Wormwood Scrubs, Juliet Lyon, director of the Prison Reform Trust said:

“This shattering report on London’s best-known Victorian jail reveals levels of Dickensian squalor which ought to have been consigned to the history books. Inspectors found deteriorating levels of safety, poor staff/management relations, high use of force, inadequate support for people at risk of suicide and self-harm and a prison awash with drink and drugs. Most men were locked up 22 hours a day and the prison was filthy and rat-infested. These inhumane, degrading conditions have no place in a modern justice system. No prison goes downhill overnight. Putting things right is a litmus test for a government publicly committed to reform.”

You can download the report by clicking here.

photo: Chmee2 under creative commons.

Read more


Too many women, many of whom are mothers, are sent to prison every year to serve short sentences for non-violent crimes, often for a first offence, a new Prison Reform Trust (PRT) briefing reveals.

The briefing marks the launch of a drive by the Prison Reform Trust,  supported by a £1.2 million grant from the Big Lottery Fund, to reduce the number of women who are sent to prison for minor non-violent offences.

Read more


Commenting on the HM Chief Inspector of Prisons annual report 2014-15, Juliet Lyon, Director of the Prison Reform Trust, said:

“No mystery that violence, self-harm and suicide rise when you overcrowd prisons, reduce staff by almost one third, cut time out of cell and purposeful activity. The backdrop is a more punitive climate, increased injustice and uncertainty which have sucked hope out of the system for prisoners and staff. Solutions lie in good strong leadership from the new Secretary of State through to prison governors, a commitment to treat people in prison with humanity and respect and a determination to make prison an effective place of last resort.”

Read the report by clicking here

Read more


A rapid expansion in the prison population in England and Wales over the past twenty years is placing a growing burden on the taxpayer while reoffending rates out of prison have remained stubbornly high, according to a new report by the Prison Reform Trust.

Analysis published in Prison: The Facts estimates that in 2014 the cost of holding that increased population at today’s costs was an extra £1.22bn compared with twenty years ago—a cost of over £40 per year for every UK taxpayer.

This extra funding of prison places is equivalent to employing an additional 56,000 newly qualified nurses.

Click 'read more' for the full story.

Read more