Publications A–Z

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Action Pack: Reducing Women's Imprisonment


This action pack has been produced by the Prison Reform Trust in partnership with the Soroptimist UK Programme Action Committee to inform and support the Soroptimists’ campaign to end the unnecessary imprisonment of women in the UK.


Alcohol and Reoffending—Who Cares?


This briefing paper focuses on the high level of alcohol misuse and dependence within the prison population. In recent years a great deal of time and money has been spent developing drug policies and treatment. In comparison alcohol has been overlooked and largely forgotten about. This is despite the fact that alcohol related crime is a key issue for the government and that nearly two thirds of the 74,000 people in prison are hazardous drinkers.


Asylum-Seekers and Immigration Act Prisoners—The Practice of Detention  

Rachel Ellis

ISBN: 0 946209 42 1

This research report examines the practice of administrative detention and is based on research at all the main institutions holding detained asylum-seekers.


Barred Citizens: Volunteering and Active Partnership by Prisoners

Finola Farrant and Joe Levenson

ISBN: 0 946209 56 1

PRT has conducted the first national survey of opportunities for volunteering and citizenship within the prison estate. This briefing brings together the findings of this survey and documents good practice.

Barred from Voting: The Right to Vote for Sentenced Prisoners


A briefing paper that provides an update on the Barred From Voting campaign, which is calling for sentenced prisoners to be given the right to vote.

Black Workers in the Prison Service

Robin Alfred


ISBN: 0 946209 22 7

This report examines the recruitment of black workers to the Prison Service and their experiences in the system. It includes a detailed set of recommendations for action by the Prison Service to develop an anti-racist practice.


Behaviour that Challenges: Planning services for people with learning disabilities and/or autism who sexually offend

Dr Andrea Hollomotz, Jenny Talbot, Ellie Gordon, Clare Hughes and David Harling

There are people with learning disabilities and/or autism in every community, some of whom will engage in sexually offending and risky behaviour. Already a highly marginalised group, many will themselves be at risk of exploitation and abuse. This briefing paper sets out the challenges they face, includes positive practice examples, suggests practical ways forward and proposes recommendations for improved outcomes.

Brighter Futures    

Jenny Earle, Rebecca Nadin and Jessica Jacobson

This briefing presents the case for more widespread provision of targeted support to divert women out of the criminal justice system where appropriate. It highlights the specific needs of women, profiles existing initiatives and partnerships that seek to deal more effectively with their offending, and provides links to other useful resources. It should be of interest to those with policy, funding, commissioning and service delivery responsibilities.


Broken Trust - The rising number of women recalled to prison

Kimmett Edgar

ISBN: 978-1-908504-34-0

Over 1,700 women were recalled to prison in England and Wales during the last year, and reforms which were intended to help women on release are making things worse. This report, based on in-depth interviews conducted with 24 women, explores why increasing numbers of women are being returned to custody, and what the impact is on them and their families.


Covid-19 Action Prisons Project: Tracking Innovation, Valuing Experience (CAPPTIVE)

Briefing #1 — Families and communications


ISBN: 978-1-908504-64-7

The briefing is the first of a series PRT is publishing as part of its CAPPTIVE project, exploring the experience of prisoners and their families during the Covid-19 pandemic. Focusing on the themes of families and communications, it reveals a gap between what was promised by the government to make up for the loss of social visits and what has so far delivered on the ground. It also highlights the dearth of information and communication technology, such as video calls, in prison compared to the community, and a lack of ambition to close this digital divide.

Briefing #2 — Regimes, reactions to the pandemic, and progression


ISBN: 978-1-908504-65-4

Our second CAPPTIVE briefing examines the impact of measures introduced to minimise the risk of infection and prevent deaths. Faced in March 2020 with the possibility of many thousands of deaths in prison from Covid-19, ministers took a decision to try to contain the spread of disease without the significant reduction in prisoner numbers that the government’s health experts recommended. Whilst thankfully limiting the number of deaths amongst prisoners and staff, this briefing shows some of the price of that success. It is a price that prisoners have been paying, and will continue to pay for months and years to come.

Briefing #3 — Healthcare


ISBN: 978-1-908504-78-4

Our third CAPPTIVE briefing highlights the consequences for prisoners of being locked in their cells for up to 23 hours a day for the past 10 months under conditions which amount to “prolonged solitary confinement”. It also highlights measures taken by prisons which had made the situation more bearable. These include kindness and empathy from staff, access to exercise and other activities, mental health support, good communications and effective precautions against the disease.

Briefing #4 - Women


ISBN: 978-1-908504-X

Our fourth CAPPTIVE briefing highlights the devastating impact of Covid-19 restrictions on the mental health and wellbeing of women in prison.


Care - a stepping stone to custody?

Rachel Blades, Di Hart, Joanna Lea and Natasha Willmott

ISBN: 978 1 908504 99 9

Drawing on interviews with children with direct experience of care and of being in trouble, this report considers whether aspects of the care and justice system act as risk or protective factors, increasing the likelihood of, or mitigating against, offending by looked after children. Set in the context of current research, this report shines a light on a vulnerable yet neglected group of children in the youth justice system by placing the voice of looked-after children at the heart of the debate on care and crime. It sets out a blueprint for policy and practice change to put things right at long last.


A Case for a Royal Commission on Crime & Punishment

Louis Blom-Cooper and Sean McConville

ISBN: 0 946209 36 7

A pamphlet that argues that a Royal Commission on Crime and Punishment should be established to conduct a comprehensive review of crime and the responses to crime.


Children & Families of Prisoners: Recommendations for Government


A joint briefing from Action for Prisoners’ Families, CLINKS, Prison Advice & Care Trust and the Prison Reform Trust on the importance of maintaining family ties. It calls on the government to commit to developing policy and practice to address the needs of children and families with a parent or close relative in prison.


Children: Innocent Until Proven Guilty?  

Penelope Gibbs and Simon Hickson

ISBN: 0 946209 99 5

A report on the over-use of remand for under-18 year olds in England and Wales and how it can be addressed.


Community Prisons for Women: A Comparative Study of Practice in England and the Netherlands 

Stephanie Hayman

ISBN: 0 946209 34 0

This PRT pamphlet explores the concept of community prison, and its relevance to women prisoners. It analyses whether shared-detention offers a successful way forward, and concludes emphatically that it cannot provide just and fair detention for women.


Counted Out: Black, Asian and minority ethnic women in the criminal justice system


ISBN: 978 1 908504 27 2

This briefing highlights the different experiences of women from minority ethnic groups in the criminal justice system. We propose measures to help ensure that women are not disadvantaged in their contact with criminal justice agencies because they are Black, Gypsy, Roma or Traveller, Asian, Muslim or from any other minority ethnic or religious group.


Counting the Cost: The Social and Financial Consequences of Women's Imprisonment


Prepared for the Wedderburn Committee on Women's Imprisonment by economist Toby Wolfe, this report looks at the social and financial consequences of imprisoning an ever-increasing number of women.


Creating a Sentencing Commission for England and Wales: An Opportunity to Address the Prison Crisis                                               

Mike Hough and Jessica Jacobson

ISBN: 0946209 88 X

The Carter review of the use of imprisonment, published in 2007, proposed that a permanent sentencing commission be set up in England and Wales. The creation of a commission was seen as a means of improving the transparency, predictability and consistency of sentencing, and thus bringing the demand for imprisonment and the supply of prison places into closer alignment. This report presents the findings of a review of the policy options relating to a sentencing commission.


Criminal Damage: Why We Should Lock Up Fewer Children


A PRT briefing published to mark the tenth anniversary of the establishment of the Youth Justice Board and to inform the Youth Crime Action Plan being prepared by the Department for Children. In 2007 PRT launched a new programme to reduce child and youth imprisonment, with the support of the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund. The first phase of the programme focused on reducing the number of under-18s in custody in England and Wales.


Criminal Treatment: The Imprisonment of Asylum Seekers                 

Jane Shackman

ISBN: 0946209 59 6

This study was commissioned in 2001 at a time when a large and growing number of immigration detainees were held in prisons in England and Wales. A series of government initiatives have dramatically changed the picture. The report underlines the reasons why this practice should never be repeated.


The Decision to Imprison: Sentencing and the Prison Population

Mike Hough, Jessica Jacobson and Andrew Millie

ISBN 0 946209 66 9

This report addresses one of the central problems facing contemporary penal policy. Prisons are overcrowded, budgets are stretched to the limit. The study shows that sentences have become tougher, in response to legislation, guideline judgements and political and media pressure.


Deep Custody: segregation units and close supervision centres in England and Wales

Dr Sharon Shalev and Kimmett Edgar

ISBN: 978 1 908504 97 5

Segregation units and close supervision centres (CSCs) are complex places, where some of the prison's most challenging individuals are confined alongside some of its most vulnerable people, within a small, enclosed space. This study​ examines the use and functions of segregation units and CSCs across England and Wales​. It is based on​ the views and experiences of prisoners housed in these unit and staff working there.


A Different Lens—Report on a pilot programme of active citizen forums in prison


ISBN: 978 1 908504 38 8

This report contains the findings from the active citizens programme launched by the Prison Reform Trust in 2015. The programme worked with groups of prisoners to study specific problems in 10 prisons and to propose solutions for the governor to consider.


Doing Time: The Experiences and Needs of Older People in Prison


This briefing paper aims to give older people in prison a voice. To develop more effective ways of working with older prisoners, an important first step is to hear directly from them.


Doing Time: Good practice with older people in prison - the views of prison staff

Francesca Cooney with Julia Braggins

ISBN: 0 946209 94 4

This report presents the findings of a survey with staff working of older people in prisons in England and Wales. It highlights many excellent initiatives and encourages further development of good practice.


Double Trouble: Black, Asian and minority ethnic offenders’ experiences of resettlement


This report by Clinks and Prison Reform Trust sets out the findings of research into the resettlement needs and experiences of black, Asian and minority ethnic prisoners and ex-prisoners. Six research assistants were contracted to the project, four of whom were from a minority ethnic background and five of whom had served prison sentences.


Education in Prisons: A National Survey 

Nick Flynn and David Price

ISBN: 0 946209 32 4

A report that considers the role of prison education in challenging offending behaviour; it also considers what teaching methods should prison education employ and how important are arts activities and the learning of new vocational skills.


Ensuring a Safe Environment: A Conflict Centred Strategy

Kimmett Edgar


This paper suggests that the most effective strategies to prevent prison violence are based on resolving conflicts among people in prison before they escalate. Drawing on international standards and empirical evidence from England and Wales, it contrasts two models for violence reduction and attempts to show that one is unlikely to be effective and may well add to the risk of violence, while the other, though largely untested, has good empirical support.


Experiences of Minority Ethnic Employees in Prisons


A briefing paper which highlights the results of a PRT survey of black and minority ethnic prison staff.


Fair Access to Justice?    

Jenny Talbot


Fair Access to Justice? prepared for frontline staff in the criminal justice system and the NHS, explains how people with a learning disability who have to appear in court as a victim or witness are given extra support or 'special measures' to help them understand and cope with the process.


Fair Cop? Improving outcomes for women at the point of arrest

Thomas Guiney and Jenny Earle


ISBN: 978 1 908504 18 0

This briefing looks at the variations in how police forces deal with women who come into the criminal justice system, and provides solutions and examples of positive work being delivered by police to tackle low level, non-violent crime committed by women.


A Fair Response: Developing Responses to Racist Incidents That Earn the Confidence of Black and Minority Ethnic Prisoners

Kimmett Edgar

A briefing on the changes that black and minority ethnic prisoners, consulted by PRT, would like to see in the systems prisons use to respond to racist incidents.


Fatally Flawed: has the state learned lessons from the deaths of children and young people in prison?


This report by INQUEST and the Prison Reform Trust considers the 169 children and young people who died in prison between 2003­–2011, and asks whether the state can learn lessons from their deaths. It includes an in-depth analysis of the circumstances of 98 of those who died, finding that many were known to have been vulnerable prior to their imprisonment, their lives characterised by mental health need or self-harm, problems with drug or alcohol use, disruption and loss.


Forgotten Prisoners—The Plight of Foreign National Prisoners in England and Wales


This briefing looks at the startling increase over the last decade in the number of foreign national prisoners and highlights their conditions and inconsistent treatment.


Going the Distance: Developing Effective Policy and Practice with Foreign National Prisoners

Hindpal Singh Bhui

ISBN: 0 946209 70 7

A report on foreign national prisoners, immigration detainees, and asylum seekers that draws on published evidence and original research in seven prisons, as well as the author’s extensive first-hand experience of working with foreign national prisoners.


A Good and Useful Life: Constructive Prison Regimes


ISBN: 0 946209 30 8

This booklet includes contributions from both inside and outside the prison system, including chapters on prison industries and regimes for young offenders.


Growing Old in Prison: A Scoping Study on Older Prisoners  

Ken Howse

ISBN: 946209 63 4

This scoping study gathers together available information on the growth in the older prison population. Its aim is to decide, firstly, whether it raises issues of policy or practice that require further analysis or consideration, and secondly, how any unresolved issues might be best explored in subsequent research.


Hard Act to Follow: Prisons and the Human Rights Act  

Joe Levenson

ISBN: 0 94620 949 9

A report that provides an up-to-date guide to the Human Rights Act 2000, looking at how it could affect the Prison Service’s policies and practices. The report will be invaluable to prison staff, probation officers, members of boards of visitors, lawyers, students of penal policy, and prisoners.


‘Have You Got a Minute?’ The Changing Role of Boards of Visitors

Anne Worrall

ISBN: 0 946209 28 6

Based on interviews and questionnaires with board members, this pamphlet presents a detailed and challenging account of how boards operate in practice.


Having Their Say: The Work of Prisoner Councils

Enver Solomon and Kimmett Edgar

ISBN: 0 946209 68 5

This is the first in-depth study of consultative forums for prisoners, known as prisoner councils. Using results form a survey of prisons in England and Wales, as well as interviews with prisoners and staff, it highlights examples of good practice where prisoner councils have improved communication between management and prisoners. Having Their Say calls for a cultural change in the Prison Service's approach to prisoner representation.


A Helping Hand – Supporting Families in the Resettlement of People Serving IPPs

Harry Annison and Christina Straub 

2019 ISBN: 978-1-908504-21-0

This report found that the pains and barriers faced by families of people serving IPP sentences who are trying to support their relatives through their sentence have not been sufficiently addressed. It makes a series of recommendation intended to increase the information, guidance and support available.


HIV, Aids and Prisons


ISBN: 0 946209 12 X

This report details the dilemmas HIV and AIDS cause in prisons and recommends positive steps that can be taken to reduce the risk while inside, and on release from prison.


HIV and Hepatitis in UK Prisons: Addressing Prisoners' Healthcare Needs  

PRT and the National AIDS Trust

ISBN: 0 946209 79 0

Prisons are breeding grounds for blood-borne viruses because they hold, in overcrowded and adverse conditions, a population with previous experience of high-risk behaviour. This report, the first of its kind, draws on the findings of a survey of healthcare managers in prisons in England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.


Home truths: housing for women in the criminal justice system


This revised report found a chronic shortage of housing support for women released from custody is driving them back to prison.


How can we reduce tensions, conflict and violence in prison?

Lucy Wainwright, Paula Harriott and Soruche Saajedi

ISBN: 978-1-908504-10-4

Safety from physical assault is an essential requirement of an effective and humane penal system. In our third PPN briefing we asked our members "How can we reduce tensions, conflict and violence in prison?". This report, following consultation with over 1,000 serving prisoners, as well as former prisoners, family members and members of staff, makes clear that despite discontent there are initiatives, practices and approaches that prisoners feel are effective.


Implementing Woolf: The Prison System One Year On—Findings from a Questionnaire


ISBN: 0 946209 20 0

The results of a survey PRT carried out in every prison in England and Wales, one year after the publication of the Woolf report, to discover the extent to which Woolf's recommendations had been put into practice.


Indefinitely Maybe? How the Indeterminate Sentence for Public Protection is Unjust and Unsustainable


This briefing examines how IPPs, and other risk-based sentences, are now the chief drivers of the prison population’s continuing growth. It also considers the situation for those caught up in the uncertainty of this sentence.


In Care, Out of Trouble: How the life chances of children in care can be transformed by protecting them from unnecessary involvement in the criminal justice system


ISBN: 978 1 908504 92 0

This report brings together the findings of Lord Laming’s independent review. It examines the reasons for, and how best to tackle, the overrepresentation of children in care, or with experience of care, in the criminal justice system in England and Wales. It proposes recommendations to encourage good practice and ensure sound quality standards become the everyday experience for every child in the care of the state.

The full report is available by clicking here
A Welsh translation of the summary report is available by clicking here
An accompanying literature review, Risk, Adverse Influence and Criminalisation, is available by clicking here


Inside Out: release on temporary licence and its role in promoting effective resettlement and rehabilitation


This briefing highlights the importance of release on temporary licence (ROTL) for reducing reoffending and calls for a review of the government’s changes to the scheme to ensure fairness and proportionality.


Inside Out: The role of the voluntary and private sector in providing opportunities for rehabilitation for people on temporary release


This joint briefing by Clinks and the Prison Reform Trust, based on a survey of voluntary and private sector providers of release on temporary licence (ROTL) placements in the community, was produced to examine the effects of changes to the ROTL policy. It reveals that the changes have had a significantly negative impact on the ability of voluntary and private organisations to provide work experience opportunities for people on temporary release.


International good practice: alternatives to imprisonment for women offenders


An information resource produced by the Prison Reform Trust to inspire and support efforts to reduce the unnecessary imprisonment of women.


Into the Breach: the enforcement of statutory orders in the youth justice system


ISBN: 0946209 87 1

This research report, commissioned from NCB, is the first piece of primary research into children who breach statutory orders. It features an analysis of existing data and learning from qualitative research with children, practitioners and magistrates. Some of the findings chime with common sense, but some are surprising—in some areas, for instance, every single ASBO given to 10 and 11 year olds was breached.


A Job Well Done: Recognising Excellences and Innovation in the UK Prison Service  

PRT and the Butler Trust

The report of a conference held for all those concerned with the need for culture change in the UK Prison Service, including policy makers, prison managers and practitioners, criminal justice and voluntary sector agencies working with offenders, victim groups, staff associations and Butler Trust award winners. The conference examined the Prison Service’s experience of performance recognition and sustaining good practice.


Joint Enterprise: Righting a wrong turn?

Jessica Jacobson, Amy Kirby and Gillian Hunter

ISBN: 978 1 908504 86 9

This report presents the findings of an exploratory study of joint enterprise, undertaken by the Institute for Criminal Policy Research, in partnership with the Prison Reform Trust. Joint enterprise is a doctrine of the criminal law which permits multiple defendants to be convicted of the same criminal offence even where they had different types or levels of involvement. It sets out a number of recommendations for enhancing clarity and transparency in the prosecution of joint enterprise cases.


Just Visiting? A Review of the Role of Prison Visitors' Centres

Nancy Loucks

ISBN: 0 946209 58 8

In 2002 Prison Reform Trust, working in partnership with the Federation of Prisoners' Families Support Groups completed a research study of prison visitors' centres funded by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. The research, carried out by Dr Nancy Loucks, highlighted examples of good practice, looked at the funding of individual visitors' centres, and examined why some prisons have a visitors centres and the benefits they gain from it.


Justice for Women: The Need for Reform


ISBN: 0 946209 48 0

This ground breaking report presents the findings of the Committee on Women's Imprisonment, chaired by Professor Dorothy Wedderburn, set up in 1998, and commissioned by PRT amid concern about the rapid increase in the number of women prisoners. Justice for Women makes radical recommendations for the reform of the criminal justice system with regard to women.


Keeping in Touch: The Case for Family Support Work in Prison

Nancy Loucks

ISBN: 0 946209 65 0

This report reviews the extent and nature of the work of family contact development officers in Scottish prisons and looks at the benefits for prisoners' families, prisoners, and the prisons themselves. It examines the difficulties posed by overcrowding, funding shortfalls, and limited support. It presents a clear case for the introduction of these officers in prisons in England and Wales and draws on research in Scotland that suggests that these posts work well if and when they are adequately resourced and properly integrated as an important part of the regime.


Keeping People Safe in Prison: The Failure of Gateway Communication Systems


This joint report by the PRT, INQUEST and The Prison Advice Centre (Pact) maps the provision of safer custody telephone lines across the prison estate - dedicated phone lines which should enable family members and others to pass on information when they have significant concerns about the welfare of relatives and partners in prison. Despite this stated purpose, the report found that many prisons had no functioning safer custody lines, and the majority of calls went straight through to an answer machine.


Lacking Conviction: The Rise of the Women's Remand Population

Kimmett Edgar

ISBN: 0946209 69 3

In 10 years the number of women in prison has risen sharply from an average daily population of 1,811 to over 4,500 today. Remand numbers have grown at the fastest rate. Lacking Conviction reveals a widespread misuse of custody and examines its impact on some of the most vulnerable women in society. The report sets out a sensible agenda for changes in policy and practice within and outside the criminal justice system.


Last Resort: Exploring the reduction in child imprisonment 2008–11

Rob Allen

ISBN: 978 1 908504 00 5

The number of children imprisoned in England and Wales has fallen from about 3,000 in the first half of 2008 to around 2,000 three years later. This significant fall has happened in parallel with a rise in the adult prison population, and despite any major legislative changes. The reduction in youth custody has occurred without an increase in youth crime. This report analyses why it has happened.


Leading Change: the role of local authorities in supporting women with multiple needs


ISBN: 978 1 908504 11 1

The need for local authorities to take a leadership role in support of women with multiple needs is greater than ever. The introduction of recent legal and policy changes, such as homelessness entitlement, universal credit, social services reform, and the roll out of liaison and diversion services are all impacting our communities. This report suggests ways in which local leaders and councillors can make a positive difference to the daily lives of women and children, helping them to lead healthy, fulfilling and productive lives.


A Lost Generation: The Experiences of Young People in Prison

Enver Solomon

ISBN: 0 946209 77 4

This report focuses on a group of prisoners, 18–20 year olds, whose needs have been overlooked and neglected. It shows that many are experiencing impoverished regimes and the majority are returning to crime on release. It calls on the government to honour its manifesto pledge and provide the investment to prevent 18–20 year olds becoming a 'lost generation'.


Making the Difference: the role of adult social care services in supporting vulnerable offenders


This briefing paper for directors of adult social services and lead members draws together current information about young people and adults with multiple needs in contact with the criminal justice system.


Making Amends: Restorative Youth Justice in Northern Ireland

Jessica Jacobson and Penelope Gibbs

ISBN: 0 946209 97 9

A report that explores the experience and impact of youth conferencing in Northern Ireland, and looks at the potential benefits of introducing a similar model to the youth justice system in England and Wales.


A Measure of Success: An Analysis of the Prison Service's Performance Against its Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) 2003–2004

Enver Solomon

The basis of this briefing was the Prison Service's own published performance targets, which showed that at the end of August 2004, 82 of our 139 prisons were overcrowded.


Mental health and learning disabilities in the criminal courts: information for magistrates, district judges and court staff

Polly McConnell and Jenny Talbot

ISBN: 978 1 908504 04 3

This resource has been produced primarily for magistrates, as well as district judges, legal advisers and ushers. It provides information about some of the common characteristics of mental health conditions and learning disabilities, and how members of the judiciary and court staff might deal with adult defendants with these conditions.


Mitigation: The Role of Personal Factors in Sentencing

Jessica Jacobson, Mike Hough

ISBN: 0 946209 82 0

This report is concerned with personal mitigation: factors that reduce the severity of a sentence, and relate to the offender rather than the offence. The study involved observation of sentences passed in the crown court, and interviews with judges and recorders.


More carrot, less stick: Proposals for the radical reassessment of the use of release on temporary licence


The justice secretary Rt Hon David Gauke MP has indicated a desire to transform the rehabilitative impact of prisons, including the use of release on temporary licence (ROTL) to support resettlement. This short briefing analyses the current use of ROTL and suggests ways in which a transformation might be brought about.


No life, no freedom, no future: The experiences of prisoners recalled under the sentence of Imprisonment for Public Protection

Dr Kimmett Edgar, Dr Mia Harris and Russell Webster

No life, no freedom, no future' explores the experiences of people serving IPP sentences who have been recalled back to custody following their initial release.

Its findings are based on new data provided by HM Prison and Probation Service on recalls and re-releases of people serving IPPs; interviews with 31 recalled IPP prisoners; and interviews and focus groups with a range of criminal justice practitioners including probation, parole and prison lawyers.


No One Knows: Offenders with Learning Difficulties and Learning Disabilities 

Nancy Loucks

A briefing paper that highlights the fact that, even without agreed estimates of prevalence, many offenders have learning difficulties or learning disabilities that interfere with their ability to cope with the criminal justice system.

A short briefing of the briefing paper’s launch in Wales is available both in English and Welsh.

Click here to download a copy in English.

Click here to download a copy in Welsh.


No One Knows: Identifying and Supporting Prisoners with Learning Difficulties and Learning Disabilities: The Views of the Prison Staff in England and Wales  

Jenny Talbot

ISBN 0 946209 80 4

What is clear from this research is that people with learning difficulties and learning disabilities are not routinely identified prior to arriving in prison and once in prison face a number of difficulties. This report, which examines the views of prison staff in England and Wales, contains a set of policy and practice recommendations for radical reform.


No One Knows: Identifying and Supporting Prisoners with Learning Difficulties and Learning Disabilities: The Views of the Prison Staff in Northern Ireland

Nancy Loucks and Jenny Talbot

ISBN: 0 946209 87 1

What is clear from this research is that people with learning difficulties and learning disabilities are not routinely identified prior to arriving in prison and once in prison face a number of difficulties. This report, which examines the views of prison staff in Northern Ireland, contains a set of policy and practice recommendations for radical reform.


No One Knows: Identifying and Supporting Prisoners with Learning Difficulties and Learning Disabilities: The Views of the Prison Staff in Scotland             

Nancy Loucks and Jenny Talbot

ISBN: 0946209 81 2

What is clear from this research is that people with learning difficulties and learning disabilities are not routinely identified prior to arriving in prison and once in prison face a number of difficulties. This report which examines the views of prison staff in Scotland, contains a set of policy and practice recommendations for radical reform.


No One Knows: Police Responses to Suspects with Learning Disabilities and Learning Difficulties: A Review of Policy and Practice  

Jessica Jacobson

ISBN: 0 946209 84 7

This report examines how, according to the policy framework, the police should respond to suspects with learning disabilities and learning difficulties, and how the police do respond, in practice.


No One Knows: Prisoners’ Voices: No One Knows Report and Final Recommendations  

Jenny Talbot 

ISBN: 0 946209 89 7

This report examines the experiences of the criminal justice system by prisoners with learning disabilities and difficulties.


No One Knows: Vulnerable Defendants in the Criminal Courts: A Review of Provision for Adults and Children  

Jessica Jacobson and Jenny Talbot

ISBN: 0 946209 96 0

A report on the treatment of vulnerable defendants within the criminal courts of England and Wales. Part I is concerned with vulnerable adult defendants and particularly those with learning disabilities; Part II looks at child defendants (aged between 10 and 17). The report assesses existing provision for those two groups of vulnerable defendants, identifies gaps in provision, and presents recommendations for reform.


Old Enough to Know Better? A briefing on young adults in the criminal justice system


Building on the success of reductions in the number of children in custody and their offending, this report, published by Out of Trouble, the Prison Reform Trust’s programme to reduce child and youth imprisonment, sets out the case for extending the multi-agency approach to young adults aged 18 to 20 years-old.


Out for Good: Lessons for the future

Katie Pedder


ISBN: 978 1 908504 17 3

This report examines the opportunities for prisons to engage with employers to help prisoners become job-ready and find work on release from prison. It demonstrates that the potential to secure sustainable employment for prisoners before and after release is both great and largely going unrealised, providing recommendations for practice in future.

Two toolkits have been produced to assist employers and prisons:

The employer toolkit is designed to help build a successful relationship with a prison as a source of future employees,

The prison toolkit is designed to help prisons to review the work they are already doing, and those that want to start something new.


Out for Good: Taking responsibility for resettlement

Kimmett Edgar, Andreas Aresti and Neil Cornish

ISBN: 978 1 908504 01 2

This report presents evidence to demonstrate the importance of enabling prisoners to take responsibility for the decisions that affect their resettlement, with an analysis of the impact of peer advice, links within the community and contact with families.


Out of the Shadows: Women with learning disabilities in contact with or on the edges of the criminal justice system

Tracy Hammond and Jenny Talbot, with Jenny Earle and Ashleigh Murray

ISBN: 978-1-908504-14-2

This report considers the criminal justice response towards women with learning disabilities. It examines the legislative and policy frameworks that exist to help ensure women with learning disabilities get the support they need, which, in turn, can serve to avoid contact with criminal justice services. Most importantly, the report gives a voice to women with learning disabilities, enabling them to talk about their experiences.


Out of Trouble: Making Amends: Restorative Youth Justice in Northern Ireland

Jessica Jacobson and Penelope Gibbs   

ISBN: 0 946209 97 9

This report, commissioned as part of PRT’s programme to reduce child and youth imprisonment in the UK (Out of Trouble), explores the experience and impact of youth conferencing in Northern Ireland and looks at the potential benefits of introducing a similar model to the youth justice system in England and Wales.


Out of Trouble: Reducing Child Imprisonment in England and Wales—Lessons from Abroad

Enver Soloman and Rob Allen

ISBN: 0 946209 98 9

This report, commissioned as part of PRT’s programme to reduce child and youth imprisonment in the UK (Out of Trouble), focuses specifically on international examples of policy and practice used in countries that have relatively low numbers of children in custody or those that have been developed and implemented in countries in order to reduce child imprisonment.


PAVA spray: A Prison Reform Trust position paper

Peter Dawson


This paper sets out PRT’s position on the introduction of PAVA incapacitant spray in prisons. Based on analysis of the evaluation of six-month pilots run in four prisons, the accompanying equality assessment and correspondence between the Prison Reform Trust and the Ministry of Justice, this paper examines its use, the issues at stake and the conclusions we draw about the case for proceeding with the PAVA rollout. 


Prison Overcrowding: The Inside Story

Joe Levenson

ISBN: 0 946209 61 8

This major report is the most comprehensive study of prison overcrowding and its effects to have been published since the Woolf report in 1991. Over 100 boards of visitors, the independent watchdogs which monitor prisons and safeguard the rights of prisoners, took part in a study carried out by the Prison Reform Trust and the National Advisory Council of Boards of Visitors. The majority of boards of visitors expressed concern at prison numbers and said that prison overcrowding was adversely affecting the prison they monitored.


Prison Rules: A Working Guide, The Millennium Edition

Nancy Loucks

ISBN: 0 946209 46 4

This book is the most up-to-date and thorough guide to the rules and regulations by which our prisons are run. Totally re-written to take account of the 1999 Prison Rules and all recent developments in the courts, it is an invaluable reference work. Each prison rule is cited in full with the relevant prison service orders and prison service instructions.


Prisoners reforming prisons: Active citizens panels’ suggestions for improving their prisons


This report is the second published as part of PRT’s active citizenship programme, and focuses on three important areas of prison life: safety, respectful relationships, and the responsible use of time in prison.


Private Punishment: Who Profits?


A briefing paper that assesses the impact, and raises questions about the benefits of privately financed, designed, built, and operated prisons. It also examines the record of the private companies involved and considers the government’s future plans under the National Offender Management Service for extending the private sector’s role.


Public Say: Stop Locking Up So Many Women  

Sinead Hanks

A briefing paper examining public attitudes to offending by women.


Punishing Disadvantage: A Profile of Children in Custody

Jessica Jacobson, Bina Bhardwa, Tracy Gyateng, Gillian Hunter and Mike Hough

ISBN: 0 946209 92 8

In England and Wales in 2010 there are over 2,000 children in custody at any one time. Over a quarter have not been convicted. Half of those convicted are sentenced for nonviolent crimes. Children who commit crimes are sometimes depicted as callous monsters. This study uncovers the real circumstances and backgrounds of children in custody. It analyses the nature of the crimes they have committed and assesses the disadvantages they face in terms of family and home life, mental health and education. The results mirror those of 1984, and beg the question: why are we still condemning the most socially excluded and deprived children to imprisonment?


Punishment without Purpose


This report critically examines the changes to the Incentives and Earned Privileges (IEP) scheme introduces by the justice secretary Chris Grayling in 2013. In particular it criticises the changes as being broadly punitive in nature instead of endeavouring to make prisons places of fairness, decency and rehabilitation. The briefing highlights the impacts of the changes and calls for an urgent review of the new IEP scheme, with a renewed focus on ensuring effective rehabilitation and safe and decent conditions.


Recycling Offenders Through Prison


A briefing paper that looks at the increase in the number of adult offenders recalled to custody.


Relative Justice: the experiences and views of family members of people with particular needs in contact with criminal justice and liaison and diversion services

Jenny Talbot, Rebecca Cheung and Sam O’Sullivan

ISBN: 978 1 908504 99 9

This report explores how families can support relatives with particular needs who come into contact with criminal justice services; how they can assist in preventing reoffending; and the role of liaison and diversion services in ensuring that needs are met.


Reforming Women's Justice: Final report of the Women's Justice Taskforce

Women's Justice Taskforce

ISBN: 0 946209 86 3

The final report of the independent Women's Justice Taskforce taking a fresh look at an old problem this time focussing on the economics, structure and accountability of women’s justice.


Resolving Enquiries About Rules in Prison: A Peer-led Information Service Toolkit


This toolkit advises on how to set up advice and information services in prisons, and is built from the experiences of the Prison Reform Trust Advice and Information Service as well as the collated examples of good practice identified from a variety of peer-led services within various prisons. It is intended to inform both prisoners and prison staff on how to set-up similar services from scratch.


Restricted Access: Legal Information for Remand Prisoners

Diana Ruthven and Elizabeth Seward

ISBN: 0 946209 35 9

The poor conditions in which remand prisoners are held, and the length of time they are detained, have been a major focus of PRT's work for over a decade.


Seen and Heard: supporting vulnerable children in the youth justice system

Jenny Talbot

ISBN: 0 946209 90 1

The publication of this report attempts to address the particular support needs of certain children who offend; that is, children with impairments and difficulties, who are often vulnerable and frequently disadvantaged.


Sentencing of Mothers: Improving the sentencing process and outcomes for women with dependent children

Shona Minson, Rebecca Nadin and Jenny Earle

ISBN: 978 1 908504 98 2

This discussion paper provides an overview of sentencing practice for women with dependent children and sets out a number of proposals for improving the operation of the justice system.


Social Care or Systemic Neglect: Older people on Release from Prison

Neil Cornish, Kimmett Edgar, Alex Hewson and Stuart Ware

This report examines challenges specific to older prisoners, resettlement services, and the social care needs of older offenders. It discusses the lack of national strategy for older offenders and concludes with some recommendations for improving the resettlement provision for older people in custody.


Strangeways—Ten Years On


ISBN: 0 946209 50 2

On 11 April 2000, PRT convened a conference in Manchester to consider the continuing implications of the riot at Strangeways prison, which took place on 1 April 1990. This report of the conference contains the full texts of the two plenary speeches, from Martin Narey, director general of the Prison Service, and Rod Morgan, an assessor to the Woolf enquiry.  Brief notes of the workshops are included.


Strangeways 25 years on: Achieving Fairness and Justice in Our Prisons

Mark Day, Alex Hewson and Charles Spiropoulos


ISBN: 978 1 908504 08 1

This briefing highlights the legacy of the Woolf report in establishing the fundamental principles of fairness and justice in our prisons. Using Lord Woolf’s original 12 main recommendations, it commends progress made over 25 years, emphasises the importance of further reform and highlights areas where progress has reversed.


Still no way out: Foreign National Women and Trafficked Women in the Criminal Justice System


ISBN: 978 1 908504 44 9

The report found that foreign national women, many of whom are accused or convicted of non-violent offences and who have in many cases been trafficked or coerced into offending, are receiving inadequate legal representation, poor interpreting services and disproportionate punishment.

A summary version of the report is available by clicking here.


Tackling Discrimination in Prison: Still Not a Fair Response

Kimmett Edgar and Khatuna Tsintsadze

This report examines the system of response to discrimination complaints within prison, the relatively small amount of complaints which are upheld and evidence which suggests that the existing system is not performing effectively. It recommends that the prison service should strengthen the distinct process for investigating claims of discrimination.


Talking Justice: Where do you stand? and Talking Justice: What can I do?


ISBN 978 1 908504 03 6

ISBN 978 1 908504 02 9

These information packs are intended as guides to both support discussion about prisons and community sentencing in England and Wales, and as a guide to volunteering in the criminal justice system.


There When You Need Them Most: PACT's First Night in Custody Services

Jessica Jacobson, Kimmett Edgar and Nancy Loucks

ISBN: 0 946209 83 9

This report describes some of the steps that can be taken to resolve urgent concerns about the first night services provided by the Prison Advice and Care Trust (PACT) to people when they first arrive in HMP Exeter, HMP Holloway, and HMP Wandsworth. The report reviews what it is like to enter prison; which problems causes prisoners the greatest worry; and what is done in different local prisons to meet the needs of new prisoners.


"There's a reason we're in trouble" - Domestic abuse as a driver to women's offending


ISBN: 978 1 908504 42 5

This report identifies strong links between women's experience of domestic and sexual abuse and coercive relationships, and their offending.

The Criminal Bar Association has produced an accompanying briefing on the defences available for women defendants who are victims/survivors of domestic abuse.


Thinking Differently Employers’ views on hiring people convicted of sexual offences

Dr Mia Harris, Dr Rachel Tynan, and Dr Kimmett Edgar

ISBN: 978 1 908504 67 8

Thinking Differently, written by Dr Mia Harris, Dr Rachel Tynan and Dr Kimmett Edgar, explores employers’ attitudes towards hiring people convicted of sexual offences. Its findings are based on a survey of employers and interviews with prison resettlement officers, employers, charities and other professionals.


Through the Gateway: How Computers Can Transform Rehabilitation

Nina Champion and Kimmett Edgar

ISBN: 978 1 908504 05 0

This report, jointly published by the Prison Reform Trust and Prisoners Education Trust, shows how prison can use ICT effectively to improve rehabilitation. It sets out a vision for better use of secure, controlled access to computers in order to transform education, family contact and resettlement in prisons and reduce reoffending on release.


Time to Learn: Prisoners' Views on Prison Education

Julia Braggins and Jenny Talbot

ISBN: 0 946209 67 7

This report sets out to explore prisoners' own views of their education needs. The researchers interviewed a diverse cross-section of prisoners—both in and not in education—exploring their experiences and giving a voice to their ideas on how to develop prison education to reflect their needs.


Time is Money: Financial Responsibility After Prison

Chris Bath and Kimmett Edgar

ISBN: 978 0 946209 91 X

This report explores the impact of the criminal justice system on banking, credit, debt, savings, financial capability, benefits, and insurance. The role of advice and the practical implications of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act are also considered. The key findings inform practical, cost effective recommendations to achieve financial inclusion for people in prison, former offenders and their families, improve resettlement and reduce reoffending.


Time well spent: A practical guide to active citizenship and volunteering in prison

Kimmett Edgar, Jessica Jacobson and Kathy Biggar

This report builds on evidence from a survey of prisons across England and Wales and visits to active citizenship schemes. It shows that volunteering opportunities enable prisoners to exercise responsibility and make a contribution to society. It profiles good practice and provides prison staff with practical guidelines about how to make active citizenship work, including how to manage any risks involved.


Titan Prisons: A Gigantic Mistake


A briefing paper that discusses Lord Carter’s review on prisons of 2007 which announced it had accepted the proposal to build up to three giant Titan prisons, each holding up to 2,500 prisoners.


Too Little Too Late: An Independent Review of Unmet Mental Health Need in Prison

Kimmett Edgar and Dora Rickford

ISBN: 0946209 90 1

Independent Monitoring Boards perform a vital function in prisons, monitoring fairness and respect for people in custody. Appointed by the Secretary of State for Justice, they provide an independent perspective on the treatment of prisoners and the conditions in prisons. The National Council of Independent Monitoring Boards recently analysed annual reports and identified prisoners’ unmet mental health needs as a foremost concern of boards across England and Wales. This report draws on the views of the chair of each board and sets them in the context of current research and policy.


Transforming Lives: Reducing Women's Imprisonment


ISBN: 978 1 908504 07 4

This report, based upon evidence collected by the Soroptimists, provides a UK wide, country-by-country, overview of current practice relating to women in the criminal justice system.


Triage and diversion: Getting it right 24/7


ISBN: 978 1 908504 31 9

Report of a seminar held early 2017 with Police Scotland considering the benefits and opportunities of early interventions for women.


Troubled Inside: Responding to the Mental Health Needs of Children and Young People in Prison

Finola Farrant 


ISBN: 0 946209 54 5

This report aims to prompt a response to the unmet mental health needs of children and young people in the criminal justice system. It draws together current research and practice and sets out an agenda for change.  Recommendations include an end to the imprisonment of children, improved assessment of mental health problems, early intervention to prevent young people with a mental illness entering prison, and a reduction in the use of remand.


Troubled Inside: Responding to the Mental Health Needs of Men in Prison

Dora Rickford and Kimmett Edgar

ISBN: 0 946209 73 1

This report examines why men who have serious mental health problems end up in prison. It shows how the early warning system of court diversion and liaison schemes has broken down. It explores the lack of mental health care for the majority of prisoners, who have less serious, but nonetheless debilitating, mental health problems. Particular topics include: self-harm and suicide, dual diagnosis, learning disabilities, deafness, the elderly, prisoners holding foreign nationality, and black and minority ethnic prisoners. It concludes with comprehensive recommendations about how to improve policy and practice.


Troubled Inside: Responding to the Mental Health Needs of Women in Prison

Dora Rickford

ISBN: 0 946209 64 2

This report reveals the extent of the mental health needs of women in prison. It exposes the gap between improved policy and still bleak practice. It offers a set of detailed recommendations and a ten-point action plan that, if implemented, would ensure that the needs of mentally ill women inside the prison system are met.


Vulnerable Defendants in the Criminal Courts: A Review of Provision for Adults and Children   

Jessica Jacobson and Jenny Talbot

ISBN: 0 946209 96 0

A report on the treatment of vulnerable defendants within the criminal courts of England and Wales. The report is in two parts: Part I is concerned with vulnerable adult defendants, and particularly those with learning disabilities; Part II is about child defendants—that is, defendants aged between 10 and 17.


What about me? The Impact on Children When Mothers are Involved in the Criminal Justice System

Sarah Beresford

ISBN: 978 1 908504 39 5

This report considers the impact on children of maternal imprisonment, finding that this not only damages the child’s relationship with their mother, but can affect every area of their lives, including their housing, education, health, and well-being. The report makes detailed recommendations for reform.


What do you need to made the best use of your time in prison?

Lucy Wainwright, Paula Harriott and Soruche Saajedi

ISBN: 978-1-908504-56-2

For the second report of the Prisoner Policy Network, we asked members 'What do you need to make the best use of your time in prison?'. Prisoners who responded to our call for evidence told us overwhelmingly that they need to feel a sense of hope for the future and to be given meaningful opportunities which allow them to develop and thrive, with prisons promoting personal growth as an end in itself, not just a means to reduced reoffending.


What incentives work in prison? A Prisoner Policy Network Consultation

Lucy Wainwright, Paula Harriott and Soruche Saajedi

ISBN: 978-1-908504-29-6

The first report of the Prisoner Policy Network, an emerging network of current serving prisoners, ex-prisoners and connected organisations who want to share their expertise and experience with policy makers. ‘What incentives work in prison?’ is the result of an extensive consultation exercise with over 1,250 people with experience of prison. Ensuring basic standards of decency in prison conditions; restoring trust in the incentives scheme; developing supportive prisoner and staff relationships; providing meaningful incentives; and giving prisoners the opportunities to rebuild trust, were all identified as key solutions.


Who Cares? Exploring distress in prison from the perspective of people in prison

Dr Lucy Wainwright and Fabien Decodts

By exploring distress in prison from the perspective of those who live there, and drawing from a range of other sources including television documentaries and podcasts, newspaper articles, academic and grey literature, this report focuses on how aspects of the prison environment can interact with well-known self-harm and suicide risk factors to either reduce or increase risk further.


Why focus on reducing women's imprisonment?


This briefing provides a concise explanation of the need to focus on reducing women's imprisonment. It contains key facts on the number of women imprisoned, the characteristics of women in prison, as well as information about community-based services and solutions


Why focus on reducing women's imprisonment in Scotland?


An updated briefing highlighting progress made in Scotland, it contains key facts and figures on women imprisoned in Scotland, the characteristics of women in prison and the drivers to their offending, as well as information about community-based services and solutions.


The Woolf Report—A Summary of the Main Findings and Recommendations of the Inquiry into Prison Disturbances


ISBN: 0 946209 19 7

This booklet summarises Lord Justice Woolf's main recommendations in an easy-to-read format. In its second edition, the PRT Woolf summary is essential reading for everyone with an interest in penal policy.


Working it out: Employment for women offenders


This briefing summarises research on employment opportunities and outcomes for women offenders, identifies the particular barriers they face and highlights good practice in the community and in custody.


Young Parents: From Custody to Community

Joanne Sherlock

ISBN: 0 946209 71 5

This guide and resource pack, includes a DVD with films giving personal testimonies of parent’s and children's experience of imprisonment and community penalties. It is the result of a three-year project looking at the needs of young parents who offend and profiling good practice in work with young mothers and fathers, both in the community and in custody, along with a comprehensive policy overview.


Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Prison Reform Fellowships


Connections: A review of learning from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust prison reform fellowships

Helen Fair and Jessica Jacobson


The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust funds British citizens to travel overseas in order to find out about innovative policies and practices which can be applied to their own sphere of work back home. In this briefing, we consider the issue of ‘connections’ with reference to five sub-themes addressed through the WCMT Fellowships: family; constructive peer relations; problem-solving approaches to justice; a sense of responsibility; and arts and media.

Family Connections: A Review of Learning from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Prison Reform Fellowships—Part II

Helen Fair and Jessica Jacobson

This report looks at initiatives which aim to help people in prison to maintain their family relationships through specific programmes or facilities for family visits to prison. In addition, it examines work being done to provide practical and emotional support to family members of prisoners, including through mitigation of trauma and other difficulties faced by prisoners’ children.


Problem Solving Approaches: A review of Learning from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Prison Reform Fellowships—Part III

Jessica Jacobson and Helen Fair

This briefing focuses on problem-solving approaches to criminal justice. It examines welfare-oriented and diversionary work with children and young people; Collaborative initiatives between the police and mental health services; and different approaches to problem solving courts.


Peer relations: Review of Learning from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Prison Reform Fellowships—Part IV

Helen Fair and Jessica Jacobson

This briefing examines the importance of positive peer relations for promoting desistance from offending and providing moral and practical support to people in prison and on release.


Sense of Self and Responsibility: A Review of Learning from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Prison Reform Fellowships—Part V

Jessica Jacobson and Helen Fair

This briefing profiles interventions which encourage people to develop a positive sense of self and a sense of responsibility for their lives and towards others.