Projects & research

The Prison Reform Trust aims to reduce imprisonment and improve conditions for prisoners and their families. We do this by inquiring into the workings of the system; informing prisoners, staff and the wider public; and by influencing Parliament, government and officials towards reform.

You can find out more about our current programmes and priorities for reform in this section.


Prison: the facts

The Bromley Briefings Prison Factfile, and our shorter briefing Prison: the facts share the latest facts and figures about our prisons and the people in them. Drawn largely from government statistics, and fully referenced, they provide an authoritative source of information on prison conditions. The evidence they contain underpin our programmes and advocacy work to influence ministers and policy makers.

To find out the facts about prison click here.


Prisoner Policy Network


The Prisoner Policy Network (PPN) is an emerging network of current serving prisoners, ex-prisoners and connected organisations who want to share their experiences and ideas with policy makers. The PPN aims to share the views of people with experience of living in prison with those involved in prison policy development nationally through research, consultation and reports.

Find out more about the programme by clicking here.


Building Futures


Building Futures focuses on how long sentences impact prisoners, their families and wider communities. Working collaboratively with prisoners, prison staff and others, the programme aims to provide solutions and shape a prison environment that is safe, humane, encourages accountability and fosters hope. It will also place a strong emphasis on promoting prisoner leadership and self-advocacy and the creation of inter-prisoner support networks.

Find out more about the programme by clicking here.


Transforming Lives


The Prison Reform Trust has long called for a reduction in women’s imprisonment in the UK and a step change in how the criminal justice system responds to the needs of women. Our Transforming Lives programme has a single aim—to reduce the number of women sent to prison.

Find out more about the programme by clicking here.


Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP)


The indeterminate sentence of Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) was introduced in England and Wales in 2005. It was intended for people considered ‘dangerous’ but whose offence did not merit a life sentence. However, it became increasingly clear that the sentence was having severe and unforeseen consequence, with people being held in prison many years beyond their minimum 'tariff' period.

Whilst the sentence was eventually abolished in 2012, this was not retrospective, meaning that today thousands of people remain in prison yet to be released, and those in the community remain subject to the sentence and an indefinite period of detention and supervision. PRT continues to press for a fair and just outcome for these individuals who were left out of the government’s decision to abolish the IPP.

Find out more about our work on IPPs by clicking here.


PAVA spray


The Prison Reform Trust has been engaged in long-standing dialogue with the Ministry of Justice and HM Prison and Probation Service regarding the decision to roll out PAVA incapacitant spray to prisons across the adult male closed estate. We have issued an urgent call for the government to reverse its decision, and continue to scrutinise its use and press for its withdrawal.

Find out more about our work on PAVA by clicking here.


Active Citizens


The Prison Reform Trust launched the active citizens programme in 2015. It aims to encourage the improvement of conditions by drawing on the perspectives and insights of people in prison to provide practical solutions to a particular challenge that their prison is facing.

Active Citizens forums have been held in a number of prisons, tackling a broad range of topics. This includes preventing fights, keeping the environment clean, treating prisoners as adults, and preparing for release. The forums allow governors to see problems from the prisoners’ point of view and consider their solutions.

Find out more about the programme by clicking here.


Care not Custody


The National Federation of Women’s Institutes (NFWI) has called consistently for the diversion of people with mental health needs from custody into treatment and care. It’s Care not Custody initiative was inspired by the tragic death by suicide of a schizophrenic young man in Manchester prison, the son of a WI member. Since then the Prison Reform Trust (PRT) has worked in partnership with the NFWI to effect change.

Find out more by clicking here.