The Prison Reform Trust (PRT) is a registered charity that works to create a just, human and effective penal system. The organisation was established in 1981 in London by a small group of prison reform campaigners who were concentrating more on community punishments than on traditional prison reform issues. 

The founding members were

Chairman: Sir Monty Finniston
Deputy Chairman: Ruth Runciman

Executive Committee
David Astor
Mark Bonham Carter
Louis Blom-Cooper
John Grigg
Ludovic Kennedy
Robert Loder
Sir Brian Mackenna
Rev Peter Timms

Hon Treasurer : Susan Baring
Hon Auditor: John Hease FCA, IPFA, FRVA.

Stephen Shaw was director from 1981 to 1999, when he became the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman for England and Wales. He was succeeded as director by Juliet Lyon.

PRT aims to improve prison regimes and conditions, defend and promote prisoners’ human rights, address the needs of prisoners’ families, and promote alternatives to custody. The charity carries out research on all aspects of prison. Studies include: prisoners' views on prison education, the mental health needs of women prisoners, older prisoners, prisoners with disabilities, prisoner councils, foreign national prisoners, prisoner votes, and a report into how sentencers make the decision to imprison offenders. PRT’s activities  also include advice and information, education, parliamentary lobbying and the provision of the secretariat to the All Party Parliamentary Penal Affairs Group.

Out of Trouble is a Prison Reform Trust campaign which is working to reduce the number of children and young people who are imprisoned in the UK.

Our Advice and Information team of three offer advice and information to thousands of people every year: prisoners, their families, prison and probation staff, the legal profession, students, academics and interested members of the public.

We regularly organize an annual lecture, and a range of conferences and seminars which attract high profile speakers and large audiences. Former PRT lectures have featured a wide range of influential speakers, including Jack Straw MP, Charles Clarke MP, the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, Professor Bryan Stevenson of America's Equal Justice Initiative and Dame Anne Owers DBE.