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27 Mar 2018

Howard League responds to Brinsford prison inspection

The Howard League for Penal Reform has responded to Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons’ report on Brinsford prison, published today (Tuesday 27 March).

Inspectors visited the prison, which holds young men aged 18 to 21, in November last year and found that there had been a disturbing rise in the number of incidents of self-injury. More than 550 such incidents were recorded between May and October 2017.

Violence remained high, and prisoners spent far too long inside their cells. Some men were locked up for 23 hours a day, and even those in employment were typically in their cells for more than 18 hours.

Research by the Howard League has shown that more than 5,700 additional days of imprisonment were imposed on young adults in Brinsford prison following disciplinary hearings, known as adjudications, in 2016 – an indication of a troubled jail.

Andrew Neilson, Director of Campaigns at the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “It is frankly depressing to see yet another prison receive an awful inspection report.

“We should not become inured to this state of affairs. Brinsford is a prison holding young men, at the beginning of their adult lives. It should shame ministers and officials at the Ministry of Justice that the Chief Inspector is describing a ‘dreadful’ rise in self-injury among these young men, in the supposed care of the state.

“We need more than assurances that local managers struggling with systemic problems will be ‘closely monitored’. This is a national emergency. It is time for bold action to reduce the number of people in prison – to save lives, protect staff and prevent more people being swept into deeper currents of crime, violence and despair.”

Notes to editors

  1. The Howard League for Penal Reform is the oldest penal reform charity in the world. It is a national charity working for less crime, safer communities and fewer people in prison.
  1. A copy of the Brinsford prison inspection report will be available from Thursday 27 March on the HM Inspectorate of Prisons website.
  1. Overcrowding figures for each prison in England and Wales can be found on the Howard League website.
  1. The imposition of additional days of imprisonment is the focus of a Howard League report, Out of control: punishment in prison.


Rob Preece
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