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5 Jul 2023

Howard League responds to Annual Report of His Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prisons

The Howard League for Penal Reform has responded to the Annual Report of His Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prisons for England and Wales 2022-23, published today (Wednesday 5 July).

 Andrea Coomber KC (Hon.), Chief Executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “This important report lifts the lid on a prison system that has been overwhelmed and under-resourced, to the effect that it is failing to help people to move on from crime and rebuild their lives.

“The Chief Inspector raises the importance of leadership, suggesting it can be a crucial factor in turning a prison around. What we now need to see is strong leadership from government to address the chronic issues afflicting the system as a whole.

“With its own projections indicating that the prison population will rise by up to 25 per cent in the next four years, the government is trying to build its way out of a crisis, inflicting new prisons on communities where they are not wanted. And yet the problems described in today’s report will only grow if numbers are allowed to soar, becoming harder, and costlier, to fix.

“Westminster has seen nine changes of Secretary of State for Justice in eight years, but people living and working in prisons have seen only systemic inertia and malaise. We can change that, but only if we recognise that expanding the prison system even further will prove a historic mistake.”

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.
  2. The report can be found on the His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons website at:



Noor Khan

Press and Public Affairs Officer

Mobile: +44 (0)20 7241 7873


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