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4 Dec 2018

Howard League responds to Birmingham prison inspection

The Howard League for Penal Reform has responded to Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons’ report on Birmingham prison, published today (Tuesday 4 December).

Inspectors visited the prison in July and August and found that conditions were among the worst they had seen in recent years.

Prisoners and staff were living and working in fear. Many men were living in squalor. Drug taking was barely concealed.

The prison was found to be failing in its responsibility to protect the public by preparing prisoners adequately for release.

Frances Crook, Chief Executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “The recent inspections of Birmingham have revealed how quickly a big prison can deteriorate. This is a prison that is failing to keep prisoners safe, failing to keep staff safe and failing to keep the public safe.

“Large prisons are fragile, and every one of the large prisons in this country has proven to be problematic. If you have a massive, failing institution with thousands of men going through it, the damage it can do is beyond imagination.

“This calls into question the government’s decision to build two new big prisons, contrary to all the evidence. The right approach is to reduce the prison population 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 Birmingham inspection report will be available from Tuesday 4 December on the HM Inspectorate of Prisons website.


Rob Preece
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