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16 Aug 2017

Howard League responds to Haverigg prison inspection

The Howard League for Penal Reform has responded to Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons’ report on Haverigg prison, published today (Wednesday 16 August).

Inspectors visited Haverigg in March and April this year, and they found that much had changed since their previous inspection of the prison in 2014.

Police were investigating reports of physical and sexual assaults in the prison, as well as the circumstances of the deaths of two prisoners. The units at the centre of this inquiry had been closed, which meant that the number of people held in Haverigg had halved since the last inspection – from about 650 to 273.

Although the number of men in the prison had been reduced by more than half, the governor had been allowed to retain most of his budget, which had led to some improvements.

Frances Crook, Chief Executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “The prison system is in meltdown, and signs of improvement are hard to find, particularly in a jail so troubled that it has been the subject of a major police investigation for months.

“This report, however, shows what progress can be achieved when a prison has adequate resources and is operating on only half the designated population. It proves beyond doubt that numbers count and that overcrowding is just plain dangerous. There are still many problems, but it is encouraging to see that violence has fallen, support for those at risk of self-injury has improved, and most men have things to do.

“I see that the Secretary of State for Justice has come out and said that he wants to see fewer people in prison. This inspection report on a challenging prison reinforces the need. Now we want to see action.”

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 Haverigg prison inspection report will be available from Wednesday 16 August on the HM Inspectorate of Prisons website.


Rob Preece
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