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10 Oct 2017

Howard League responds to Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons’ report on prison conditions

The Howard League for Penal Reform has responded to Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons’ report, Life in Prison: Living Conditions, published today (Tuesday 10 October).

Frances Crook, Chief Executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “The photographs in this report are disgusting. The Chief Inspector should be applauded for revealing the scale of the challenge in prisons. Caging people in squalor with nothing to do all day is never going to help them become law-abiding citizens on release.

“When cells are so filthy and overcrowded, and when support for prisoners and staff is in such short supply, it should surprise no one that drug abuse is rife and that violence, self-injury and the number of people dying in prison have all risen to record highs.

“We cannot go on cramming more and more people into overcrowded jails without any thought for the consequences – and we cannot build our way out of this crisis. Building more jails only causes the problems to grow; it does not solve them.

“This is a national emergency, and ministers need to get a grip. Bold action is needed to reduce the prison population and prevent more people being swept into deeper currents of crime, violence and despair.

“I have written to the Secretary of State, setting out some ideas for immediate action to relieve the system, and am meeting him soon, when I will urge him to act and to act decisively.”

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. Life in Prison: Prison Conditions can be read in full from Tuesday 10 October on the HM Inspectorate of Prisons website.


Rob Preece
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