30 Jan 2024
Howard League responds to Highpoint prison inspection report
The Howard League for Penal Reform has responded to His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons’ report on Highpoint prison, published today (Tuesday 30 January).
Inspectors visited the training prison, in Suffolk, in October 2023 and found that the prison was failing in its core purpose to prepare men for their return to the community.
As a training prison, Highpoint should enable men to develop necessary skills and resettle successfully upon release. However, inspectors found that the prison did not have enough spaces for men to attend education, training and employment, and that staff shortages were impacting the provision of purposeful activity.
The inspectors also found a significant drug problem in the prison, with links to incidents of violence and coercion. Some men were found to be remaining in their cells out of fear for their safety.
Andrea Coomber KC (Hon.), Chief Executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “Highpoint is supposed to be a training prison, but in reality too few men are getting the opportunity to learn skills and engage in activities that will help them to move on from crime.
“This creates problems inside the prison – we know that demand for drugs increases when people do not have other things to do – but it creates problems outside the prison as well. Anyone who can get drugs but cannot get into classrooms and workshops is not being supported to live healthily and safely on release.
“This is the latest in a long line of inspection reports that reveal what happens when a beleaguered public service is asked to do too much, with too little, for too long. Jailing is failing, and the solution starts with sensible action to reduce the prison population.”
Notes to editors
- 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.
- The inspection report for Highpoint prison is available on the His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons website at: https://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmiprisons/
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