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12 Mar 2020

Howard League responds to Independent Review of Progress report on Pentonville prison

The Howard League has responded to Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons’ Independent Review of Progress report on Pentonville prison, published today (Thursday 12 March).

Following up on a critical inspection last year, inspectors have found little evidence of improvement in a prison where violence continues to rise.

The prison remains severely overcrowded. It is supposed to hold no more than 694 men, but at the end of January it was being asked to look after 1,081.

Frances Crook, Chief Executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “This is a troubling report on a troubled prison. It sheds more light on the intolerable conditions behind Pentonville’s walls, but unfortunately some of its recommendations are disappointing as well.

“It is time to look beyond chaotic punishment and adopt common sense instead. We have seen, in prisons such as Liverpool, the difference that can be made when there is real effort to reduce the number of people behind bars and give staff the resources that they need to do the job.

“The solution begins with a commitment to scrap short sentences and put fewer people behind bars. By reducing demand on prisons like Pentonville, we can start to turn lives around, protect staff, and make London safer.”

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. More information about Pentonville prison can be found on the Howard League website.
  3. The Howard League has launched a new programme on justice and fairness in prisons. More information can be found on the charity’s website.
  4. The Independent Review of Progress report on Pentonville prison can be found on the Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons website.


Rob Preece
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