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14 Jan 2020

Howard League responds to Liverpool prison inspection

The Howard League for Penal Reform has responded to Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons’ report on Liverpool prison, published today (Tuesday 14 January).

Inspectors visited Liverpool in August and September last year. They found that the prison was still not safe enough, but there had been a dramatic improvement since its last inspection in 2017, when there were hundreds of broken windows, filthy blocked toilets, graffiti, damp, dirt, rodents and insects.

The improvement comes after the number of people held in the prison was reduced by almost 500. In September 2017, when inspectors visited, the prison was being asked to look after 1,145 men; last month, the number was 674.

Frances Crook, Chief Executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “This encouraging report for Liverpool shows what can be achieved when action is taken to tackle prison overcrowding. Shipping out 500 prisoners and supporting staff with extra resources has changed the prison’s fortunes.

“How do we build on this? The problem is that there are many jails like Liverpool, and moving men from one struggling prison to another does not address the issues in the system as a whole; it merely causes pressure to build elsewhere.

“Sensible steps to reduce the population in prisons across England and Wales would help to deliver the lasting impact we all want to see. It would save lives, protect staff, 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 Liverpool inspection report can be viewed on the HM Inspectorate of Prisons website:


Rob Preece
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