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11 Jul 2024

Howard League responds to Prisons and Probation Ombudsman Annual Report 

The Howard League for Penal Reform has responded to the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman’s (PPO) annual report, published today (Thursday 11 July). 

The report reveals that, in 2023-24, 104 people in prison died in circumstances recorded as self-inflicted – the highest number since 2016-17. 

The PPO received 4,345 complaints about prisons – 134 more than the previous year. The most common categories of complaints were regarding property, staff behaviour, and administration. 

Andrea Coomber KC (Hon.), Chief Executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “This increase in self-inflicted deaths and numbers of complaints is a tragic indictment on the state of our prison system, and only highlights the need for urgent reforms.  

“The new government has inherited a broken prison system, and it was encouraging to hear the Prime Minister speak about this at his first Downing Street press conference. 

“Having made clear their commitment to addressing problems in our justice system, we hope to see sound policies from the government in the coming months and years that will address the many issues emphasised in this report from the PPO.”  


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. The annual report of the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman can be found online at: 


Noor Khan
Press and Public Affairs Officer
Tel: +44 (0)20 7241 7873


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