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7 Jan 2020

Howard League responds to Winchester prison inspection

The Howard League for Penal Reform has responded to Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons’ report on Winchester prison, published today (Tuesday 7 January).

Inspectors visited Winchester in June and July last year. They found that the local prison had deteriorated, with overcrowding and high levels of violence and self-injury. Seven men had lost their lives through suicide since the previous inspection.

A smaller resettlement unit on the same site was poor at delivering work, training and education.

Winchester was featured in a television documentary, Crime and Punishment, broadcast on Channel 4 last year.

Frances Crook, Chief Executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “Today’s report on Winchester will add to concerns raised by the recent television documentary, which appeared to show a bullying culture that had been ingrained in the prison for decades.

“Turning around prisons like Winchester is one of the biggest challenges facing the Secretary of State for Justice. It can be done, but it will require a commitment to reducing the number of people behind bars.

“A new year should herald a new start – to protect staff, to reduce crime and to prevent more people being swept into deeper currents of 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 Winchester inspection report can be viewed on the HM Inspectorate of Prisons website.


Rob Preece
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