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24 Jul 2014

Ranby: A dangerous and dirty prison

The Howard League for Penal Reform has responded to Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons’ report on Ranby prison.

Inspectors found Ranby to be an “unsafe” prison where levels of violence were higher than expected and evidence suggested they were getting worse.

There had been two suicides in 2013 – the first for five years. Another two have occurred since the inspection.

Ranby is a Category C training prison for adult males and a designated working prison. However, more than a quarter of prisoners were locked in their cells during the working part of the day. Two hundred prisoners were not working.

Research by the Howard League has found that the number of prison officers in Ranby was cut by 29 per cent in three years – from 253 in September 2010 to 180 in September 2013.

Frances Crook, Chief Executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform said: “This is a dangerous and dirty prison. It’s dangerous for prisoners and for staff, but that means it’s dangerous for the public too, as men spill out back into communities more likely to cause mayhem and harm. The responsibility for prison after prison becoming places seething with crime, violence and death rests with the government which has made this its policy.”

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. A copy of the Ranby inspection report can be found on the HM Inspectorate of Prisons website at:
  3. The scale of prison staffing cuts across England and Wales is shown in the Howard League’s research briefing paper, Breaking point: Understaffing and overcrowding in prisons. The report can be downloaded here.


Rob Preece
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