Skip Content

Publications · Prisons, Probation, Resettlement, Sentencing and the law

Grasping the nettle: Options for a lasting solution to the prison capacity crisis

The Howard League for Penal Reform steps forward today (Wednesday 10 July) with a new briefing, offering the Labour government a range of policy options that could deliver a lasting solution to the prison capacity crisis.

The 19-page document, Grasping the nettle, sets out the need for decisive action to tackle the problem, which has become so severe that prison governors have warned that the “entire criminal justice system stands on the precipice of failure”.

Prisons are under intolerable pressure. By the prison service’s own measure of safe and decent accommodation, there are fewer than 80,000 prison places in England and Wales. But the population now stands at more than 87,000, and Ministry of Justice projections indicate that it will continue to rise – to 96,200 by March 2025 and potentially as high as 114,800 by March 2028.

  • Join the Howard League

    We are the world's oldest prison charity, bringing people together to advocate for change.

    Join us and make your voice heard
  • Support our work

    We safeguard our independence and do not accept any funding from government.

    Make a donation