Prison Conditions in 2017

Prison Conditions in 2017


The Chief Inspector of Prisons and his team are acutely aware that people may be getting increasingly desensitised to inspection reports many of which describe very similar situations — increased violence; drug use; poor conditions and prisoners spending far too much time locked in their cells.

For this reason, they have published today (10 October 2017) a new report: Life in Prison — Living Conditions. Here’s the first two paragraphs of the introduction reproduced in full:

Some people may feel a sense of déjà vu or world-weariness when they hear repeated accounts of poor conditions in our prisons. Many reports from HM Inspectorate of Prisons (HMI Prisons) have pointed out that, all too often, prisoners are held in conditions that fall short of what most members of the public would consider as reasonable or decent.

I would urge readers not to assume this paper is simply another account of some dilapidated prisons, but to look at the details of what we describe, and then ask themselves whether it is acceptable for prisoners to be held in these conditions in the United Kingdom in 2017.

It is, of course, right to point out that not every prison holds its prisoners in poor conditions. On the whole, high security prisons, women’s prisons and open prisons provide decent conditions and some good facilities. However, in many of the local prisons and training prisons, the picture is bleak.

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