Welcome for Ramsbotham's prison comments

Monday, 06 February, 2017

Our Director, Richard Garside, today welcomed comments by the former Chief Inspector of Prisons, Lord Ramsbotham, on the crisis in the prisons system.

In remarks reported by the i, Lord Rambotham said that the 'avoidable crisis' in prisons had 'been made a great deal worse by the deliberate actions of ministers and their officials'.

He also expressed concern over the 'ghastly suicide rates', and increasing violence faced by prisoners and prison staff. And he called for prisoner numbers to be cut from 85,000 to 50,000.

Speaking today, Richard said:

There are few people who understand better than Lord Ramsbotham what needs to be done to rescue prisons from their current crisis. His has been an important voice for sanity and reason in prisons policy over a number of years.

I agree with his assessment of the desperate situation in our prisons, and of the failure of policy at the highest level. I also support his renewed call for prisoner numbers to be cut.

There is an emerging consensus over the need for a long-term plan to take capacity out of the system and reduce prisoner numbers. I would urge the Justice Secretary to listen to a growing number of voices calling for fundamental reform.