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22 May 2023

PRT comment: Inspectors review progress at HMP Pentonville

Commenting on the Independent Review of Progress of HMP Pentonville by HM Inspectorate of Prisons today (22 May), Pia Sinha, chief executive of the Prison Reform Trust said:

“HMP Pentonville’s Independent Review of Progress is the perfect example of how, despite a backdrop of severe overcrowding pressure, a resilient leadership team has ensured that reasonable progress has been made in five out of the nine recommendations. However, any progress made on enhancing safety and reducing violence will be fragile.

“Despite welcome progress in some areas, this report also contains a stark warning from the Chief Inspector to prison leaders. As one of the oldest Victorian local prisons in the country, Pentonville was originally designed to hold just 520. Today it holds 1,100 men. As we approach the summer, cramped, airless cells designed for one will now hold two or even three men. Ministers need a plan to reduce the unnecessary use of custody so prisons like Pentonville have a fighting chance of maintaining a safe, decent and rehabilitative regime.”