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09 March 2017

PRT responds to HM Inspectorate’s consultation on expectations for male prisoners

We have submitted a very detailed response to the inspectorate’s consultation on a new expectations for male prisoners document. In the absence of a modern statutory penal code, these expectations are perhaps the most important protection prisoners have for their fundamental rights.

Our response draws attention to the risk that the new expectations could be interpreted as optional, and something to which prisons should aspire, rather than a statement of basic standards which all prisons should be expected to meet. We also make clear that commenting on leadership and management must never undermine the core judgement about whether the prison is delivering what it should for the people who live in it.

A prison can be well led but still produce poor outcomes if the context in which it operates is wrong. That context is normally the responsibility of ministers, and inspection must hold them to account just as much as it does governors and the new prison and probation agency.