High security prisons: prisoner perspectives

Document type
Meek, Rosie
Howard League for Penal Reform
Date of publication
2 January 2008
Prison information bulletin; 4
Offenders, Criminal Justice Services
Social welfare
Material type

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One very large group of prisoners that receives little attention from the world outside is those adult men serving long term sentences. As of September 2007, there were 33,959 male prisoners in England and Wales serving four or more years, or indeterminate sentences. And within that large group, a crucial subset – those 5,895 long termers housed in high security prisons – has received even less attention. This report investigate the views of prisoners themselves, using data held by the government and acquired using the Freedom of Information Act 2000. By shining a light into the high security estate, the study aims to underline where the jails featured can do better in preparing their prisoners for resettlement. The dissatisfaction expressed by prisoners in this report on the quality of the regime within high security jails is not confined to inmates alone. Their concerns are echoed by observations that are highlighted from independent monitoring boards and the chief inspector of prisons. The high security estate, in particular the dispersal prison system, needs to be rebooted for the 21st century.

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