Private prison providers fined £3.7m for contract breaches since 2010

Figures ‘low,’ gov claims, but campaigners highlight increase in violence

private companies receive financial penalties for contract failures.

Fined: private companies receive financial penalties for contract failures. Photograph: x1klima

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Seven key findings from the Shaw report on UK immigration detention

Pregnant women and torture victims at risk of violence and sexual assault


Credit: Greens MPs, Flickr


The Home Office has published the long-awaited independent “Shaw Review” into the treatment of vulnerable people in UK immigration detention.

It found evidence of sexual predation and human rights abuses in a largely ineffective system that jails pregnant women and torture victims.

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Prisons in Parliament

Andrew Selous on the witness stand this week: it’s question time for prisons

Andrew Selous Under Secretary of State for Justice got a grilling last week

Prisons in Parliament brings you up-to-date on the last week of politics and prisons. What’s been said? And by whom? Get it all here. 

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Comment: Prison cigarette ban is just the MoJ blowing smoke

New measure to stop smoking in prison is just MoJ covering its own back, writes Eric Allison

Prisons smoking ban

Will the smoking ban in prisons really put a stop to cigarettes? Photo:
Ali Catterall

There are times when I seriously question the sanity of politicians who decide penal policy.

Take the book banning fiasco last year. The then justice secretary Chris Grayling decided that relatives and friends of prisoners could no longer send books to them. Read the rest of this entry »

Comment: the prison system is in a worse state now than at any time I’ve known it

Eric Allison, long time Guardian prisons correspondent and former prisoner, writes first fortnightly column for Prison Watch UK

Eric Allison Prison Watch UK

Eric Allison joins Prison Watch UK to deliver fortnightly column. Photo: Karolina Webb.

When I first entered prison as an adult, in the mid 1960s, the conditions and practices I encountered were grim – to put it mildly. There was no in-cell sanitation and prisoners had to urinate and defecate in plastic chamber pots Read the rest of this entry »

LIVE BLOG: women in the criminal justice system – mothers too

Women’s Breakout AGM and Re-Unite Network meeting

Women and mothers in prison criminal justice system

Organisations and professionals working with women offenders and ex-offenders today met at two principal events for the criminal justice sector.

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AUDIO: No women in prison?

We interview visitors at the Justice Matters for Women conference

Justice Matters for Women

Justice Matters for Women

After the Justice Matters for Women conference last Wednesday we caught up with an expert, researcher and victim of women’s violence. We asked them a simple question: would taking all women out of prison be good for both women who committed a crime and society? Here are their answers.

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Interview: Recipe for success – coaching young people who have just left prison

Café manager describes transformation of ex-offender trainees

Eki Mfon, Crisis cafe Shoreditch Spitalfields ex-offenders homeless

Eki Mfon (R) the cafe manager jokes with one of the staff. Source: Victoria Seabrook

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LIVE BLOG: Justice matters for women



We are at the Amnesty International’s Human Rights Action Centre today live blogging from “Justice matters for women: time for action” conference.
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Martin Wright: A restorative blueprint for justice

Former Howard League director, calls on new government to transform criminal justice system

Martin Wright, former director of Howard League for Penal Reform

Martin Wright uses wealth of experience to lay out vision for criminal justice system. Source: Martin Wright.

Martin Wright was once a prison visitor, and later became director of the Howard League for Penal Reform, and then a policy officer for Victim Support. An expert in victim-offender mediation, he has written extensively about restorative justice and practised as a facilitator. Read the rest of this entry »