Angel investor, business mentor and speaker Mark Lyttleton is proud to support the Prison Reform Trust, regularly contributing to the organisation. This article will look at the work of the Prison Reform Trust and its positive impact, not just in terms of helping rehabilitate reformed prisoners but for society as a whole.

The chief aims of the Prison Reform Trust are to:

  • Reduce the use of prisons
  • Promote human rights and equality in the criminal justice system
  • Improve conditions for prisoners

A survey commissioned by the Sentencing Academy suggests that longer prison sentences in the UK have failed to improve public confidence in the criminal justice system. Despite increases in average sentence lengths over the last 25 years, there has been virtually no change in public attitudes to sentencing severity, the survey reveals.

This finding comes in the wake of a report published by the Prison Reform Trust in 2021 that suggested that a projected 25% increase in prison numbers could significantly undermine prison service efforts to recover from the pandemic. With prison numbers tipped to increase by some 20,000 in England and Wales by 2026, the Prison Reform Trust report highlights that there are no plans to either try to reduce prison overcrowding or close prisons that are unfit for purpose. More statistics about UK prisons can be found in the attached infographic.

Since 1981, the Prison Reform Trust has been supporting individuals locked into the UK prison system, as well as their families, ensuring that people without a voice are heard. This independent UK charity strives to create a humane, just and effective penal system, informing and influencing the public debate on the treatment of prisoners and prison conditions.

With the UK prison population predicted to rise to more than 86,000 in 2023, the Prison Reform Trust continues to play a crucial role in civic society as one of the few organisations that is equipped and willing to hold the state to account for its treatment of vulnerable people in prison. You can learn more about the Prison Reform Trust’s objectives by viewing the embedded video.

The Prison Reform Trust is currently operating several research projects into various aspects of the UK prison service and criminal justice system, including:

  • Investigating access to digital technology for people in prison
  • Analysing data from the Measuring the Quality of Prison Life survey to test hypotheses about prison conditions
  • Promoting prisoner involvement in the recruitment, training and professional development of prison staff, with an initial focus on women’s prisons
  • Supporting the Building Futures programme, exploring alternatives to institutionalism, and looking at the impact of spending years in prison

The attached PDF contains more information about Prison Reform Trust projects and research.