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The page will automatically redirect to Prisons Research Briefings produced by the Commons Library, Lords Library and POST

Content published before December 2016

This page highlights some of the current parliamentary material available on prisons. This includes select committee reports, briefing papers on current legislation and other subjects produced by the parliamentary research services, and the latest Early Day Motions put down by MPs.

Commons Briefing Papers

11.08.2016The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse and background
This briefing concerns the establishment of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, a statutory Inquiry which formally opened in July 2015. This Inquiry replaced the previous, non-statutory, Inquiry set up in July 2014 which saw both of its Chairs resign; on 4 August 2016, Justice Goddard resigned as the Chair of the statutory inquiry and on 11 August it was announced that Professor Alexis Jay would be the new Chair.
05.07.2016Prison Population Statistics
This briefing paper explores prison population data in the UK from the Ministry of Justice, Scottish Government, and the Northern Ireland Department of Justice.
07.06.2016Sentences of Imprisonment for Public Protection
The Coalition Government abolished the much criticised sentences of imprisonment for public protection (IPPs) in 2012. However, the change was not made retrospective, and around 4,600 prisoners were still serving IPPs in March 2015. The Justice Secretary Michael Gove has recently asked the Parole Board to develop an "improved approach".
06.06.2016Contracting out of probation services: 2013-2016
This briefing paper charts the implementation controversial reforms to the probation service. Most offenders are now supervised by Community Rehabilitation Companies, which are mostly privately led. A new public sector National Probation Service manages high risk offenders. So what's the verdict so far?
03.06.2016Prisoners' Release on Temporary Licence: recent controversies and reform proposals
The Government is proposing major reforms to the prison system in England and Wales. Giving governors more discretion over the use of Release on Temporary Licence (ROTL) is likely to be amongst them. This Briefing Paper focuses mainly on England and Wales, but it also briefly considers the schemes which operate in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
01.06.2016Commons Library analysis: Safety in prisons in England and Wales
Self-inflicted deaths, homicides, self-harm and assaults in prison in England and Wales have risen. The Ministry of Justice is taking action to reduce violence, but concerns remain.
23.05.2016Prison reform legislation 2016-17
This note sets out what the Government has said so far about its proposals to introduce a Prison and Courts Reform Bill in this session of Parliament.
14.04.2016Commons Library analysis: Radicalisation in prisons in England and Wales
Many prisoners enter prison with a faith and others find one while in prison. Few of these prisoners will be 'radicalised' or become involved in extremism or terrorist activity, although (obviously) those that do present huge challenges to the authorities.
15.02.2016Prisoners' voting rights: developments since May 2015
This House of Commons Briefing Paper analyses the debate over the voting rights of prisoners since May 2015, it also includes a concise summary of the main developments before May 2015.
12.02.2016Building prisons in England and Wales: the bigger, the better?
The current Government has a policy of replacing old prisons with new (and often bigger) prisons, but will this help to raise standards in prison and reduce reoffending? Is bigger better or, conversely, is small beautiful?

Lords Library Notes

27.06.2016Historical Child Sex Abuse Investigations
A number of investigations into historical child sex abuse in the UK have been launched by the police and public institutions in recent years. This follows allegations that claims of child sex abuse made against public figures had not been properly investigated in the past. This briefing focuses on the existing guidance for conducting these investigations and provides background information on recent investigations that have taken place. It has been written in preparation for a debate that is due to take place in the House of Lords on 30 June 2016 on the case for introducing statutory guidelines relating to the investigation of cases of historical child sex abuse.
23.10.2015Harris Review on Self-inflicted Deaths in Custody of 18-24 year olds, 'Changing Prisons, Saving Lives'
This Library Note has been written to support the House of Lords debate on prisons and the Harris Review on self-inflicted deaths in custody of 18-24 year olds.
03.07.2014Deregulation Bill (HL Bill 33 of 2014-15)
The Deregulation Bill is a wide-ranging bill that is intended to remove or reduce regulatory burdens on businesses, civil society, individuals, public sector bodies and the taxpayer across a number of policy areas including: general and specific areas of business, companies and insolvency, the use of land, housing, transport, communications, the environment, education and training, entertainment, public authorities and the administration of justice.
16.05.2013Offender Rehabilitation Bill [HL] (HL Bill 2 of 2013-14)
The Offender Rehabilitation Bill would provide increased support and supervision upon release for those serving prison sentences of up to two years, and would make changes to the arrangements for community orders and suspended sentence orders. This Library Note provides background reading in advance of the Bill's second reading in the House of Lords.
17.01.2008Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill (HL Bill 16, 2007-08). LLN 2008/001
Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill. House of Lords Library Note 2008/001


17.05.2016Education in Youth Custody
Recent government policy emphasises putting education at the heart of youth custody. A review of the youth justice system is due to be published in summer 2016. This POSTnote looks at the literature on the provision and quality of education in youth custody in England and Wales. And it examines the challenges in providing education to a population with particular needs.
24.09.2015Trends in Crime and Criminal Justice
This POSTnote describes crime patterns, and highlights issues with crime measurement and data. It also identifies key developments in the criminal justice system.

Select Committee Reports

17.05.2011Appointment of the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman for England and Wales.
Justice Select Committee report [Commons]
08.02.2011Voting by convicted prisoners: summary of evidence.
Political and Constitutional Reform Select Committee report [Commons]
16.03.2010Cutting crime: the case for justice reinvestment.
Government response. Ministry of Justice report [Commons]
16.03.2010The appointment of the Chief Inspector of Prisons.
Justice Select Committee report [Commons]
23.02.2010Welsh prisoners in the prison estate: follow up.
Welsh Affairs Select Committee report [Commons]

Early Day Motions

That this House supports full trade union rights for the Prison Officers' Association (POA); notes that the International Labour Organisation criticised the previous administration ...
That this House welcomes the prisoner exchange which has led to the release of the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit and 477 Palestinian prisoners with a further 550 to be released in the ...
That this House notes the good work of the prison officers at Lancaster Farms Young Offender Institute, many of whom are constituents of the hon. Member for Morecambe and Lunesdale; ...
That this House welcomes the publication of the report The Private Finance Initiative and the Hidden Cost of Prison Privatisation by the Prison Officers Association (POA); notes that ...
That this House recognises the importance of the identification and treatment of speech and language difficulties amongst prison inmates in the bid to reduce prisoner re-offending; ...


  • Commons Briefing Papers (CBP) Papers providing in-depth and impartial analysis on every major piece of primary legislation and on other topics of public and parliamentary concern. Regular statistics papers are also published.
  • Early Day Motions (EDMs) - formal motions submitted by MPs in the House of Commons
  • POSTnotes (POST PN) - proactive four-page policy briefings from the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology based on reviews of the research literature, interviews with stakeholders and peer review, commissioned by the POST Board
  • Lords Library Notes (LLN) - authored publications by the research section of the House of Lords Library that provide analysis of Bills, subjects for debate in the House and other issues of interest to Members.
  • Select Committee Reports - papers produced by all select committees of both Houses