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Welcome to HMI Prisons.

We help to make sure that detention in the UK is humane, decent and prepares people for returning to society.

Graphic showing images related to the Improving behaviour in prisons thematic review.

Improving behaviour in prisons

These are challenging times for prisons, but some have created cultures that encourage prisoners to take part in employment and education that should help them to secure employment on their release.

You can focus on reducing the supply into prisons until you’re blue in the face but unless you reduce the demand for drugs, in other words prisoners are doing something that feels meaningful with their time, then you’re fighting a losing battle.

Charlie Taylor, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons

Over the last year, we have worked with KeyRing to develop Easy Read summaries of our reports. From May this year we began sending these summaries to prison governors, asking them to make sure they are available in places where prisoners will see them. 

Tamsin Williamson, Communications and Publications Manager

A view from inside a prison cell through a barred door

The long wait: A thematic review of delays in the transfer of mentally unwell prisoners

Our report reveals the plight of desperately unwell men and women languishing in prison waiting for transfer to secure mental hospitals. In that time, many are suffering irreversible harm. Some of these people should never have been sent to prison, which still remains a legal “place of safety” when a secure hospital bed is not available in the community.

Find out more about the different areas of our work

Men’s prisons

We inspect every type of men’s prison in England and Wales, from high security to open prisons, private and public sector. Find out about how we inspect and read our reports on men’s prisons.

Women’s prisons

Women make up less than 4% of the prison population. Read our Expectations for the treatment of and conditions for women, and our reports on women’s prisons.

Children’s detention

We inspect each establishment in which children are detained every year either for a full inspection or an independent review of progress. Read our reports on detention for children.

Immigration detention

Read reports on our inspections of different types of immigration detention: immigration removal centres, short-term holding facilities and escorted flights removing people from the country.