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Who we are

We are an independent inspectorate led by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons. We scrutinise the conditions and treatment of prisoners and other detainees and report on our findings.

We help to make sure that detention in England and Wales, and Scotland for immigration, is humane, safe, respectful and helps to prepare people for release ahead of their return to the community. We do that by carrying out independent inspections of prisons, young offender institutions, secure training centres, courts and places of immigration detention.

Find out about our expectations for different types of detention.

We publish reports to let people know about our findings and hold the government, and those running places of detention, to account. We also identify and share examples of good practice to support leaders in learning from other, comparable institutions.

Our role is to shine a light on what needs to change, but we cannot enforce it. It is up to prison leaders to consider the best way to respond to our concerns and use their resources and expertise to find solutions. HM Prison and Probation Service or the Home Office should work with the establishment to support this progress.

Find out more about our mandate.

HM Chief Inspector of Prisons

Photograph of Chief Inspector Charlie Taylor.

Charlie Taylor was initially appointed as HM Chief Inspector of Prisons in 2020 and was reappointed in 2023.

Charlie Taylor taught for many years in both primary and secondary schools in London. He began to specialise in supporting pupils with special educational needs and in 2005 became the headteacher of the Willows Special School (now The Willows School Academy Trust) for children with severe emotional and behavioural difficulties. During his time there, the school received two ‘outstanding’ ratings from Ofsted.

In 2011 he became an expert adviser on children’s behaviour at the Department for Education, producing reports into school attendance and alternative provision for excluded pupils. While at the Department for Education, he also created a behaviour checklist which is still regularly used in English schools. In 2012 he became the CEO of the National College for Teaching and Leadership, overseeing the recruitment of 30,000 trainee teachers a year and leading on the regulatory process for teachers accused of misconduct.

He led the 2015 review into the youth justice system and made wide-ranging recommendations, including the introduction of Secure Schools, a new model for youth custody. In 2017 he became Chair of the Youth Justice Board and continued working with the Department for Education as an adviser on behaviour hubs, a new initiative to improve the ability of schools to support their most challenging pupils.

Since 2016 he has been a trustee of Dallaglio Rugby Works, an organisation that supports and mentors children who are out of mainstream education.

We publish expense claims made by Charlie Taylor in his work as Chief Inspector. These include travel and subsistence claims and other business expenses.

See Charlie’s expense claims.

HM Deputy Chief Inspector of Prisons

Martin Lomas has worked in the prison sector since 1985 and held senior management positions in eight prison establishments, as well as prison service headquarters. During the course of his career he was governor in charge of two establishments, including the high security Whitemoor prison in Cambridgeshire. 

He joined HM Inspectorate of Prisons in 2006 as a team leader and has been Deputy Chief Inspector since 2011. He is responsible for the operational management of the Inspectorate, including its 70 staff, as well as the development of practice and policy.

HM Inspectorate of Prisons staff

Around 70 staff are employed at HMI Prisons. Our staff come from a range of professional disciplines, and include inspectors, health care professionals, researchers, communications and policy teams, and inspection support staff.

Organogram of senior staff in HMI Prisons.

Find out what it’s like to work at HMI Prisons.