The Prison Reform Trust is a charity that aims to create a just, humane and effective penal system. We do this by inquiring into the workings of the system; informing prisoners, staff and the wider public; and by influencing parliament, government, and officials towards reform. The position of deputy director is pivotal to maintaining an independent, outcome-focussed charity and requires proven leadership and management skills.
The chair is the Rt. Hon. Lord Woolf who is supported by 12 other trustees. The Board of Trustees meet every two months. Juliet Lyon is the director. There is an experienced team of 18 staff together with volunteers and research associates.
To effect change in justice policy and practice, the Prison Reform Trust combines public education, and work through the media, with applied research, advice and information and parliamentary work. Its four major programmes of work are: reducing unnecessary imprisonment and promoting community solutions to crime; improving treatment and conditions for prisoners and their families; promoting equalities and human rights in the justice system; and providing advocacy and education.
Recently the Prison Reform Trust has contributed substantively to a marked reduction in child and youth custody and, working in partnership with the WI, has secured a government commitment to divert people with mental health needs, and those with learning disabilities, away from the justice system wherever possible into treatment and care. Current programmes include reducing women’s imprisonment, improving regimes and examining use and abuse of segregation. A new programme is being established to make strategic use of prison visits to improve resettlement and local connection.
The values that underpin the Prison Reform Trust’s work are:
The only justification for the sentence of imprisonment is the measured punishment of an individual for an offence; it is not right to use prison as a gateway to services or treatment, or to attempt to use prison in place of effective crime prevention
Prisoners and their families should be treated with humanity and respect and have access to clear information and the opportunity to represent themselves and have their views taken into account
The Prison Service should provide constructive regimes, accessible to all prisoners, in decent, safe conditions that ensure the well-being of prisoners and prepare them for resettlement in the community
Prison and probation staff need the support and resources necessary to reduce the risk of reoffending to the lowest possible level and to support ex-prisoners in resettling into employment, family and community life
The general public, parliament and those responsible for incarcerating offenders should be fully informed about the state and effectiveness of our criminal justice system