Howard League responds to Lindholme prison inspection report

The Howard League for Penal Reform has responded to His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons’ report on Lindholme prison, published today (Tuesday 24 October). 
Inspectors visited the prison, in South Yorkshire, in July 2023 and found a concerning lack of release planning for people deemed to be at high risk of returning to crime.    


Lindholme is a category C training prison, aimed at helping people to resettle back into the community upon release. However, inspectors found that people did not have adequate access to interventions, training, or education, and that many were developing a drug problem while in the jail.  


Half of the people in prison at Lindholme felt it was easy to get drugs while one in five said that they had developed a problem since coming to the jail. Drugs were the most common cause of deaths in prison in recent years, and a cause for significant debt problems.  


Inspectors found that people were locked up for longer than in other similar prisons, and that there was a critical lack of purposeful activity. The offender management unit (OMU) was also unable to provide sufficient support due to lack of staffing, leading to a majority of people feeling they could not progress with their sentence. 

Andrea Coomber KC (Hon.), Chief Executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “When someone has been involved in crime, we should do all that we can to help them address the root causes of their offending and move on to lead a healthy life. But the lack of support available in overcrowded Lindholme is so desperate that men are developing drug problems while living in the prison. 
“Drugs are a destructive force in prisons. Where there is drug abuse, there is also debt and violence, and we know that the number of confiscations recorded by staff does not tell the full story about the extent of the problem. 
“The best way to reduce the supply of drugs into prisons is to reduce the demand for them in the first place. This means building relationships and making sure that people are occupied with work, education, training and exercise – purposeful activity that a training prison such as Lindholme ought to be able to provide.”