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HMP BIRMINGHAM Prison Regime Info


Winson Green Road Birmingham B18 4AS image of HMP BIRMINGHAM prison

Phone No.

0121 598 8000

Governor / Director

Director: Peter Small


Male Local


West Midlands

Operational Capacity


Cell Occupancy

Single and double

Listener Scheme


First Night Centre



Chair: Rodger Lawrence
Vice Chair: Vacant

Visitor Info Page

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Birmingham Is a Cat ‘B’ local prison, now managed by G4S Care & Justice Services (it is the first-ever British public sector prison to be transferred to the private sector), holding adult male remand and convicted prisoners: there are also Category ‘C’ prisoners and a small population of retained category ‘D’ prisoners. It has eleven residential units including one for social care and elderly prisoners. ‘P’ wing is a vulnerable prisoners’ unit.


A Victorian local prison built in 1849; Birmingham serves the Crown Courts of Birmingham, Stafford and Wolverhampton along with the Magistrates’ Courts of Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Sutton Coldfield, Burton Tamworth, Cannock, Walsall, West Bromwich, Mid-Staffordshire and Rugeley.

In 2002 the prison underwent a multi-million pound investment programme. 450 additional prisoner places were added together with new workshops, educational facilities, a new healthcare centre and gymnasium as well as extensions and improvements to existing facilities.


The prison has 10 accommodation units: a mixture of Victorian four-landing wings radiating from a centre point and more recent residential house blocks.

  • D wing: First night centre
  • G wing: Vulnerable prisoners
  • J wing: Social Care Unit;
  • K wing: Category C prisoners
  • B wing: Detoxification and IDTS

Remaining wings hold a mix of sentenced and un-convicted prisoners.

Reception Criteria
HM Prison Birmingham holds adult male prisoners, both convicted and unconvicted. The prison serves the Birmingham court circuit and its primary role is the holding of remand and trial prisoners. The prison does have 4 sentenced wings holding both Category B and Category C prisoners. The prison also has a small population of retained Category D's.

There is no set allocation criteria.

The prison does not have a Lifer Unit.


  • Own clothes (Remand only)
  • Playstation (1 only)
  • Television (50p per week)

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Mon: 07:30
Tue: 07:30
Wed: 07:30
Thu: 07:30
Fri: 07:30
Sat: 08:00
Sun: 08:00


Mon: 09:00 - 11:00, 14:00 - 16:00 & 17:45 - 19:15
Tue: 09:00 - 11:00, 14:00 - 16:00 & 17:45 - 19:15
Wed: 09:00 - 11:00, 14:00 - 16:00 & 17:45 - 19:15
Thu: 09:00 - 11:00, 14:00 - 16:00 & 17:45 - 19:15
Fri: 09:00 - 11:00 & 14:00 - 16:00
Sat: 09:00 - 11:00 & 14:00 - 16:00
Sun: 09:00 - 11:00 & 14:00 - 16:00

Exercise takes place 10:15 - 11:15

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Physical Education is provided on a daily basis over a 7 day period and evenings over 5 days. The PE provided falls into several categories including those with special needs, full/part-time, recreational PE, coached sports and games, healthy living and substance treatment unit.

There are a number of sports delivered and also sports related subjects from basic skills to NVQ Level 2 in Sports and Recreation. The accredited courses are provided at differing levels offering the opportunity for progression and range from personal performance awards to nationally recognised vocational training. The Department has extremely strong links with other regime providers including the Chaplaincy, Healthcare, Resettlement and Education.

Sports available include;

  • Badminton
  • Basketball
  • Circuit Training
  • Hockey
  • Indoor Bowls
  • Light Circuit Training
  • Over 40s
  • Pilates
  • Remedial
  • Soccer
  • Soft tennis
  • Volleyball
  • Weight Loss programme
  • Weight Training

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Library Available


The Prison Library Service is provided by Birmingham Libraries. All prisoners have weekly timetabled access to the Library and sessions last for 45 minutes. There is an extensive legal collection and facilities for independent learners. The stock is wide-ranging with special collections of employment, health, community information, ESOL (English Speakers of other Languages) and basic skills materials. There is also a Learning Centre within the Library to provide additional learning support with dyslexia, ESOL and various courses.

  • Sunday am and pm: K wing
  • Monday am: Inductions, full time education on west side and A wing (non workers)
  • Monday pm: N wing,
  • Tuesday am: Inductions and C wing
  • Tuesday pm: B wing, education: B, C and A wing workers
  • Wednesday am: Inductions, full time education west, and day care and healthcare
  • Wednesday pm: Reading group, carats and e-men (odds and ends)
  • Thursday am: Inductions, full time education west, and M wing nil labour
  • Thursday pm: L wing, education: M wing workers
  • Friday am: Inductions and G wing un-employed
  • Friday pm: P wing un-employed
  • Saturday am: G wing workers and P wing workers
  • Saturday pm: G wing workers

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Every prison has a Chaplaincy department managed by a Co-ordinating Chaplain and supported by admin staff, other Chaplains and ‘Sessional Chaplains’ (faith leaders who visit for specific services or sessions). The Chaplaincy is considered an important part of the prison structure. When a prisoner arrives at a prison they are usually seen by a Chaplain within 24 hours and are invited to register as a specific religion (if they haven’t already done so) and can change their declared religion at any time.

The Chaplaincy does far more than just pastoral care; they often are able to lend radios, musical instruments and typewriters; they may take part in Sentence Planning and are available as a ‘listening ear’ and are able, sometimes, to help with domestic problems. Most Chaplaincies run various courses and activities which may or may not have a religious theme. Every prisoner has the right to follow their religious practices and attend Chapel for services pertaining to their declared faith (even when segregated).

The Chaplaincy are able to organise faith activities for all main religions (as recognised by the Prison Service; this does not, at present include Rastafarian as a specific religion) and contact faith representatives to visit individual or groups of prisoners for the purpose of religious activities. The chaplaincy can also intercede on matters of religious dress, diet and artefacts. A full list of permitted artefacts can be found in the Glossary Section under Religious Artefacts.

You can contact the Chaplaincy by letter or by telephoning the main prison number and asking to speak to the Chaplaincy. The Chaplaincy works as part of the prison and cannot, therefore, guarantee confidentiality (they can explain this to you in detail). Prisoners can contact the Chaplaincy in person or by Application.

Chaplaincy Statement of Purpose (HMPS)
The Chaplaincy is committed to serving the needs of prisoners, staff and religious traditions by engaging all human experience. We will work collaboratively, respecting the integrity of each tradition and discipline. We believe that faith and the search for meaning directs and inspires life, and are committed to providing sacred spaces and dedicated teams to deepen and enrich human experience. We contribute to the care of prisoners to enable them to lead law-abiding and useful lives in custody and after release.

The Co-ordinating Chaplain at Birmingham is: Bryan Gracie

There are 5 full-time Chaplains (Roman Catholic, Church of England, Free Church and Muslim). There are also part-time staff including Sikh, Buddhist and Hindu.

Birmingham has a very diverse Chaplaincy Team offering a wide range of pastoral care/support to prisoners and staff.

There is provision for Christians. Buddhist meetings once a week. Hindus meeting fortnightly. Muslim prayers weekly and Sikh service weekly.

The Chaplaincy Team also deliver the Sycamore Tree Project which is a victim awareness course.

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Visiting Specialists

Dentist: Weekly
Optician: Weekly
Physio: Weekly
Podiatry: Twice a week
Stop Smoking: 3 sessions per week
CPN: 3 sessions a week
InReach: Needs dependent



Nearest Hospitals

City Hospital
Dudley Road B18 7QH
0121 554 3801
0.5 miles

Sandwell General Hospital
Lyndon, West Bromwich B71 4HJ
0121 553 1831
3 miles

Heartlands Hospital
Bordesley Green East, Birmingham B9 5SS
0121 424 2000
4.5 miles

Manor Hospital
Moat Road, Walsall WS2 9PS
01922 721172
7 miles

NHS Healthcare Information for Birmingham

Prison Healthcare Manager: Helen Merrix
Tel: 0121 345 2500

PCT: Heart of Birmingham Primary Care Trust
West Midlands Strategic Health Authority



Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)
PALS is there to help when you need advice, or wish to make a complaint. As a patient, relative or carer PALS provide confidential advice and support, helping you to sort out any concerns that you may have about any aspect of your NHS care.

The service aims to:
• advise and support patients, their families and carers
• provide information on NHS services
• listen to your concerns, suggestions or queries
• help sort out problems quickly on your behalf

PALS acts independently when handling patient and family concerns, liaising with staff, managers and where appropriate, relevant organisations to negotiate prompt solutions. If necessary they can also refer patients and families to specific local or national-based support agencies.

Contact Information
These contact details are just for PALS.
Please DO NOT send confidential or other patient information to this contact address.


09:00—17:00 pm Monday to Friday
Tel: 0121 255 0707 (Out-of-hours Answerphone)
Email: PALS@hobtpct.nhs.uk

There is also a Dental Helpline for ALL NHS dental enquiries: 01702 226668

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The Manchester College
The Manchester College, Offender Learning Directorate, Fielden Compus, Burlow Manor Road M1 3HB
Tel: 0800 068 8585

Career Information & Advice Services (CIAS)
JHP Group Ltd
Sutherland House, Matlock Road, Foleshill, Coventry, West Midlands CV1 4JQ
Tel: 024 7666 7891

The Information, Advice & Guidance Team conduct basic skills assessment and an induction programme for new prisoners to identify any educational needs. They also provide advice and support to prisoners relating to education and training needs both within custody and on release.

The education provision provides a comprehensive programme within 2 Education Departments for approximately 160 students. There is also a large outreach provision involving the vulnerable wing, Day Care Centre and Workshops. Courses available consist of basic/key skills, information technology, social and life skills, business skills, creative and performing arts, NVQ barbering and distance learning/Open University study. Students have the opportunity to gain nationally recognised qualifications on all courses.

Classes include;

  • Art
  • Basic Education
  • Computer Skills
  • Cookery
  • Creative Writing
  • Drama
  • English
  • Key Skills
  • Languages
  • Life & Social Skills
  • Literacy
  • Maths
  • Music
  • Numeracy
  • Open University



OFSTED inspect education establishments from schools to colleges to prisons. They inspect education facilities within prisons and have inspected HMP Birmingham.

Inspection judgements
Inspectors use a four-point scale to summarise their judgements about achievement and standards, the quality of provision, and leadership and management, which includes a grade for equality of opportunity.

Key for inspection grades

  • Grade 1 Outstanding;
  • Grade 2 Good;
  • Grade 3 Satisfactory;
  • Grade 4 Inadequate.


Click Here for further information on how inspection judgements are made.

Scope of the inspection
In deciding the scope of the inspection, inspectors take account of the provider’s most recent self-assessment report and development plans, and comments from the local Learning and Skills Council (LSC) or other funding body. Where appropriate, inspectors also consider the previous inspection report , reports from the inspectorates’ monitoring visits, and data on learners and their achievements over the period since the previous inspection.


Last inspection: 23/02/2007


Summary of grades awarded

Achievement and standards and the quality of provision: 3
Employability and vocation training: 2
Literacy, numeracy and language support: 3
Personal and social development: 3
Leadership and management: 3
Equality of opportunity: 3

To read their report click here.

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The training is varied and includes construction courses in bricklaying, plumbing, painting and decorating, carpentry and joinery and multi-skills. Other vocational training and work opportunities available include forklift truck training, industrial cleaning, NVQ Catering, textiles and contract services.


Prison Workshops
Single Portion Packing

Employment includes;


  • Bricklaying
  • Catering
  • Facilities/Waste Management
  • Fork Lift Truck
  • Horticulture
  • Industrial Cleaning
  • Laundry
  • Manufacturing
  • Painting & Decorating
  • Plumbing
  • Radio Production
  • Sports Studies
  • Textile
  • Wing Working – Cleaning etc

Qualifications and training include;

  • Diploma's Level 1-2,
  • City and Guilds Level 1,
  • GCSEs,
  • OCR Certificates,
  • BCS Level 1 and 2,
  • OCN Level Entry - 2,
  • NOCN Certificates and Diplomas 1-3
  • NVQs 1-3.
  • CSCS Operators card
  • Fork Lift License


Learning aims recorded for Skills Funding Agency OLASS
Adult Literacy
Adult Numeracy
Art and Design
Basic Literacy Course, Level 2
Basic Numeracy Course, Level 2
Certificate for IT Users (ECDL Part 1)
Forklift Truck Training
Functional Skills English (QCF)
Functional Skills Mathematics (QCF)
Health and Safety in the Workplace
Key Skills in Application of Number - level 1
Key Skills in Application of Number - level 2
Key Skills in Communication - level 1
Learning Support
National Introduction to Self Employment
National Skills for Self Employment
National Success in Self Employment
Non-externally certificated - Entry Level, Preparation for Life and Work (SSA 14), PW A
NQF - Level 1, Arts, Media and Publishing (SSA 9), PW C
NQF - Level 1, Business, Administration and Law (SSA 15), PW A
NQF - Level 1, Health, Public Services and Care (SSA 1), PW B
NQF - Level 1, Information and Communication Technology (SSA 6), PW A
NQF - Level 1, Preparation for Life and Work (SSA 14), PW A
NQF - Level 2, Arts, Media and Publishing (SSA 9), PW C
NQF - Level 2, Information and Communication Technology (SSA 6), PW B
NQF - Level 2, Preparation for Life and Work (SSA 14), PW A
NQF - Level 2, Retail and Commercial Enterprise (SSA 7), PW A
NQF - Level 2, Retail and Commercial Enterprise (SSA 7), PW C
NQF - Level 3, Arts, Media and Publishing (SSA 9), PW C
NVQ Diploma in Barbering (QCF)
NVQ in Performing Manufacturing Operations
Practical skills/crafts, Preparation for Life and Work (SSA 14)
Principles of Manual Handling
QCF provision - Entry Level, Arts, Media and Publishing (SSA 9), PW B
QCF provision - Entry Level, Health, Public Services and Care (SSA 1), PW B
QCF provision - Entry Level, Preparation for Life and Work (SSA 14), PW A
QCF provision - Level 1, Arts, Media and Publishing (SSA 9), PW B
QCF provision - Level 1, Health, Public Services and Care (SSA 1), PW A
QCF provision - Level 1, Preparation for Life and Work (SSA 14), PW A
QCF provision - Level 2, Arts, Media and Publishing (SSA 9), PW B
QCF provision - Level 2, Arts, Media and Publishing (SSA 9), PW C
QCF provision - Level 2, Preparation for Life and Work (SSA 14), PW A

Unitisation (approved external qualification) Entry Level, Preparation for Life and Work (SSA 14) - ESOL


Current Wages

Employed: From 70p - £2 per session
Education: £0.90 /£1.20 / £1.45 per session (IEP based)
Retired: £5 per week
Long term sick: £5 per week

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  • ETS
  • SDP (Short Duration Programme)

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Birmingham has an active Resettlement Unit which concentrates on housing, benefits and employment issues, using extensive links with the outside community. The Resettlement and Information, Advice & Guidance Teams deliver a Basic Employability Course which provides support and guidance to secure employment and training on release. The Resettlement Team are also supported by staff from Job Centre Plus and Citizens Advice Bureau.


Family Days Available


Guardian Has To Stay


Own Children




Age Limits

Up to 18

No of Visitors Permitted

No limit

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Ministry of Justice Performance Rating for this prison: 2
This is on a scale from 1 (serious concerns) to 4 (Exceptional) and is worked out by the Ministry of Justice taking into account 34 criteria such as overcrowding, purposeful activities etc. A score of 3 is considered a good performance. Published quarterly.

Average weekly hours of Purposeful Activity: 19.5 (2010)
This figure is supplied by each prison to the Prison Service. Actual hours are usually dependent on activities etc. and should be taken as the maximum time either in workshops or education over a whole week.

Both of these figures are published retrospectively by the MoJ and HMPS and may have changed since the figures were published but they give a simple comparison between prisons.


Annual Budget: £28,000,000 (2011-12)*
Approx cost per prisoner place (2010): £31,789

*The annual budget allocated to the governor covers all major costs of running the prison but excludes most costs related to education and healthcare.

Parliamentary Information
CONSTITUENCY: Birmingham Ladywood
MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT: Shabana Mahmood (Labour)

Prisoners may write to either their ‘Home MP’ or the MP in whose constituency their current prison lies.
The address to write to is:
House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA


Local Authority
Birmingham City Council
Council House, Victoria Square, Birmingham B1 1BB
Tel: 0121 303 1111
Click Here for link

You can contact the local authority on matters such as libraries, environmental health, trading standards, food hygiene, social services, education and electoral registration.

Trading Standards
The nearest Trading Standards department is at:
Birmingham City Council, Trading Standards Department, Ladbrooke House, Bordesley Street, Digbeth, Birmingham, West Midlands B5 5BL
Tel: 0121 3036031
Click Here for link

Trading Standards can help with problems with purchases such as weights and measures, ‘best by’ dates, pricing & faulty goods.


Most prisons now have PIN phones. Your relative or friend usually needs to apply to have your name and number on his/her telephone account. You will usually receive a call from the prison to check who you are and to ensure you are happy for them to call you. Prisoners cannot receive telephone calls.

There is no restriction on who prisoners can call except in the case of calls to journalists intended to be broadcast. In some cases child protection measures may mean extra checks on who they call.

Prisoners can normally make calls only during ‘association’ periods. Some prisons limit the length of time a call can last to avoid queues and people being disappointed. Prisoners’ telephone calls are very expensive; calls to landlines now cost 10p per minute and 37.5 p to mobiles (compared to 2p in a public phone box). In most prisons the phone calls can be listened to and/or recorded.

In general prisoners phone calls follow the same rules as for letters in as far as who can be contacted and what can be said. If the rules are broken the prison may terminate the call.

If a prisoner is newly convicted or transferred they should be offered an immediate ‘Reception’ phone call to tell you where they are. It may take a few days for numbers to be transferred or added.

When you write to a prisoner you must include your full name and address. In most prisons the letters are searched and can be read before being given to the prisoner.

You can write about anything but letters must not be obscene, name ‘victims’, or be a threat to discipline or security. Do not enclose any items with letters. Make sure you put sufficient postage to cover the costs (anything bigger than A5 counts as ‘large’). Prisoners can normally receive a ‘reasonable’ number of letters per week.

If you send greetings cards these should be of reasonable size and not padded or pouched. Do not send musical cards. If you are sending more than one card put them all inside one outer envelope, this saves postage. Remember to include your full details (you could put your details on a ‘Post-It’ note stuck to the card or include a letter which has your details).

Always put the prisoner’s full name and prison number. If the person has been moved their mail will be forwarded.

On conviction or transfer a prisoner should be given a ‘Reception’ letter to write to tell you where they are.
Prisoners are given a free letter each week to post out, they can send more, but at their own expense. Some prisons allow you to send in stamps.

You can send stamped address envelopes (address to yourself), for the prisoner to reply, to any prisoner in any prison.

Prisoners are not allowed to send you letters or information to be posted on social networking internet sites.

Remember all letters are opened and checked and may be read.

Full information about prisoners correspondence can be found in Prison Service Instruction 20011-006

You can usually send in photographs but in some prisons these must not include any image of the prisoner. Child protection measures may mean that some prisoners may not receive pictures of children, unless they are their own and were not ‘victims’. If you send pictures of children include an explanatory note identifying who the children are and their relationship to the prisoner.

It is not a good idea to send cash, this can get ‘lost’ in the prison. Prisons prefer postal orders, but you could send a cheque:

  • Postal Orders; Make these payable to the prisoner's full name and number: Write your own name and address on the reverse.
  • Cheques: Make these payable to 'G4S' and write the prisoner's full name and number on the reverse, plus your name and address.

Any money sent which is deemed to be ‘anonymous’ can be stopped.
Money you send is paid into the prisoner’s ‘Private Cash’ account and they get access to a certain amount (depending upon IEP) each week [currently £15.50 for Standard prisoners]. Include your full detail in an accompanying letter or note.

For full information about visits please refer to our ‘Visit Info’ section for this prison. Visits are very important to prisoners. At most prisons you may not give any item to the prisoner. Any items you wish to give them must usually be posted to the prison, and often after the prisoner has placed an ‘application’ for authorisation to have it sent in. The items which can be posted in are very limited. Check with the prisoner first and wait until they confirm that you can post it.

If there is a serious emergency - close family serious illness, death, or other reason you need to inform the prisoner immediately, you should telephone the main prison number and explain the problem to the operator who will transfer you to the appropriate person. If you are unhappy about their response redial and ask to speak to the Chaplaincy. Prison staff will not pass on general messages but only critical and very urgent messages. You should provide full details of the prisoner including their number.

Support and Advice
There are many very good charities and agencies who offer support and advice to people with family or friends in prison. We have a special section ‘Help/Support’ which has details and contact information for many of these. Do not hesitate or feel shy about calling any of these; they are there to offer support and advice.

This service operates at this prison. Email a Prisoner enables you to send messages to prisoners, in the UK and Irish prisons that operate the service, from any computer, without any of the hassles of writing and posting a letter, and it costs less than a second class stamp!

Your message is delivered to the prison within seconds so that it can be delivered to the prisoner by the prison staff in the next delivery.

It is free to sign up to Email a Prisoner and only takes a few seconds - all you need is an email address (EMaP can help you if you don't have an email address).

Once a member you will be able to send a message to any prisoner in the UK or Ireland, provided you know their prisoner number, from just 25 pence per message.

Click Here for link to Email a Prisoner website


Prison Video Link (PVL)
All prisons with video link facilities have at least one courtroom and two briefing rooms where the defendant can hold a conference with their solicitor before and, if required, after their court hearing.

If court hearings are not taking place it may be possible for solicitors, barristers and Probation Officers to hold interviews with a prisoner via video link to save having to visit the prison.

The facility is also available to assist the Parole Board in dealing with oral hearings.

It should be noted however that court hearings must take priority. At other times, operational reasons may mean bookings are refused or cancelled at short notice.

To book the Video Link facility telephone: 0121 345 2500 ext 2464



Monitoring and Inspection
Prisons Inspectorate
Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP) regularly inspects prisons and produces a report of their inspection with recommendations for improvements.
Click Here  to download a guide to inspections
Click Here  to visit our Library Section where you can download the latest inspection reports for all prisons
Independent Monitoring Board
Each prison has an Independent Monitoring Board made up of local people who visit the prison regularly to check on the treatment of prisoners. They produce an Annual Report.
Click Here  to visit our Library Section where you can download current and earlier IMB annual reports
Click Here  to download the IMB’s information leaflet; explaining who they are and what they do.
OFSTED, who check on teaching standards in schools also visit prisons and publish a report of their findings.
Click Here  to visit our Library Section where you can download OFSTED reports for all prisons
Monitoring & Inspection
Our on-line Library has a special section containing information, reports and publications about the monitoring of prisons and related services.
Click Here  to visit the ‘Monitoring and Inspection’ section of our on-line Library



Information in this section has been kindly provided by the individual prison and the Ministry of Justice. This is supplemented with information from various government websites, Inspectorates and IMB reports and specialist departments within the Prison Service, government, and regional assemblies/parliaments.
Some of the data is published retrospectively: IMBs/Visiting Committees publish their reports up to 6 months after the end of the reporting period and at different times throughout the year, HMCIP publish their reports up to 6 months after the inspection. Population and performance figures are the latest published but can be considerably out of date.
Please Note: Information is constantly changing: The information on our website is regularly checked but if you have additional information, or if you believe that any of our information is incorrect or any links appear to fail please click on ‘Contact’, below.
Before acting upon any information you are advised to contact the prison directly to ensure there have been no recent changes.
Last Update: December 2014

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December 2014 Headlines
> Treat Prisoners as Human Beings, Not Criminals
> What are prisons for
> A search for any trace of the governmentís Rehabilitation Revolution
> Tell us why you did it?... You must be joking I didnít do it
> Care Act - what does it mean for prisoners
> Doctor Frankenstein and his monster
> Human Rights: truth and lies
> Scapegoating the undeserving poor
> Interview
> The first Miscarriage of Justice
> Month by Month - December 2014
> The 2014 Longford Trust Awards
> Is it all in the mind
> Time
> Learning in prison
> Take your first Steps to Success in 2015
> Spotlight Police and Crime Commissioners
> From over the wall
> Over-tariff IPPs: an appeal for your stories
> Paperwork is the key
> Adjudication - donít let those days count against you
> Insider Dealing
> Christmas Stories
> Christmas Messages
> Christmas Messages

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