Appointment of HM Chief Inspector of Prisons - Justice Committee Contents


The inspection of conditions and treatment of those in custody is a function stretching back to at least 1815. The post of HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, an independent statutory role, was created in 1982. We pay tribute to the work of the most recent incumbent, Dame Anne Owers DBE, who is stepping down at the end of her second period of office with unanimous acclaim for her contributions to the effectiveness of the prison service and the humane treatment of those in its care.

The preferred candidate for the post, put forward by the Justice Secretary, is Mr Nicholas Hardwick, founding Chairman of the Independent Police Complaints Authority.

We fully endorse Mr Hardwick's suitability for this appointment. We also endorse his preliminary view of the character and challenges of the role and that of the inspectorate overall. We welcome his demonstrable grasp of: the need for independence; the importance of a broad intelligence base to determine priorities; and the need for a watchful eye on the effects of the Government's policies on the reform, rehabilitation and resettlement of prisoners.

We look forward to a continuing dialogue with Mr Hardwick on progress in the Inspectorate's monitoring, assessment and promotion of best practice throughout the prison service. We wish Mr Hardwick success in this role.

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Prepared 18 March 2010