Criticism of several Prison and Probation Service sites for giving prisoners’ mail and documents to the wrong person

A common complaint the Parliamentary Ombudsman now receives is of prisoners’ mail and documents containing confidential or otherwise sensitive information being given to the wrong person. This decision comprises eight such complaints, seven of which result in criticism.  Some of the cases concerned information of an extremely sensitive nature, such as protected personal information.  The Parliamentary Ombudsman takes the incidents very seriously.

The Parliamentary Ombudsman concludes that inadequate handling of prisoners’ mail and documents is a widespread and recurrent problem within the Prison and Probation Service. In her view, this is very worrying, as these shortcomings can have serious consequences for prisoners and their families. Through this decision, the Parliamentary Ombudsman wants to draw the Prison and Probation Service’s attention to the scale of the problem and calls on the authority to take immediate action to remedy the matter.

Date of decision: 2024-04-18