A Matter of Conviction: A Blueprint for Community-Based Prisons - RSA

A Matter of Conviction: a blueprint for community-based prisons


  • Community and place-based action
  • Public services

'A matter of conviction' sets out a new way of running the prison and probation system in England and Wales to promote rehabilitation and protect the public.

The report is the culmination of the year-long Future Prison project by the RSA and Transition Spaces into how 21st century prisons could better support rehabilitation. It is the first comprehensive inquiry into the whole prison system, involving everyone from serving and former prisoners to specialists in education, employment and health, as well as those with senior prison experience. 

The report calls for the government’s forthcoming white paper to prioritise a 2017-20 National Rehabilitation Strategy that includes a new legal rehabilitation duty on prison; urgent investment in staffing numbers and skills, and devolution of powers to community-based prisons.

The report concludes that - 

  • The potential impact that prisons could have on reducing reoffending and community safety has been undermined by a lack of consistent political leadership and clear purpose.
  • This has led to reactive policy, episodic change, and an over-centralised system which has disempowered the workforce and undermined public confidence.
  • The government’s commitment to prison reform is welcome and must be underpinned by a long-term vision of reform capable of securing cross-party consensus and mobilising public support. 

Read the report summary10 key recommentations from the report (on Medium)

Download the report - A Matter of Conviction (PDF, 5MB)

Read the blog - Rehabilitation is key to reducing risk in the prison system


The programme’s Advisory Group was chaired by former prison governor John Podmore. Other members include:

Dame Sally Coates (Director of Academies South at United Learning), Brodie Clark (Former governor and Director of Prison Security), Michael Corrigan (Chief Executive, Prosper 4 Group), Lady Edwina Grosvenor (Prison reformer and philanthropist), Nick Hardwick (Professor of Criminal Justice at Royal Holloway University Chair of the Parole Board, and former Chief Inspector of Prisons), Hugh Lenon (Chairman, Phoenix Equity Partners), Tony Margetts (Substance Misuse Manager, East Riding of Yorkshire Council), Anthony Painter (Director of the RSA Action and Research Centre), John Podmore ((Chair), former prison Governor), Matthias Stausberg (Group Advocacy Director, Virgin), James Timpson (Chief Executive, Timpson), Paul Tye (Former service user manager, CRI).


Picture of Jack Robson
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