Have you gone through the full internal prison complaints process? Not happy with the response? You can complain to the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (PPO).

This article previously featured in Inside Time’s December newspaper: https://insidetime.org/prisons-and-probation-ombudsman-2/


If you have a complaint, you must first contact your prison. You will need to:

  1. Submit a COMP1 form for each complaint issue.
  2. Appeal the prison’s response within 7 days from the date of their reply if you are dissatisfied with the response, using the COMP 1A form.

If your complaint is about a sensitive matter such as staff behaviour, you can submit a Confidential access form (COMP 2), which, unlike the COMP1 and 1A, you don’t need to appeal before you can write to the PPO.

If you remain dissatisfied after both stages, you can then contact the PPO. You will need to submit:

  1. A copy of your COMP1, 1A or Confidential access form.
  2. A copy of the prison’s response to both your COMP1 and 1A, or Confidential access form.
  3. A covering letter, clearly but briefly explaining why you are unhappy with the prison’s response.

We can’t return original documents to you, so please only send us copies. You can ask a member of staff to photocopy your paperwork for you, free of charge.

We accept around 2,000 complaints a year for investigation on issues including missing or damaged property, categorisation and progression or staff behaviour. If we uphold your complaint, we can make recommendations to help you – like ensuring you receive compensation for your property, or a letter of apology if the prison has got something wrong. And we can make recommendations to change policy or practice to make sure the same thing doesn’t happen to anyone else in prison.

Remember, the PPO doesn’t investigate healthcare matters, issues related to sentencing, or decisions made by Ministers, Police, the CPS or the Parole Board. You must write to the PPO within three months of the date of the prison’s final reply. Write to us at the address below and we will do all we can to help:

Prisons and Probation Ombudsman

Third Floor

10 South Colonnade