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Prison and youth custody complaints

Making a complaint

Independent Prisoner Complaint Investigations (IPCI) is the part of the PPO that investigates complaints made by people detained in prison, young offender institutions (YOIs) and secure training centres.

Like the rest of the PPO, we are completely independent from the prison, HM Prison and Probation Service and the Youth Custody Service. Read more about IPCI

If someone complains to us, it won’t be used against them and they will not get into trouble.

Before making a complaint

We can only accept complaints from the person directly affected by the complaint. You can help someone complain if they’re unable to (such as difficulties in reading or writing).

We can only investigate a complaint if:

  • the person complaining is currently in prison or youth custody, or recently have been
  • they’ve gone through the full complaints process in their prison first and are unhappy with the outcome
  • it’s been less than 3 months since the prison gave their final response to an original complaint

Find out more about the types of complaints we investigate.

Sending a complaint

People detained in prisons, YOIs and secure training centres can get an IPCI form from their establishment.

If you’re helping someone complain and they are unable to find an IPCI form, you can advise them to contact the prison’s business hub or the IMB. You could also download an IPCI form (PDF, 163.8 KB) and send it to them.

The IPCI form should be completed telling us why they are unhappy with the prison’s response and send it along with copies of any complaint forms (COMP1 and COMP1A) and responses to:

Independent Prisoner Complaint Investigations (IPCI)
Third Floor,
10 South Colonnade,
E14 4PU

It’s free to send a letter to IPCI. Postage will be paid by the prison.

Original documents shouldn’t be sent as we can’t return them.

Letters to us will not be read by the prison as they are covered by confidential access arrangements.

More information

Read our complaints guide for more information on making a complaint and what happens after a complaint has been sent to us. You can also download the information card and leaflet below.

IPCI leaflet for prisons
(PDF, 113 KB)