Are you OK with cookies?

We use small files called ‘cookies’ on Some are essential to make the site work, some help us to understand how we can improve your experience, and some are set by third parties. You can choose to turn off the non-essential cookies. Which cookies are you happy for us to use?

Skip to content

Investigating deaths

The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (PPO) investigates the deaths of:

  • prisoners in England and Wales
  • recently released prisoners that occur within 14 days of release from prison (except homicide)
  • young people in young offender institutions, secure training centres and secure children’s homes
  • residents of approved premises in England and Wales
  • individuals detained under immigration powers in immigration removal centres, pre-departure accommodation and short-term holding facilities in the UK, or under escort internationally
  • individuals in the custody of HMPPS Prisoner Escort and Custody Services (PECS) on transfer to court, at court and on transfer to prison

We also investigate neonatal deaths and stillbirths that occur in prison or during prison transfer.

We’re independent and our investigations help to highlight where lessons can be learned.

Find out more about the PPO

The reason we investigate a death is to: 

  • understand what happened leading up to the death
  • identify any learning for the organisations involved

We’ll write a report when we have finished our investigation and if appropriate, we’ll make recommendations for improvement.             

How we investigate deaths

Find out more about how we investigate deaths and what happens during and after an investigation.

Close-up of a hand holding another hand in a supportive way

Help for bereaved families

Find out how our family liaison officer works closely with bereaved families to keep them informed throughout our investigation.