Nick Hardwick, the chief inspector of prisons [Image: Graeme Robertson for the Guardian].


The legacy of ‘Failing’ Grayling strikes again – not only did his Legal Aid cuts spark no less than 99 court challenges, forcing his replacement Michael Gove to cancel the policy, but he tried to coerce the chief inspector of prisons into lying about the harm his policies caused.

Lack of staff, overcrowding and other concerns would have been swept under the carpet if chief inspector of prisons Nick Hardwick had not refused to accept the Tory’s lies.

It is a further sign of unstatesmanlike behaviour from a Conservative in the week that Jeremy Hunt and Anna Soubry were exposed for failings of their own.

The outgoing chief inspector of prisons has accused the former justice secretary Chris Grayling of attempting to remove criticisms of government policies from an independent report before its publication.

Nick Hardwick said that Grayling did not want him to publish documents suggesting changes introduced by his department had contributed to poor outcomes in prisons.

The claims are the strongest yet that Grayling attempted to interfere with the independence of the prison inspectorate, which has often been highly critical of conditions inside Britain’s prisons. Grayling was the secretary of state for justice for three years until the 2015 general election.

In an interview with the Guardian, Hardwick said: “He [Grayling] was telling me the points he hoped I would make that were positive, and I didn’t think it was his place to say that.”

“His general concern was that I had said the lack of staff, overcrowding and some of the policy changes that he had introduced had contributed to poor outcomes in prisons. I was very clear about that, and he disagreed very strongly with that conclusion.”

Source: Chris Grayling tried to interfere with prison report, says chief inspector | Society | The Guardian

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