OBITUARY : David Ramsbotham, Baron Ramsbotham (1934-2022)
David Ramsbotham was born on 6 November 1934, the son of John Ramsbotham who later went on to become the Bishop of Wakefield. He served in the army between 1953 and 1993, later serving as the Adjutant-General to the Forces between 1990 and 1993. He was appointed as Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prisons in 1995, serving in that role until 2001. The Guardian newspaper noted in 2001 that he had clashed numerous times with the Home Office:
“Ramsbotham’s direct, military approach ruffled the mandarins. They confined him to talking to junior ministers, which, in the case of the then prisons minister Paul Boateng, could be regarded as a different form of penal servitude.”
In 2005, Ramsbotham was elevated to the House of Lords as Baron Ramsbotham of Kensington and he sat as a crossbencher. He continued an involvement with the Prison Reform Trust who issued a tribute to him saying:
“He was literally and metaphorically a towering figure in our world — instantly recognisable for his bearing and the meticulous care with which he framed his devastating critique of all that needed changing in our prison system.”
Ramsbotham died following a fall on 13 December 2022, at the age of 88.
Prisongate: The Shocking State of Britain’s Prisons and the Need for Visionary Change (Amazon Link) by David Ramsbotham and published in 2003.