Lord Ramsbotham is a retired British Army officer, who later served as Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons. He was awarded a life peerage in 2005, and now sits on the cross benches of the House of Lords.
Lord Ramsbotham is Chairman of the Koestler Awards scheme, and Vice-Chair of both the All Party Penal Affairs Group and the All Party Parliamentary Group for Learning & Skills in the Criminal Justice System. He is President of UNLOCK, The National Association of Ex-Offenders and an Ambassador for the charity, the Prison Advice and Care Trust (pact). He is a trustee and vice-Chairman of the Institute for Food, Brain and Behaviour. He was elected an honorary Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge in 2001, and serves on the advisory board of the International Centre for Prison Studies at King's College London. He is also a Patron of Prisoners Education Trust, a charity that supports serving prisoners through a range of academic, creative and vocational distance learning courses whilst inside and a Patron of the African Prisons Project, an international non-governmental organization with a mission to bring dignity and hope to men women and children in African prisons through health, education, justice and reintegration.
General Lord Ramsbotham served in the British Regular Army from 1957 to 1993 in Germany, Kenya, Hong Kong, Borneo, Northern Ireland, and Gibraltar. He was Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prisons from 1995 to 2001. During this time he inspected every prison in England, Wales and Northern Ireland as well as prisons in many other countries including the United States. Appointed a member of the House of Lords in 2005, he specializes in penal reform. In 2003 he published Prisongate: The Shocking State of Britain’s Prisons and the Need for Visionary Change, which sets out his ideas for reform of the prison system.
Lord Ramsbotham has written extensively on matters relating to prisons and the military, in particular his 2003 book Prisongate: The Shocking State of Britain's Prisons and the Need for Visionary Change sets out his vision for reform of the prison system.