Lay Observers are independent, unpaid volunteers and work an average of 2-3 days per month. Their role is to monitor the welfare of prisoners in the care and custody of the escort contractors.

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About us

Lay Observers are appointed by the Secretary of State under the Criminal Justice Act 1991 (CJA1991), to check on the welfare of prisoners while they are in the care and custody of the Escort contractors. The escort of prisoners from prisons and police stations to courts in England and Wales is contracted out to the private sector and is managed by the Ministry of Justice.

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Latest news

  • Chair of PECS Lay Observers publishes latest Annual Report

    Repeated communication failures and inconsistent medical support are causing risks to the health of detainees in court custody and their ability to communicate their defence adequately says Tony FitzSimons Chair of the Prisoner Escort and Custody Services Lay Observers in his annual report to the Secretary of State for Justice. In the report he urges … Read more >

  • Are you interested in joining the Lay Observers and live in the North East?

    The Lay Observers will shortly be looking for new Lay Observers who live in the North East area. Further details will appear on this website when the campaign commences, but if you live in the North East and would like to be informed when the application form is put onto this website, please email: LayObservers@justice.gsi.gov.uk … Read more >

  • Our website

    Welcome to the Lay Observers website. We hope you find the information here both helpful and informative. We also hope this site will encourage you to find out more about the organisation & consider becoming a new member, to undertake this interesting, challenging and important work.

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