Lord Ramsbotham was commissioned into the Rifle Brigade, later the Royal Green Jackets and now The Rifles, in 1957, on coming down from Cambridge where he read history. He retired from the Army in the rank of General in 1993, having served in Germany, Kenya, Hong Kong, Borneo, Gibraltar and Northern Ireland as well as England. Between then and December 2001, when he was appointed Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons for England and Wales, he was Director International Affairs in Defence Systems Ltd, a private security company concentrating on post conflict reconstruction, including demining, and also chaired the Hillingdon NHS Hospital Trust. Between 1995 and when he retired in July 2001, he visited and/or inspected every prison in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and also some in Scotland, Germany, Australia, the USA, Canada and the Caribbean. In May 2005 he was appointed a crossbench member of the House of Lords, where he majors on penal reform. In 2003 he published 'Prisongate - the shocking state of Britain's prisons and the need for visionary reform. He became a Trustee of IFBB in 2001.