The Archbishop of Canterbury met inmates and staff during a tour of two prisons in Worcestershire.
Dr Rowan Williams provided an "inspiring" vision of justice
The visits to Brockhill and Hewell Grange prisons followed a speech by Dr Rowan Williams at Worcester cathedral on justice and order in society.
In his speech he called for a debate about the conditions endured by inmates inside custodial institutions.
The Bishop of Worcester, the Right Reverend Peter Selby, said the archbishop's speech was inspiring.
It was the first visit by the Archbishop to the Worcester diocese since his appointment.
Bishop Selby, who is also the bishop to prisons, said: "The vision we were given should inspire us to put more resources into ways of dealing with crime.
"That are constructive for society as a whole, that meet the deep needs of victims and redirect the energies of those who have committed crime."